Parker & Dizzy's Fabulous Journey to the End of the Rainbow
nytheatre.com review by David Gordon
August 14, 2011
The title Parker and Dizzy’s Fabulous Journey to the End of the Rainbow is a mouthful. Fitting, then, that this over-stuffed and confusing musical comedy, by Damon Maida and Peter Zachari (who also directed and stars), is also a mouthful. What probably could have been a gay ole time at 90 intermissionless minutes is made interminable in this nearly two-and-a-half-hour production that features a game yet uncertain cast and is in need of severe editing.
This is camp on a whole lot of levels at its hoariest. Afraid they’ll be framed for the murder of a drag queen named Victoria Luster (played by Steven Polito, better known as Hedda Lettuce), BFFs Parker (Zachari) and Dizzy (Joey Mirabile) set out on a course to discover the meaning of her last words, written in lipstick on a make-up mirror. Their journey takes them all over New York City, from a psychic shop to Carnegie Hall to a morgue, to the Palace Theatre (guess who shows up?) to Chinatown, and features run-ins with a buff, gay singing cowboy in Times Square, a Joan Crawford impersonator, a wrist-cutter, a one-eyed Buddhist mystic, a horny old man, Liza, Lorna, and assorted others, not in that order. On the Town this ain’t.
Mirabile (who also provided the choreography) and Zachari are basically perfect for their roles, while most of the rest of the company seems tentative. Oddly enough, it’s the drag performers who seem the least comfortable. This is especially surprising in the case of Polito, whose career is storied, to say the least. Sam Given, in a variety of roles including Crawford and the Buddhist mystic, pleases the crowd but seems ill at ease, especially as the hanger-wielding Joan. So too is Brian Bailey, who is a game Liza, but not as strong as other Liza impersonators. Rodiney Santiago, a star of the Logo series The A-List: New York, delivers his lines using an almost entirely unintelligible accent. (Never having watched that show, I cannot say if this is his actual accent). The clear show-stealers are John Weigand as a horny old man (and nothing more than that), and Jacob R. Thompson as the Cowboy (better as a singer than an actor).
Perhaps that’s because they’re given the two best songs, “The Troll Song,” for Weigand, about how he’s a horny old man, and “GPeniS,” for Thompson, about how his erect penis provides all the global positioning he needs. The remaining numbers in Maida and Zachari’s score are generally forgettable, while Zachari’s insipid, dialogue-heavy book that plays up every old gay joke and B-movie reference veers from one head-scratching idea to the next. If Parker and Dizzy really want their journey to be fabulous, they need to find a dramaturg.