Info and pics for "Ain't We Got Fun"
Thanks so much to Michael McFaden for sharing with me the soundtrack, programs and video clip.
Above, rehearsal video of "I Can't Make A Man"
So far the show has had two productions. The Nashville cast (2005) also performed for the NY Fresh Fruit Festival, and went on to be nominated for seven awards, winning three. The Cleveland production got the luscious program shown below, which was designed by Jerry Wolas.
Below, the NY program
WE GOT FUN!
"Girl meets boy. Girl loses boy. Boy meets boy. Boy gets boy. Girl then meets, then gets, another boy." (Nashville Scene, July 21, 2005) AIN'T WE GOT FUN! is a valentine to a more innocent style of musical, yet it does not shy away from incorporating gay themes. The musical is structured around many obscure songs from the 20's and 30's such as "Masculine Women, Feminine Men", "He's So Unusual", and "Gay Love".
The story begins in a dance club, where a 94 year old man named Oscar is enlightening some club kids on what it was like to be gay back when he was a young man of twenty one, in the late 1920's. From there the plot shuttles back and forth between 1929 and 2002 as Oscar tells his tale.
Jumping back to the summer of 1929, we meet young Oscar, his then boyfriend, Benny, and a young vacationing dilettante named Chloe. The place is a summer resort in South Haven, Michigan. Chloe has eyes only for Oscar and is determined to be more to him than just another wealthy tourist. Meanwhile, Oscar has become dissatisfied with his uneventful life in South Haven and wants to go to Chicago. Benny, on the other hand, is content right where he is. With the help of four "A list" swells from Chicago, known as the Cocktail Crew, Oscar leaves Michigan, Benny, and Chloe for the party life.
In Chicago Oscar has become a show boy in Roscoe Ruben's Footlight Frolic. In addition, Roscoe owns a speakeasy called Amandaland, named after its drag queen star, Amanda Luze. At Amandaland we are also introduced to Meathook, the club's hulking doorman who is Amanda's brother. It is also discovered that Amanda and Roscoe are lovers.
The climax of Act One occurs when Benny and Chloe show up at Amandaland after seeing Oscar perform in the Frolic. Chloe's eyes are opened wide when Oscar flaunts his relationship with Benny in her face. Distraught, she runs off into the night, pursued by Meathook, who has become smitten with her. Benny, who has also become close to Chloe, has a few choice words (and actions) for Oscar, then heads back to Michigan, himself.
In Act Two, the party comes to a screeching halt as everyone careens into the stock market crash. Chloe and Meathook's relationship deepens. But, unexpectedly, both Roscoe and Amanda die, while Oscar and the Cocktail Crew are reduced to a life of hustling from their Lakeshore Drive penthouse. In the end, it's Chloe who convinces Oscar and Benny to give their love another chance. And Benny arrives back in Chicago just in time to rescue Oscar from a dangerous situation in a public park.
The play ends where it began, back in a dance club in the year 2002.