Surely you’ve read about the uproar from some quarters over OKC Theatre Company’s production of Paul Rudnick’s glib comedy The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. A state legislator, who also happens to be a Baptist preacher, began an effort to shame officials into barring the show from CitySpace in city-owned Civic Center Music Hall. City solons have been through this sort of thing before and made it clear that they’re not in the banning business.
Go see the show. You’ll come out saying, “What’s the big deal?” The fundamentalist Christian quip, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” inspired Rudnick to write this 1998 play, which poses the question, What if it had been Adam and Steve in the garden of Eden, along with a lesbian named Jane and a hippie-dippie, frizzyhaired gay woman named Mabel? (Get it? Cain and Abel.) That gives you an idea of the humor level in Fabulous Story, which isn’t a great play and not even one of this playwright’s better efforts.
In the introduction to the play, Rudnick asks, “Why do we need to believe? What terror or transcendence leads to either the invention or the discovery of a god?” That’s a big subject for a two-act comedy, but Rudnick does strike a few blows on the matter.
Because of the controversy, OKCTC, which receives some funding from the state arts council, has made it clear that no public funds were expended on this production. (This is a good thing. One would hope the state is funding better plays.) The program lists more than 100 theatrical angels who contributed to the production. Many of the names are well-known to devoted theatergoers. Thus, OKCTC presents a modest production here, directed by Kory M. Kight-Pagala, but it probably would have been modest anyway.
The fabulous story begins when Adam (the appealing Fabrice Conte in a black pompadour) meets Steve (the fine Josh Bonzie). This is before the handshake had been invented, so they struggle with that most basic of human greetings. The first kiss is even more awkward. Later, we see the first hors d’oeuvres, which are remarkably similar to their counterparts today. Thus, the play’s first act takes a whirlwind trip though the Old Testament, where Adam gets seasick on Noah’s ark.
The second act is set in Adam and Steve’s New York City apartment in what seems to be 1998, where they deal with issues pertinent to gay men and lesbians in the late 20th century. (Dated jokes refer to O.J. Simpson and Brooke Shields.) Jane and Mabel (Rachel Morgan and Krissy Jones) are expecting a baby, and Adam and Steve have a box of meds on their coffee table.
Because of the controversy, this production has gotten more ink than almost any other city-area show in years. But the only thing those opposed to the play accomplished is helping ticket sales. As of press time, the show’s entire run was almost sold out.