- Real Estate
- Under Cover
- Special Editorial
- In Pictures
BY SCOTT STIFFLER | Don’t think of him as a downscale entertainer just because he doesn’t make that sweet SAG-AFTRA money. “No union affiliation…YET!” reads the resume of veteran Ice Capades and children’s theater performer Lance, whose work as “Patient” you might recall from the dental training video “Ouch — That Hurts.” Unencumbered by a firm grasp on reality, this indefatigable cruise ship stage manager has high hopes for the NYC residency of “Late with Lance!” — despite unsuccessful attempts to secure guest appearances from the likes of Hugh Jackman and Liza, via stalker-level use of his Twitter account. Still, Lance has somehow managed to book a bit of Big Apple star power for this desperate attempt to secure talk show legitimacy (and the approval of his two emotionally distant gay dads).
Providing a welcome bit of counterprogramming as Super Bowl spectators occasionally cheered for what was happening on the big screens behind the bar, Downtown chanteuse Tammy Faye kindly consented to a Q&A at last weekend’s show, which took place at the theater space below Chelsea’s Triple Crown Ale House. Always a class act, even when it’s not part of the act, Faye didn’t rub Lance’s nose in the fact that she usually plays classy venues like Joe’s Pub — and indulged the thoroughly flummoxed host by reading a scene from her old role in “Co-Ed Prison Sluts” (dim bulb Lance stammered through his part, which required a zest for innuendo and foul language the poor guy just isn’t capable of mustering).
On Feb. 14, 1960s era “rogue stewardess” Kitty Cockpit (aka improv and sketch performer Kirsten O’Brien) is poised to mortify Lance with a lusty burlesque routine. “Forbidden Broadway” vet and YouTube diva impressionist Christina Bianco will make a guest appearance at Feb. 21’s final show, where her ability to channel Liza will probably whip our excitable host into a royal tizzy. “All of these local celebrities begged me to share the spotlight to talk about themselves and their upcoming projects,” claims the fellow who wears a Superman shirt but lacks the power to take a tall leap over his occasionally debilitating insecurities.
Still, a good time will be had — because the man who inhabits Lance is actually in possession of the goods his talent-challenged alter ego craves. SOLOCOM festival founder and Peoples Improv Theater faculty member Peter Michael Marino garnered real-life rave reviews for a 2015 tour of “Late with Lance!” that took him to the Orlando, Hollywood, and Edinburgh Fringe festivals.
Like all hapless wannabes whose flame won’t be snuffed out just because they lack the requisite skills to achieve those big dreams, there’s something inherently likable about Lance’s original song parodies (a tribute to one-name celebrities set to a “Chorus Line” tune), slavish devotion to musical theater (“The Sound of Music” performed in five minutes), and disastrous attempts to put himself on equal footing with his accomplished guests (see the abovementioned interaction with Tammy Faye).
“Lance has suffered for his art,” the press release says. “Now it’s your turn!” That’s one of the few promises he’s capable of keeping — along with the handwritten note on the basement door that links an enhanced theatrical experience to the purchase of drinks at the upstairs bar.
At 7 p.m. on Sundays, through Feb. 21, at Triple Crown Underground (basement space of the Triple Crown Ale House, 330 Seventh Ave., btw. 28th & 29th Sts.). Admission is pay-what-you-can. Info at lanceshow.com and petermmarino.com. Venue info at triplecrownnyc.com.