Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The Ritz 

This farce about mobsters in a gay bathhouse proves irresistible

Wednesday, Jun 12 2002
Terrence McNally's farce about dull Mafioso types infiltrating a gay bathhouse in 1977 is the sort of trashy but hilarious mutant you'd expect from a mating of mob comedy with Feydeau's A Flea in Her Ear. Gaetano Proclo believes the Ritz is a bathhouse-for-bathing, a Roman bath, where he can hide from mobsters who want to rub him out. He wanders in with a green suitcase and a pink-boxed fruitcake, claiming to be from Cleveland, and finds himself involved with a lounge singer named Googie Gomez and a handful of gay patrons, in particular a "chubby chaser" named Claude Perkins, who likes Proclo's big belly. Good character actors in the main roles keep the show from bogging down: Randel Hart is a vivid, crusty, Brooklyn-accented front-desk man named Abe; Laura Sottile, as Googie, is a trilling, hip-cocked Latina spitfire; and Jim Hoggatt plays Claude as a fragile, nerdish Southerner, a sort of Truman Capote on helium. There is no reason for the play to go on for 2 1/2 hours, and the musical numbers are appalling enough to make Pee-wee Herman look earnest, but McNally's high camp -- when it's acted well -- is hard to resist.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Pritkin Mansion 2014
    Browse through the eclectic Pritkin mansion. Photographs by Nathaniel Y. Downes.
  • Rock Scully Tribute 2014
    Moonalice and Fall Risk perform at Slims on December 20th for the Rock Scully tribute. Photographs by Jamie Soja.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed