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A CurtainUp Review
US Drag

By Jenny Sandman

I want to do nothing and have people know who I am! And get money! .—Allison
US Drag
Tanya Fischer and Lisa Joyce in U.S. DRAG
(Photo: Richard Termine)
The title US Drag comes from a quote by William Burroughs and actually contains no drag whatsoever. It is an entertaining treatise on the lure of fame and money.

Allison (Tanya Fischer) and Angela (Lisa Joyce) are two extremely intelligent liberal arts graduates who refuse to settle for working for minimum wage. They think that they deserve better than toiling in the basement of Conde Nast, and so, instead they drift, making their living by scamming drinks and "cab fare" from men in bars. They keep their rent cheap by living with Ned (Matthew Stadelmann), a rich and tightly-wound Wall Streeter who lets them live with him so long as they bring home hot girls for him to meet.

Angela and Allison are always on the lookout for a quick and easy way to make money, so when James (James Martinez) alerts them to the $100,000 reward for the latest Manhattan serial criminal, Ed, they jump on the chance. But things are never so easy as they seem. Angela can't shake the depressive and ego-maniacal writer Christopher (Logan Marshall-Green) and the crazy bleeding-heart Evan (Lucas Papaelias) who runs an Ed awareness group. Allison, who wants desperately to be rich and famous, and doesn't care how she gets there and while Angela wants those things too, she wants to use her brain to get them. As they bumble through life with their new friends, including Ed victim Mary (Audrey Lynn Weston), they have every opportunity to learn that life is more than the pursuit of fame and fortune. The men in their lives are all equally blinded by their goals, though their goals are very different. But when Angela is attacked by Ed, the girls are able to turn it to their advantage using their unique blend of perseverance and charisma. The unlikable writer Christopher gets his come-uppance too, in a surprise twist ending.

The fun and sassy show's strength lies in its characters. The story is lighthearted but never shallow, and manages to incorporate several dark themes without being overly cynical. Tanya Fischer as Allison is hysterical, frantically driven by her need to be loved and known by everyone. Lisa Joyce (best known for her role in Adam Rapp's Red Light Winter) as Angela is her sarcastic alter ego.

The production as a whole is hip without being a paean to cool. Sandra Goldmark's set is simple and versatile and Emily Rebholz's costumes perfectly define the characters.

I thought this was a great play, with a fantastic script, director, and cast. The audience was very mixed, both young and old. Everyone all had a great time. It's a shame that this play, which speaks on many different levels, is around for just a short run.

US Drag
Written by Gina Gionfriddo
Directed by Trip Cullman
With Tanya Fischer, Rebecca Henderson, Lisa Joyce, Logan Marshall-Green, James Martinez, Lucas Papaelias, Matthew Stadelmann and Audrey Lynn Weston
Scenic Design: Sandra Goldmark
Lighting Design: Nicole Pearce
Costume Design: Emily Rebholz
Sound Design: Bart Fasbender
Running Time: Eighty minutes, with no intermission
The Beckett at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street; 212-279-4200
From 2/23/08; opening 3/01/08; closing 3/16/08.
Tuesday to Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 3 pm and 7 pm
Reviewed by Jenny Sandman based on February 28th performance

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