Opening night for Erin Markey's new musical, A Ride on the Irish Cream at the Abrons Arts Center was so packed, cushions had to accommodate viewers on the floor. Okay, an opening is usually friends and family, and judging by the crowd, Markey and her partner Becca Blackwell have an ample supply, but now this entertaining romp through Markey's childhood has been extended, and that's good news.
Where else might you see Becca Blackwell, a trans actor who likes to be referred to as "they" according to program notes, in a chic haircut and bright orange top stoop down striking "crow pose?" Blackwell plays "Irish Cream," a boat Markey's father bought when she was a child in Michigan. There's a lot made of the look of dried Sprite on deck.
The musical, featuring a first-rate band led by Emily Bate, belongs to Erin Markey: her hair is chic as well, a beauty queen's half up cascading curls. Her eyes are blue saucers, her mouth wide and evenly toothed. When you see her face encased in pantyhose, "control top smooshed faces" remembering a childhood prank with her sister, it's not only hilarious, it is subversive.
One detail: her father loved to play Phantom of the Opera at night, every night. That dramatic soundtrack gets an extra laugh as you file out. Of course, Erin Markey's memory of key moments culminates in a love story that seems far from over. Making a show out of that material may be therapeutic for her, and it is great fun for us too.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.