DC theatregoers have a unique opportunity to see a heart-warming, funny, touching, and beautifully written one-man show, with a tour-de-force performance by Queer in the USA’s writer and performer Manuel Simons.
Manuel plays Johnny, a 14-year old from the not-so- beautiful city of Freehold, New Jersey, who yearns to be as successful as his hero – Bruce Springsteen, a native Freeholdian (I hope that’s right). Johnny has the energy of Bruce but his voice is much higher than his hero’s. So, off he goes retracing his idol’s career footsteps, while trying to be just like The Boss.
He has to struggle with homophobia at Freehold High School and cruel jokes played on him. Even his own Glee Club rejects him. Fortunately for Johnny, he is sent to a vocal trainer who tries to teach him how to “sing like a real man”. It’s during his NYC adventures that Johnny manages to meet a British rocker, a Gypsy mother and her son, and like them and through them, he must find out who he really is and feel comfortable in his own skin – to try find his “true voice”.
Manuel Simon plays 8 characters and each one shines as this gifted performer brings them to life. You can’t take your eyes off Manuel, for he is a master storyteller and his smile and the twinkle in his eyes, and that “special voice” will charm the pants off of you.
I’ve seen dozens of “coming out” one-man shows filled with “They hate us” and spewing with anger, but this heart-warming production, directed with loving care by Chrissy Moore, is overflowing with joy, humor, and hope, all wrapped up in the gifted performance of The Boss – Manuel Simons.
Watch highlights from Queer in the USA here:
Queer in the USA
Written and Performed by Manuel Simons
Directed and Designed by Chrissy Moore
Produced by Faux-Real Theatre Company
Reviewed by Joel Markowitz
Running time: 75 minutes
Read all the reviews and check out the full Capital Fringe schedule here.
Did you see the show? What did you think?