Gays and Dolls

Stray Cat Theatre presenting a musical is, in terms of local show biz, rather like New Times publishing a word jumble.

“We just don’t do them,” says Stray Cat artistic director Ron May about producing tuners. “I’m not a big fan of the form, anyway. I do like Sondheim, but I don’t expect that Stray Cat will be doing Into the Woods any time soon.”

Instead, the troupe is presenting Patricia Kane’s Pulp, a play with music that May is directing. He likes how Pulp, an homage to ’50s lesbian pulp fiction, uses music to forward its story with songs that are, he says, contextualized, as with torch songs presented as part of a lounge act, but not in the usual “stop-the-action-I-gotta-sing” manner of musical theater. And he admits he’s become a big fan of lesbo pulps since working on the show. “I prefer the more stylized ones from the ’50s to the more porno ’60s novels,” he says, “but I have a feeling I’ll still be reading them after the show closes.”

May was originally drawn to the play because it pays tribute to silver-screen star Barbara Stanwyck, a favorite of his. The director has a thing for tough-as-nails actresses, like Johanna Carlisle, one of Pulp’s featured players. “I begged her to do this show,” May says of Carlisle. “I’ve always wanted to work with her, and I remember her saying she only ever gets cast in musicals, so I told her, ‘Clear your schedule for this one, then!’”

Fri., March 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., March 29, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 30, 2 p.m.; Thu., April 3, 8 p.m.; Fri., April 4, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 5, 8 p.m.; Sun., April 6, 2 p.m.; Thu., April 10, 8 p.m.; Fri., April 11, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 12, 8 p.m.; Sun., April 13, 2 p.m.; Thu., April 17, 8 p.m.; Fri., April 18, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 19, 8 p.m., 2008
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela