I walked into the intimate darkened XL Nightclub located on West 42nd Street and saw six large multi-sized screens emblazoned with a running Broadway show montage, presented by XL’s new promotional director Dougie Meyer and THE OUT NYC’s owners Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner.
The screens functioned as an electronic wall which, via technologically which was of course unheard of when they were first staged, showcased many original cast performances. I mean, when Carol Channing first sang “Hello Dolly” she never dreamed that her greeting would simultaneously emanate from several wall screens. The combination of the screens and the reverberating sound imbued the performances with exceedingly loud and incredibly close technological newness. I sat mesmerized for three hours watching feast for the eyes clips of every conceivable aspect of Broadway spectacle–which included Broadway music presented in sitcoms, cartoons, movies, original staging and even the Tony Award show.
The technology generated a newness which caused the XL audience to feel as if they were one with electronically generated experience. There seemed to be no difference between the on-screen applause and the applause coming from within the room. The audience almost lost it while watching the iconic tug boat scene from FUNNY GIRL when Barbra Streisand sings, “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” One excited viewer reacted by tearing paper to make his own confetti which he threw into the air to everyone’s delight. I swooned while watching Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury performing “Bosom Buddies” from MAME.
This particular song title did not apply to the staff members’ attire. The male waiters and bar tenders were clad in nothing other than white lycra skintight very short shorts. Seeing a bare chested man mixing drinks was almost as visually stimulating as viewing the screened Broadway mixture.
But Tony Award winning KINKY BOOTS cast member Billy Porter’s appearance was even more show stopping than the every manifestation of Broadway montage plethora and the multitudinous half naked men. He wore red sequined thigh high stiletto boots and a sports jacket. I was too far away from Porter to discern exactly what sort of garment was ensconced between the boots’ top and the jackets’ bottom.
What was certain, however, was that I was closely encountering the kinkiest boots on Earth. It seemed as if Dorothy’s ruby slippers were on steroids. Without a doubt, Porters’ red mega shoes weren’t in Kansas anymore! As I exited XL stage left, I imagined Ethel Merman belting out “there’s no business like shoe business” to describe the “some enchanted evening” definitely not business as usual experience I had thoroughly enjoyed.
New performers participating in the XL Monday Musicals series will be unveiled each week. LION KING star Chondra Profit will appear on Monday, August 19th. I have no doubt that the evening will be uproarious.
– Marleen Barr
Editor’s note: Shoutout to Tony Built who DJed the event for 6+hours.
Photos by Andrew Werner