Starring – Jeffrey A. Johns, Adam Huss, Rena Strober, Lee Meriwether, Blake Peyrot, Christopher Atkins, Sally Struthers, Harrison White (and I LOVE ME some Harrison White), David Pevsner
Directed by Jenn Page
Remember when everybody and their gay brother were going on and on and on about Magic Mike and how you just had to see it? Or at least if you found muscular naked men attractive, you just had to see it? Well, even though I’m a lesbian, I saw Magic Mike anyway, and…well…I guess I don’t really find muscular naked men all that appealing because all I saw when I watched that Mike being all magical and stuff was that the movie wasn’t really that good, which was disappointing because I never go into a movie wanting it to be bad, I want it to be good, dammit. I even saw that damn even more awful sequel because, once again, people were just clamoring and yammering about how you just had to see it. Although, I’m not sure many people actually saw that sequel. It was even more confusing to me than the original and the original was confusing enough. Oh well, at least I tried.
Anyway, recently, I got an email requesting that I watch a movie that was also of the magical Mike variety, in a round-about-way, and I’m glad that I got this awesome email because now I finally got to see a Magic Mike that I loved! And what is even more surprising than the fact that I loved a movie that had lots and lots and lots of naked (well, almost naked) very muscular men that spend a lot of time in this movie being all naked and very muscular and magical and stuff, is that this movie is also a – GASP – musical! Oh! And My!…wait, what?
Full disclosure – I’m not much of a fan of musicals. I don’t know why, but it’s never been a film genre that I have ever gotten excited about. Not even as a kid, I’d see that a movie was a musical and my brain would give a little “ugh” inside, which doesn’t make much sense to me because I LOVED me some of The Muppet Show when I was a kid and now well into middle-age adulthood, and that Muppet Show was and is nothing but musical numbers. But I also loved me some of that Donny and Marie show and that Barbara Mandrell and The Mandrell Sisters show – all variety shows, so all lots of musical numbers – when I was a kid too, and I would gladly watch them on my YouTube today…And maybe I do, but I’m not giving away that embarrassing bit of info. People get embarrassed about admitting to watching porn, and I get embarrassed about admitting to searching on the YouTube for some watching of Donny and Marie and Mandrell sisters variety show clips, especially clips that have that lovely and zany Irlene Mandrell (yep, me and hot blondes, I got me a type there). My brain never did make sense.
But, there have been a few musicals over the years that when I actually liked them, I, in fact, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED them! Rent, Evita, Cats (which I have a special love for because my wife and I spent the first few weeks of our romance watching Cats nonstop after both of us came down with a terrible stomach flu, which doesn’t sound romantic, but actually it was, especially since we were both falling in love for the first time in our real lives, so Cats will always be my favorite musical even though I don’t like most of the songs, except when Elaine Paige sings, love me some Elaine Paige), Avenue Q, The Color Purple (the musical and the movie too, which wasn’t a musical, but still kind of was), and The Phantom of the Opera, and there might be one or two that I am forgetting, but for the most part, that is about it for me and liking musicals. So, in other words, for the most part, me and musicals just have never been fans.
And all that information is somehow relevant because when Jeffrey Johns, the star and creator and writer and producer of Waiting In The Wings The Musical, sent me an email asking me to watch his musical of a magical Mike kind of a film for MOTR, I was honest and told him that I’ve never been much of a musical fan, but that my wife is. My poor wife, who has been trying for almost 20 years now to get me to like musicals. I like me some musicals when I hear her talking about them and go with her to watch them. But the loving of musicals only comes from me loving to watch and listen to my wife loving on them. I still don’t tend to love the musicals just for myself.
So, I originally intended to have my wife watch this movie musical of the magical Mike kind with me, because I was afraid that I would be put off by the musical part of this movie, and so I wanted to see the musical bits through her. But my wife is busy having a life with her new job where she helps to cure cancer, and so I finally had to sit down and watch the movie by myself and so maybe her being busy saving lives was a good thing because now I have to say that because of Waiting In The Wings The Musical, I am now a musical fan or at least a fan of this wonderful and beautiful and funny and God I loved the songs too musical! Congratulations Jeffrey, you just did what only Andrew Lloyd Webber and a few other musical geniuses could do for me, make me actually not only like a musical, but LOVE IT! Maybe not a Tony or Oscar for you to carry around all the time, but if they made a trophy for getting Ali Naro to love a musical, then you would have one to carry around with you all the time. Well, if you wanted to, that is. That carrying around all the time of a trophy might wane on you after a while.
So what is Waiting In The Wings The Musical all about anyway? Well, Anthony (Jeffrey A. Johns) is a choir boy who likes to belt out hymns with some Broadway flare and that Broadway flare is itching to go sing on Broadway, so off Anthony goes to New York City to be a STAR! But since it is a movie, a convenient plot twist has Anthony accidentally ending up in a stripper show instead of a Broadway show. And what is amazing about this film, is no one questions short, skinny, not very muscular Anthony stripping with all of these super tall, super buff, God-like, Superman-like men. So not only do these God-like men strip in the movie, but so does Anthony, and I gotta say, I loved his stripping routines WAY more than the God-like guys routines! I want to go to that strip club and see me some Jeffrey Johns/Anthony Longwood stripping and that is saying something because I keep getting invited to strip clubs (of the female kind) and I keep saying no because I just feel kind of weird looking at naked women without getting their individual written permission first because apparently I got me some Catholic and Puritan guilt issues even though I am not and have never been either Catholic or Puritan or both. If one can be both, but since Puritans are Protestant, I don’t think you can be both at the same time, but religion never makes logical sense to me, so maybe you can? Anyway, Anthony gets tips on how to strip and maybe one of those God-like strippers who gives him stripping tips starts falling in love and in lust with some hot Anthony Longwood The Stripper and The Person. And that is all the plot that I want to give away, because I don’t want to spoil anymore of this fun and funny and wonderfully delightful movie. 🙂
And I don’t mean the guy with the large cleavage…
…I mean pecs.
I still get so confused at pecs because they kind of look like cleavage to me and Lord knows I love me some cleavage.
Maybe I was a gay man in another life, because I keep having this –
“Can pecs be attractive to a lesbian if they look like cleavage?”
– kind of a question that I’ve been debating in my brain since I was about 12 years old.
Oh well, me and my brain. Always debating.
But not about this movie and the hotness of stripper Anthony Longwood!
Both me and my brain say, to quote Siskel and Ebert, “Thumbs up!”
By the time the movie was over, all I could think was, “Holy crap! I LOVED a musical??!!!” And I also began to think about how we so desperately need more LGBT films like this that are fun and funny and delightful and non-political and non-politically correct and just a plain ole wonderfully bright movie that is about us and not about us and all at the same time. We don’t seem to make many of these kinds of films for our community, and Waiting In The Wings The Musical reminded me of that great need for fun and laughter and silliness in our movies. Being LGBT was and still is (at least for me) a massive pain in the heart most days, and so I understand the need to express that pain in our art (Lord knows I’m writing a novel about that pain right now to process this shit that never ends for me when it comes to being gay), but it is also nice to remind ourselves in our art that being LGBT can be fun and funny and delightful and happy-ending-like too. Kind of like Paul Lynde did in the 1970s and 1980s for me. He was fun like Jeffrey Johns. And to me, that is a great thing to be and the biggest compliment that I can give someone because I have missed Paul Lynde and his magical way of making me feel like it is okay to be gay since he died long ago, but now we have Jeffrey Johns here to pick up that gay-can-be-fun-too mantle for me and maybe for you too. 🙂
To purchase this wonderful film, go to their website for all the purchasing options. I’m going to purchase a copy of the DVD and CD myself, because I want to help support this amazing and wonderful film that reminded me why I love movies so much in the first place. And since my wife never got a chance to sit down with me to watch this movie, I want her to see it again and again too. And also because I want to play the CD in our car and sing along to the songs with her, one of our favorite things to do when I actually like a musical to sing along with. 🙂
A special thanks to Jeffrey who was so patient with this review, which took me forever and a day to get around to writing thanks to my life (as in my depressed and insomniac brain) constantly getting in the way of my movie watching and review writing lately. I gotta say, I am so glad that my life (as in my brain) allowed me some peace just long enough for me to watch this film. It put a smile on my face, and lately, that is a hard thing for me or anyone else to accomplish, even my wife, so thank you Jeffrey for that as well. You amazing and talented filmmaker, stripper, singer, dancer, all around great guy, you! If only I were single and into men, I’d be stalking you right now, you sexy thing you. You really should consider stripping as a career. Just saying. 😉
P.S.: I gotta say that I also got a real kick at getting to see some of my favorite TV stars from the 1970s and 1980s in this movie, like Sally Struthers, Shirley Jones and Christopher Atkins – who I got to hear gossip about when I was a kid from my uncle when he worked for the TV series Dallas, but don’t worry, Chris, it was just about your contract, which as a kid, wasn’t very exciting gossip, but it got me to thinking about TV contracts and the weird things that are in them because I was an odd kid that way, and anyway, I was way more interested in my uncle’s gossip about Linda Gray, which I am still SO jealous about. I sure do miss seeing these stars on my TV all the time like they were when I was a kid. No wonder I love this Jeffrey guy so much! 🙂
P.S.S.: If I ever get myself finally to New York City one of these days, I am going to that strip club to see Jeffrey/Anthony Longwood. After all these years of stripper club invites, of course I would end up finally saying yes to going to a guy strip club. I guess my brain doesn’t need their individual written permission to look at their nakedness because my brain will be too busy trying to figure out if I like pecs because they look like cleavage and what does this all mean. I will get my brain to shut up, though, if Jeffrey/Anthony Longwood does a strip just for me. I’m not sure how the wife will feel about that, so maybe we just won’t tell her. 🙂 😉
Weird Fact: The subway stop that my wife gets off of to go to work at her new job is called “Longwood” and just the other day before I saw this movie, I sent a text to my wife saying, “Longwood sounds like the name of a porn movie.” And she texted back that she agreed. So, since they give Anthony the last name of “Longwood” for his stripper name in the movie, I guess I wasn’t too far off on that peculiar observation.
Watch the trailer and then buy the movie!
I did! 🙂
And I was just told by Jeffrey that I am getting signed copies of the DVD and CD to boot! 🙂