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Camp and the Art of Being Cole Escola

Playbill News

Have you heard? There’s a nasty four-letter word going around the theatre district. Shows are being insulted. Egos are being bruised. Pearls are being clutched.

And what is this powerful, horrifying word? “Camp.” Sure, it may have a time and a place—who doesn’t enjoy a cheap laugh now and then. But don’t call it art. It’s far too unserious.

But why is this genre looked down on by so many? Why does the mere mention of it engender such…well, campy outrage from artists wanting their work to be respected as serious works of Art?

“Homophobia,” posits Cole Escola, currently starring in one of New York City’s campiest offerings, Oh, Mary!. It’s an interesting conundrum, especially because at least in this case, camp is selling. A sold-out, multi-extended Off-Broadway premiere downtown has led to a Broadway transfer, to the Lyceum Theatre where the show will open July 11, It may even be Art, if you believe the glowing critical notices and multiple award wins it has already garnered from the Off-Broadway run. Gasp!

Escola, who wrote the work in addition to serving as its star, plays famed first lady Mary Todd Lincoln in a truly demented peek into the final days before Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. If that doesn’t immediately strike you as hilarious, you may not be familiar with Escola’s off-kilter sense of humor. Escola’s alcoholic and stage-obsessed Mary Todd—which they’ve said draws from a third-grade knowledge of the historical figure at most—fits right in with their cadre of hilarious lunatics...READ MORE



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