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Billy Masters
by Billy Masters
2016-12-07

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"Andy and I were first set up on a blind date, which never happened 'cause we had a phone call and after two minutes I said, 'I'm not dating this guy.' He broke my cardinal rule, which is he mentioned my mom within the first four sentences of meeting me. If somebody does that, it's a deal-breaker. And we're never going on a date."—Anderson Cooper talks about his aborted romantic relationship with Andy Cohen. Imagine how shocked Coop would have been if Cohen showed up for their date in a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans ... or with a pet swan!

I spent most of last week in New York City. Because I know many of you travel during the holidays, I'll tell you which shows to see, and which ones to skip. At the top of the list of anyone reading this column is the revival of Falsettos. It is the best production and cast of this show you'll ever see, although what was once edgy and groundbreaking is somewhat dated today. Rather than play it as a period piece, the show is time-ambiguous, which works if you don't think about it too much.

Along with the illness that is never named, the pitfalls of coming out, relationships and parenting are still salient. Holding it all together is a masterful performance by Christian Borle—whose deflated arms prove that nothing lasts forever. As Marvin, he is never less than captivating vocally and dramatically. Stephanie J. Block plays the role of his ex-wife with enormous color and nuances. This made her "I'm Breaking Down" less schticky and more devastating. I was less enthralled by Andrew Rannells, who plays Borle's lover. I'm surely in the minority of people who felt that his very specific talents were not a natural fit here. Throughout the show, I kept thinking how wonderful he must have been in Hedwig!

There's no doubt that the hit of this Broadway season will be Dear Evan Hansen, a new musical about teen angst, suicide, social media and coming of age. The show created quite a buzz last season off-Broadway, and that built-in audience has led to a frenzy reminiscent of the lead-up to Hamilton. The preview performance I attended was like a rock show, with palpable electricity in the audience from the moment the curtain rose. The show speaks to anyone who has felt like an outsider. Major kudos to Ben Platt ( from Pitch Perfect ), who is a shoo-in Tony winner. Truth be told, there's nary a misstep in the entire production.

In the annals of theater, The Front Page is legendary. The caliber of the cast in the current revival is a luxury rarely accorded to a Broadway show; perhaps the strictly limited run helped lock in the best people. Once you get past the dense first act, hold onto your seat, because the show flies. John Slattery ( with curious hair ) may lead the show, but it's Nathan Lane who galvanizes it with a frenetic presence that just sucks you into its wake. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the transcendent Holland Taylor, who gives everyone a run for their money, and Robert Morse, who all but steals the show with two tiny scenes. It's a must-see.

The 39-year-old heir to the Fiat empire, Lapo Elkann, was just arrested for faking his own kidnapping. And he was arrested along with a transgender hooker ... eh, escort! Lapo flew into NYC on Thanksgiving and called several female escorts. One of them directed Lapo to a person who has been identified as a 29-year-old transgender hooker named Curtis McKinstry. The two were holed up in what has been referred to as a housing project and embarked on what The Daily Beast called a "two-day booze and blow bender."

When his cash ran out, he told relatives that a woman had kidnapped him and demanded a $10,000 ransom or he would be "hurt." $10K? For the Fiat heir? With apologies to Bette Midler, was he kidnapped by K-Mart? Elkann didn't count on a couple of things: 1 ) His family would report the kidnapping to the NYPD and b ) they knew he called from his own cell phone! How do you say schmuck in Italian? The cops set up a plan to pay the ransom, and then arrested Lapo and his lap dog when they showed up to collect the dough. At first, Elkann tried to pin the blame on the hooker, who until that point had stayed quiet. Well, don't diss a transgender hooker—s/he'll cut a bitch! The escort turned the tables, and the cops let that person go. Elkann was charged with making a false police report, but apparently that doesn't warrant bail. He was released and is due in court in January.

For the first of this week's Billy's Holiday Gift Giving Suggestions, let me urge you all to do your shopping at Target. The retailer is facing a massive boycott from the American Family Association and couldn't care less. The group has collected 1.2 million signatures on their petition promising to boycott Target because of the company's support of LGBT rights. The group is upset that Target has gone against North Carolina's HB2 law and allowed people to use whatever bathroom they want to. CEO Brian Cornell said, "We've had a long history of embracing diversity and inclusion. ... What's been lost in this story is the fact that the vast majority of our stores—actually over 1,400 of our stores—already have a family restroom. And we're committed over the next few months to make sure every one of our stores has that option, because we want our guests to be welcomed in our stores." Bravo, Brian.

And now, let's meld shopping, holidays, theater and activism together. Every year, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS releases a Broadway Legends ornament. This year, it is Patti LuPone. La LuPone is featured in her Evita regalia with her arms borne aloft. How could you not want to see Patti hanging from a tree? I mean that in the figurative, non-hooded way! It costs $70—and it's tax-deductible. Order one now at BroadwayCares.org .

In a final gift, I'm sure you saw the mega-hot Flaunt photo session of singer Shawn Mendes and wondered if the rumored nude pics exist. Both Shawn and I are "excited" to show them to you on BillyMasters.com .

When we're flaunting photos of fluffed fellas, it's time to end yet another column. Yes, this was a theatre-heavy column. You can get more variety at BillyMasters.com, the site that celebrates diversity ... one dick at a time ( OK, sometimes two at a time ). If you have a question for me, send it along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before the heir to the Fiat fortune brings a date to a Target restroom! Until next time, remember: One man's filth is another man's bible.


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