Bright Colors And Bold Patterns — hailed as “devastatingly funny” by The New York Times — is back Off Broadway for an exclusive eight-week limited engagement at SoHo Playhouse, running now through Sunday, January 8.
Directed by Michael Urie (Torch Song, Buyer & Cellar, Ugly Betty), and written and performed by Drew Droege (the comedian from the internet’s “Chloë” and the series Drunk History, Bob’s Burgers and the upcoming Paramount TV show Heathers), Bright Colors And Bold Patterns has come back to New York due to overwhelming demand, following a successful three-week run last year.
Josh and Brennan are about to get married in Palm Springs on a lovely Saturday afternoon. However, the night before the wedding becomes a drunken, drug-fueled riot, because their friend Gerry has arrived, furious that their invitation says “Please refrain from wearing bright colors or bold patterns.” In the struggle for equality, what do we really want? What do we lose? And is there any cocaine left?
We chatted with Drew Droege and Michael Urie on the set for Bright Colors And Bold Patterns about gay representation in the media, conformity and Lifetime original movies.
Here’s a video of our chat with Drew Droege and Michael Urie:
Hornet: How did this show come about?
Drew Droege: I was invited to a wedding in which the guests were asked not to wear bright colors or bald patterns, and I thought that’s such an idea for a show. Then gay marriage became legal and I started to see wedding sections in every magazine, every gay magazine and I was just like, all of a sudden we are made to feel like we want this. Wedding culture is a huge part of gay life now and so then I thought, “What if I play this big, loud, gay, drunk mess who might have a problem with what’s going on and who’s maybe afraid of losing our queerness and otherness?” He’s the life of the party. I mean, I come into the show like I’m ready to tear things apart and I do, you know, for good and for bad.
Michael, how did you become involved with this production of Bright Colors and Bold Patterns and what was the first thing you thought when you read the script?
Michael Urie: Well, the first time I saw it, Drew was doing it on a basically on a bare stage with a couple of chairs, a couple of beach towels and a margarita. I thought this would be more of a stand-up routine. I thought this would be more like a comedy act to the audience and what blew me away was that he created this entire world of a patio at a house in Palm Springs with these three other people from day to night. It was an entire world, an entire place, an entire period of time and all with his imagination and mine because I think the audience’s imagination is a huge part of this show.
I thought I can help you fill up this world and it’s a story that I think should be out there. It’s sort of an antidote to how a lot of people feel in the LGBTQ community since marriage equality. Does marriage equality mean equal rights and conformity? Or can it just mean equal rights?
Droege: One of the best things about being gay is you don’t have those rules, like you don’t have the rules that straight people have and now the more normalized and the more equality we have — which is obviously a great thing — we’re getting those rules. We’re putting those rules on ourselves and so it’s sort of like, now we feel weird if we don’t already ever not want to get married yet, you know? I wanted to write a play that reflects how my friends and I talk to each other, and when I get together with my gay friends in Palm Springs we’ll talk for hours about women and Lifetime original movies. So I wanted to include a long section where I talk about Rita Wilson in this Lifetime movie because that’s how we talk and we scream at each other about who’s seen, you know, what Meredith Baxter-Birney movie or you know… who is it this week?
Urie: What’s great about this play is that there are two very like-minded people, but there are also two other people who are very different and so it becomes what happens when you mix different kinds of gay guys together. The four of them together is what creates the the drama and the conflict in the play which I think is really exciting and interesting, all seen through the point of view of [Drew’s character].
Gay representation can be challenging in the media. But then, they say if you don’t see yourself, write yourself.
Droege: I wasn’t seeing this character and I know this character so well and I have a lot of this character in me. You don’t see this guy on TV and you don’t see this guy in gay movies or maybe he’s in one scene as a joke but I wanted to do an entire piece where you have to look at just this guy and see the world because we all know him.
Urie: In movies and theater, the character ends up being almost a villain or maybe a side character or a comic centerpiece as opposed to the center. This play really gets into this guy’s brain and soul and we learn why he is a mess, why does he come in and and hold court to a fault and by the end of the play you get everything about him and why he’s like that and you love him.