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Deep Inside Hollywood

Sandra Bernhard in permanent ‘Pose’

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Sandra Bernhard will regularly strike a Pose

Nurse Judy is back from her break, and she’s still not having any of your nonsense. Oh, wait, sorry, have you caught up on the first season of Pose yet? If not then drop what you’re doing and watch, because not only is it history-making, featuring the largest transgender series regular cast, as well as the largest LGBTQ cast ever for a scripted series. It’s also coming back for a second season, with season one guest star Sandra Bernhard — as the tough nurse whose lonely job is caring for a hospital wing’s worth of young gay men with AIDS — returning as a series regular.

The amplification of this storyline was inevitable, of course, as the series is set in the late 1980s when HIV/AIDS had already devastated a generation of queer people. And the casting is nearly perfect since Bernhard has been a fixture — now legendary in her own right — of LGBTQ culture since that time. But as long as we have the gift of Miss Bernhard, we’d also love to see Nurse Judy moonlighting as a cabaret singer in her off hours. Listen, honey, you don’t get if you don’t ask.

Stay home, eat candy, watch Wicked Halloween

Choices: Dress up like a Sexy Witch at a loud party and navigate a sea of drunk people, or sit on your couch hoarding Reese’s Cups and watch NBC’s A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway. The more comfortable option seems clear — we’ll be enjoying network television, complete with commercials, and hanging with Elphaba and Glinda, sister witches whose pre-Dorothy drama is the story of the smash-hit Broadway musical.

Hosted by original cast members Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, this new concert special will feature songs from Wicked performed by them, as well as by the show’s current Broadway cast, Ariana Grande, Pentatonix, and others still to be announced. Now, if this were an old-school TV special, those “others” would wind up being some sort of professional sports figure who can’t sing, a comedian who can’t sing, and a puppet. Aren’t you glad it’s 2018, where it’ll most likely be a synergistic appearance by Kelly Clarkson or a cast member from This is Us?

Paul Feig sells NBC on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

Paul Feig, the man from Bridesmaids, is moving into musical television. He recently sold a song-and-dance dramedy to NBC called Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Co-created by Austin Winsberg (Jake in Progress) and not to be confused with the film Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, the story concerns a young woman in her late 20s suddenly gifted with the ability to know the deepest desires of everyone around her.

The gift is accomplished through music, somehow, and it sounds reasonably delightful. Smash notwithstanding — frankly, that show was kind of weirdly cool but never got its due — NBC is responsible for a lot when it comes to the re-introduction of music into primetime network TV, so this seems like the right home for this show. Now, for the truly extraordinary: an excellent non-corny cast, and some good money poured into production and a lot of people spontaneously dancing in the streets. You’ll have appointed television and an audience of queer people keeping it in business.

Heterosexuals to invade Broadway

Remember the 2000 film Almost Famous? Remember how it was full of charming straight rock-star dude characters you actually like? The laid back kind, nice to teenage band groupies, and who led Elton John sing-alongs on buses? Well, you have Cameron Crowe to thank for that one, and if the forthcoming Broadway musical version of this film is successful, it will be a testament to his powers.

There’s no casting news yet, but the project — the story of young Crowe-like music journalist on tour with an up-and-coming rock band — will feature a book by Crowe based on his Academy Award-winning screenplay. As well as music by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) with lyrics by Kitt and Crowe, and directed by Jeremy Herrin (People, Places and Things). We’re hopeful for this one, and not just because we’re looking forward to “Tiny Dancer” belted out by an ensemble cast. If the current political landscape has us soured on almost all heterosexual men, Crowe’s superpower is reminding us that they can be soulful and sensitive and as sexy as young Billy Crudup.

Romeo San Vicente does it his way all the time, darling.

Photo by Bigstock

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