Lips Together, Teeth Apart
A gay community in Fire Island provides an unlikely setting for two straight couples spending the Fourth of July weekend in a house inherited by Sally from her brother who died of AIDS. Through monologues unheard by the others, the characters reveal a desperate sense of individual isolation. The only people these four characters find more alien are the unseen gay men partying in the houses on either side of them. As they divert themselves from their own mortality with food, cocktails, the New York Times crossword puzzle, fireworks, charades, and biting jabs at each other and the boys next door, the two couples find little to celebrate about themselves or their country on its birthday.
The Manhattan Theatre Club production, directed by John Tillinger, opened on June 25, 1991, with Christine Baranski, Swoosie Kurtz, Nathan Lane, and Anthony Heald. It was nominated for a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding New Play.
A limited revival was scheduled to open on Broadway on April 29, 2010 at the American Airlines Theatre, through June 20, 2010. Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company and directed by Joe Mantello, the revival was to star Megan Mullally, Lili Taylor, David Wilson Barnes, and Patton Oswalt (in his Broadway debut). On March 24, 2010, Mullally left the production two weeks into rehearsals when Mantello denied her request that Oswalt be replaced due to his lack of stage experience. The revival was postponed on March 25, 2010, with artistic director Todd Haimes stating that "they could not find a way to maintain the production schedule under these circumstances"; the production was canceled soon afterwards.
Lips Together, Teeth Apart was successfully produced in the mid-1990s by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, Oregon, and also by the OSF in Portland, Oregon. There was some controversy about the meaning of the title, which was never clearly defined for the public.
- Jones, Kenneth."Broadway Won't See Lips Together, Teeth Apart This Season" playbill.com, March 25, 2010
- Healy, Patrick."McNally Play Is Postponed After Mullally’s Departure"The New York Times, March 25, 2010
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