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Gaetano Proclo is hiding out from his Mafia-linked brother-in-law. And he's hiding at The Ritz. But The Ritz is not what he thinks it is. This is no swanky New York hotel, no indeed. It happens to be a seedy gay bath house with the world's most eclectic collection of clients. There's Abby, the owner, a cigar chomping dame with a heart of brass. There's "Get Away From Me Claude," the donut packing chubby chaser. There's Chris, looking for love in the "wrongest" place of all. There's Michael, the super buff detective with the voice of a ten year old girl. There's a guy who wears balloons and sings opera, and a dude in chaps. And there's Tiger and Duff, the hot young studs who keep the Ritz afloat. And best of all, there is Googie Gomez, a talentless show-biz wannabe who entertains at the Ritz, hoping one night a big Broadway Producer will come by and discover her.
These are the people who inhabit The Ritz, Terrence McNally's award winning comedy and hit film, brought to the stage as a special summer treat by Off The Wall Theatre. This is a farce unlike any other. Using all the tools of classic face, McNally fashions a wild comedy with heart, soul, and disco to boot. And when Carmine Vespucci comes a-gunnin' for his brother-in-law and Gaetano's wife loses her fur coat in the bath house while trying to warn her husband, pandaemonium breaks out. Pandaemonium of riotous laughter that is.
This show has everything: rousing Broadway show tunes; cute chorus boys who can't dance; curvaceous guys and girls in bath towels; and laugh upon laugh upon laugh. Lawrence Lukasavage, long time Off the Wall Favorite, played Gaetano Proclo the simple garbage man with the heart of gold, caught in a sexual Dante's Inferno. Barbara Weber played his faithful, adoring wife. Kristin Pagenkopf played Googie Gomez, the songbird with the sound of "nails on the blackboard." Milwaukee's talented Karl Miller played Chris, the good hearted bath house slut. Kutis Witzlsteiner played "Get Away From Me Claude," the manic chubby chaser. The ever popular Jeremy Welter played Michael Bick, a Private Dick on the prowl. James Feeley played the mafia boss, Carmine, out to "get" Proclo. Newcomers to Off the Wall Theatre Zay Turner and Luke Waalazak played Tiger and Duff the bathhouse attendants who "just want everyone to be happy." The cast also included, Tom Welcenbach, Roger Uscila, Michael Davis, Joey Skattabo, Richard Dickerson,and Rick Anderson, as the patrons of the bath house, and Sandy Lewis as "Condom Catey."
As a special added attraction, two of Milwaukee's most beloved Drag Performers, Miss Karen Valentine and Miss Maple Veneer performed as part of the show.