Entertainment :: Theatre

Judy Gold Is Mommy Queerest

by Robert Nesti
EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor
Monday Dec 29, 2008
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Comedian Judy Gold in a promotional photo for "Mommie Queerest," at the Calderwood Pavilion through Wednesday.
Comedian Judy Gold in a promotional photo for "Mommie Queerest," at the Calderwood Pavilion through Wednesday.  

It’s surprising that a forward-looking television producer hasn’t signed Judy Gold up for a contemporary sit-com based on her life. After all, she’s a single Jewish woman living in New York trying to juggle a career in comedy with raising two boys - an 11- and a 7-year old. Throw in Mr. French and you have an updated version of "Family Affair."

The likely reason why such a sit-com isn’t prime time is that Gold is a lesbian sharing custody with her boys with her ex-girlfriend, while moving forward in a new relationship. There may not be a touchier issue on the social agenda than gay families - you can have "Desperate Housewives," but show featuring a single gay mom? That’s for cable or the Internet.

But for those who would like to see a sneak preview of what such a show might be like should head over to the Calderwood Pavilion through New Year’s Eve where Gold is performing her latest show, Mommie Queerest. (A great title - why hasn’t anyone used it before.)

And for those who saw Gold in the same theater a year ago with her previous solo outing "25 Questions for a Jewish Mother" will likely find something different here. This isn’t as finished as that show was - it’s rougher and somewhat edgier with Gold spending a good deal of the time interacting with the audience and addressing images projected on a screen behind her, most notably footage of her in a baby carriage bobbing her head - a clip she returned to time and again for good comic effect.

It is also very funny. The imposing Gold (at 6’2") takes command of the Wemberly Stage and turns it into her personal soap box as she addresses any number of topics - from anti-depressants and text messaging while driving to the debate over gay marriage - with ingratiating zeal.

In her monologue Gold is not unlike a kinder, gentler Sandra Bernhard; don’t, though, expect much name-dropping or discussion of fashion trends. Instead she riffs on more personal issues: her relationship with her ex of 19-and-a-half years whom she calls Shwendy ("I knew after six months or so that it wasn’t going to work out, but I was an optimist"), her current relationship with a therapist, issues with raising her boys, and her complicated relationship with her mother, whom she impersonates with what can only be a loving stridency.

Toward the end of the show she moves into more political territory with an extended section of gay marriage. Here she illustrates the case for gay marriage by pointing out famous (or infamous) heterosexuals who can or have gotten married (Eric Menendez, for instance). Her biggest response came when she compared the marriage announcements of two couples - an accomplished gay couple from San Francisco and Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, underscoring her point by reading from Johnston’s MySpace page.

Fortunately she addresses the issue with humor and keeps the rhetoric at a minimum. Nowhere is this better shown than in a photo of her two boys - Henry and Ben - holding a sign at a recent anti-Prop 8 rally in New York held outside the headquarters of the Mormon Church. "My Two Moms Can Beat Up Your 14 Wives" the sign reads. Watching Gold in action, you can believe she could do it herself.

Through December 31st at the Virginia Wemberly Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA. Remaining performances: Sunday at 2pm and 7pm; Tuesday at 7:30pm; and Wednesday at 7pm and 9pm. For further information visit the Huntington Theatre website.

Robert Nesti can be reached at rnesti@edgemedianetwork.com.

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