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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mary Lou, Israeli Musical About a Teenage Drag Queen, Makes Its U.S. Premiere Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 3:00 PM

click to enlarge Mary Lou is the drag persona of Meir (Ido Rozenberg) in Mary Lou.
  • Mary Lou is the drag persona of Meir (Ido Rozenberg) in Mary Lou.

"Courage," declares the gay teenage protagonist in Mary Lou, "is sometimes nothing more than an outburst of great despair." Meir (Ido Rozenberg) plainly needs someone to tell him it gets better in Israeli director Eytan Fox's queer-centric musical fable, especially after a climactic high school graduation-night humiliation sends him fleeing for the bright lights of Tel Aviv. His goal is to find his mother Miriam (Maya Dagan), who left without a word on his 10th birthday to become a backup singer for Israeli pop star Svika Pick -- in the comforting fantasy Meir invented. The 2009 film makes its U.S. debut Saturday at the Castro Theatre.

Although he searches for his mother, Meir (needless to say) finds himself instead. As with most fairy tales, from The Ugly Duckling to A Star is Born, the plot is melodramatic, moralistic and often predictable. Yet Mary Lou -- the name of Meir's drag persona after he moves to Tel Aviv -- entertainingly pushes the bounds with an unflagging parade of energetic production numbers of Pick's love songs.

click to enlarge Miriam (Maya Dagan) may or may not be a backup singer for a famous pop star in Mary Lou.
  • Miriam (Maya Dagan) may or may not be a backup singer for a famous pop star in Mary Lou.
Characters in a musical are allowed to burst into song anytime anywhere, of course, but a certain logic and justification is provided once Meir begins working, and then performing, in a drag club.

Mary Lou was produced as a four-part miniseries for Israeli television, where Fox achieved success before directing the international hits Yossi & Jagger and Walk on Water. It's being released in the U.S. as a two-and-a-half-hour feature.

Mary Lou plays at the Castro Theatre Saturday through Wednesday, Sept. 17-21. Admission is $7.50-$10.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.
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Michael Fox


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