Meryl. Meryl. Meryl.

Is there any need to add a last name? Can there be a movie fan alive today who doesn’t know straight away that the Meryl in question is the most Oscar-nominated actress (or actor) in Academy Award history? (That’s 16 nominations in case you’ve forgotten.)

La Streep’s classic film roles have spotlighted her chameleon-like ability to disappear into a role (and an accent) so completely that It’s Complicated’s Jane, Julie And Julia’s Julia Child, Doubt’s Sister Aloysius, Mamma Mia’s Donna, and The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly would seem to have been played by five very different actresses—and not the one-and-only Meryl Streep. (And that’s only looking at her most recent film roles.)

Gay men would appear to have a particular affection for Meryl, who like Liza, Cher, and both Bettes, has gone from being merely a movie star to being an adored, respected, and often spoofed gay icon.

This affection has inspired standup comedian/actor Roy Cruz to invite a bunch of talented male actors to join him in recreating memorable Meryl moments in the comedy tribute phenomenon he has entitled Streep Tease. David Dean Bottrell, Drew Droege, Ron Morehouse, Steve Hasley, Mike Rose, Trent Walker, and Cruz deliver a Streep monolog each, making this collection of Meryl’s Greatest Hits an often hilarious yet always respectful hour of Streep, Streep, Streep, Streep, Streep, Streep, and Streep.


With his dry, droll delivery atop his Filipino accent, creator/host Cruz could probably get laughs just reading from the phone book. As egocentric magazine editor Miranda Priestly, he takes Miranda’s monolog—you know the one, where Ms. Priestly informs personal assistant wannabe Andy Sachs that the color she’s wearing is “not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean”—and turns it into a laugh riot. Miranda Priestly might not be amused, but we are.

Walker’s Karen Silkwood monolog is played straight, and provides Streep Tease’s most serious (albeit still entertaining) interlude. (There’s not much to laugh about when a woman is dying of plutonium poisoning.)

It’s back to the comedic with Morehouse’s spot-on take on Death Becomes Her’s bitchy, unmurderable Madeleine Ashton. Droege takes one of Meryl’s least funny heroines (Lindy Chamberlain from A Cry In The Dark) and makes her very funny indeed, beginning with the immortal line “A dingo ate my baby!” (The Australian accent helps too.)

Hasley gets a three-part Italian-accented monolog from The Bridges Of Madison County, with Francesca’s sponge bath so authentically delivered that one can almost imagine between laughs that it’s female plumbing being sponged, and her final monolog every bit as touching as the previous one was hilarious.

Two monologs qualify as virtual production numbers. There’s Rose’s Gail Hartman from The River Wild, rafting down the river with a pair of gun-toting robbers, an endangered child, and fly swatter paddles. Bottrell takes Danish-accented Karen Blixen and gives us Out Of Africa from start to finish in six minutes, with Hasley as Robert Redford, and a climactic moment featuring African bush, mountains, an elephant, and a pair of lions in love. (The sequence is arguably the evening’s biggest laugh getter, thanks to Bottrell’s perfect imitation of Blixen’s self-serious delivery.)

Interspersed between segments are Meryl Streep audience-participation trivia quizzes (with Meryl fans awarded Meryl fans). The evening concludes on a high note with the full cast lip-synching to “Mamma Mia” from the film of the same name, choreography courtesy of Sandy Mooney.

Under Ezra Weisz’s spot-on direction, Streep Tease has been entertaining Angelinos on and off since last fall, its current Sundays at 7:30 run set to close on July 31. However, with sold-out crowds and dozens more Meryl films ripe for the picking, my guess is that, like Meryl Streep’s career, the end of Streep Tease is far from being in sight.

bang Comedy Theatre, 457 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles.

–Steven Stanley
June 21, 2010

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