Love! Valour! Compassion!
Starring Jason Alexander, John Glover, Stephen Spinella, Justin Kirk, Randy Becker, Stephen Bogardus, John Benjamin Hickey
Director Joe Mantello
Opens May 16
Casting the film version of his 1995 Broadway hit about AIDS, gay relationships, and forgiveness, playwright Terrence McNally wisely tried to keep his acclaimed stage cast intact, but when The Birdcage star Nathan Lane bowed out of the project, the actor wound up in the doghouse with the author. While McNally seethed (he and Lane have since made up), Alexander took over the thoroughly un-George-like role of Buzz — a mordantly witty, HIV-positive musical theater aficionado who camps and cries his way through three summer-holiday weekends with a group of contentious gay friends. Alexander braved the elements by showing his rear end while wearing an apron, though unlike most of his costars, he was not required to show full frontal nudity. He also walked a political tightrope. ”[Buzz] couldn’t be a generic flamboyant homosexual, with the flitty hands and the sibilant s and all that crap,” says Alexander. Not that — as George would say — there’s anything wrong with that. UPSIDE Sharp writing by McNally; and audiences at early screenings say there’s nothing at all wrong with Alexander’s performance. DOWNSIDE Is there life after Ellen?