All This, And Heaven Too is an entertaining look at gay life over 40 viewed through 
a musical comedy lens. As the production’s soft shoe opener “Trolls” (the show’s 
original off-Broadway title) proclaims, gay men past a certain age are considered 
“mean and crabby, soft and flabby.”  As All This, And Heaven Too reveals, they 
also have a zest for life, and more of an appreciation for the freedoms and the 
greater acceptance society has granted them post-Stonewall than “those little 
twits who don’t even know who Ethel Merman was.”

On a spring afternoon in 1986, close friends Terry, Juan, Phillip, and Michael have 
gathered in Terry’s West Hollywood living room to celebrate the life of Boomie, 
Michael’s recently deceased partner of 12 years. They are soon joined by post-op 
transsexual Jo, whom Boomie had encouraged to spread her female wings, and 
by twenty-something “I’m not for sale anymore” Blane, whom Boomie had 
befriended after picking him up on Santa Monica Boulevard and spending the 
night with him … just talking. A later arrival is Myrna, Boomie’s estranged sister, 
who feels justified in demanding Boomie’s photo album and other possessions 
because (she insists) she is his family. Not so, protests Michael, who spent a dozen 
years with Boomie “traveling through Europe, at parties, and getting old 
together.” Boomie’s real family, he insists, are the friends who were by his side 
through the years after Myrna disowned him.

The cast of All This, And Heaven Too is a sterling one, headed by Tony-winning 
Broadway legend Sammy Williams (the original Paul in A Chorus Line) as the still 
boyish Terry, Charles Herrera earning many laughs as south-of-the-border born 
Juan, silver fox Steven Conner as Michael, and understudy Daniel Guzman (The 
King in MTW’s The King and I) as “I’m only 42, not 43” Phillip.  Each is a gifted triple 
threat bringing to his role years of trodding the boards in regional theater.  Chase 
McCown is a cute and sexy Blane, and Katharine Devlin is suitably snooty as 
Myrna. Boomie’s ghost even drops by, well played and sung by musical theater 
vet James Warnock. Finally, there is the Fabulous (with a capital F) Jo, who 
changes her dazzling gowns and wigs perhaps a dozen times over the course of 
the show’s 90 or so minutes, brought to hilarious life by understudy Patricia Harrison.  
(Interestingly, the role is usually played by a male actor in drag.)

All This, And Heaven Too is at its best when the gang are singing Dick DeBenedictis 
and Bill Dyer’s songs, whether accompanied by flashing lights and a disco mirror 
ball, or touchingly advising Blane to “remember your legacy.” “Gay Caballeros,” 
sung by Carmen Miranda-garbed Juan backed by the rest of the gang, is a 
special treat, featuring such lyrics as “We’re not gay, we’re doing things the Latin 
way,” and “In Mexico they’re not gay, it’s just tequila that keeps them that way.” 
“Back in the Good Old Days” is a vaudeville-style show-stopper performed by 
Michael and Terry complete with canes (though minus top hats). “Back in the 
dark ages,” they sing, “we dared not speak its name. We figured out pronto, the 
Lone Ranger and Tonto.”  (A live band would give the show greater immediacy 
than the prerecorded background tracks.)

Director/choreographer Kevin Carlisle has brought his decades of experience to All 
This, And Heaven Too. (If the name sounds familiar, Carlisle’s work stretches back 
to 50s/60s TV variety shows, includes a Tony nomination for choreographing 
Hallelujah Baby, and an Emmy award.) Danny Truxaw’s set and lighting design are 
top notch as are the uncredited costumes, especially Jo’s many gowns (which 
include a Swiss Miss frock she once wore in the “all-transgender Mexican version of 
The Sound of Music”). Dyer’s book contains many amusing references to Bette 
Davis, Betty Grable, and other 40s/50s gay icons, and funny lines like “I’m not the 
first queen to lose her head over a basket.” If only the characters had been more 
fully developed (as were Terrence McNally’s in Love! Valour! Compassion!), the 
show would rate an A+.   (Disapproving sister Myrna takes only a dozen or so 
minutes (and a song) to come around the guys’ side.)

Still, thanks to its talented cast, its enjoyable songs, and its focus on a gay 
demographic too often overlooked by the media, All This, And Heaven Too is a fun 
and funny evening of musical theater, and for my money, just to see Sammy 
Williams on stage is worth the price of admission.

Macha Theatre, 1107 N. Kings Rd., West Hollywood.

–Steven Stanley
November 23, 2007
Photos: Ed Krieger

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