NYT, November 16, 1989:
Lisa Edelstein’s AIDS-education musical, ”Positive Me,” at La Mama E.T.C., is a buoyant, frisky show whose main purpose is to convince teen-agers that they are not invulnerable to AIDS. In the opening scene, Ms. Edelstein portrays a teen-ager who asks her boyfriend (Thomas Gibson) to use a condom during sex. Refusing, he offers a litany of reasons, including the fact that he is neither gay nor an intravenous drug user. But as the show makes perfectly clear, anyone who is sexually active is at some risk of infection.
Other characters in the show include a prostitute who is wise in the ways of protection, a drag queen who laments, ”What ever happened to no responsibility?,” a young heroin addict who scoffs at the notion of using fresh syringes (they’re too expensive) and a smug chorus of religious moralists who see the AIDS epidemic as God’s punishment. A parody of a television game show makes fun of the false notion that it is possible to turn one’s back on the AIDS crisis by fleeing the city.
The songs in ”Positive Me” are simple, direct messages expressed in a grade-school rap and pop vocabulary. With its nonstop pace and rough-and-tumble choreography by Robert La Fosse, the show has something of the chaotic energy of a junior high school playground. In talking about sex and drugs, the matter-of-fact lyrics and dialogue don’t euphemize, but neither do they strain after a streetwise hipness.
”Positive Me” plays Thursdays to Sundays through Nov. 26 at the first-floor theater at La Mama, 74A East Fourth Street. Miss Edelstein hopes to showcase the musical in high schools and junior colleges across the country. How Escapism Courts Disaster POSITIVE ME, written and composed by Lisa Edelstein; directed by Ethan Silverman; choreography by Robert La Fosse; music arranged, produced and recorded by Peter Millrose; set design by John de Fazio; costumes by Michelle Freedman; lighting by Howard Thies; wigs and makeup by Bobby Miller; sound by Tony Meola; stage management by Steve Wildern. Presented by La Mama E.T.C., 74A East Fourth Street. WITH: Stephanie Berry, Lisa Edelstein, Thomas Gibson, Margaux Guerard, Robert I., Mark Anthony Wade, Joe Warfield and Mary Lou Wittmer.
(Source: The New York Times)
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