Matt Murphy had a pretty good idea that “Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man” would work well in New York City. But what about Des Moines, Iowa?
“When we took it to Iowa I didn’t go because my wife was having our baby,” said Murphy, whose off-Broadway hit is coming to Proctors in Schenectady for two shows tonight and Friday.
“But I started getting text messages and emails from members of the cast and crew as soon as the show came down. People were saying, ‘oh my God, they loved it.’ I was very happy because I just wasn’t sure what the reaction would be.”
Murphy’s play is based on the best-selling book of the same name by Dan Anderson and Maggie Berman. While it may sound a little too R-rated for some, Murphy says that isn’t at all the case.
‘Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man’
WHERE: GE Theatre at Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. tonight and Friday
HOW MUCH: $39.50
MORE INFO: 346-6204, www.proctors.org
“We like to say it’s PG-13,” he said. “The most risqué thing about the whole show is the title. Once the audience gets in their seats, it’s actually a very sweet and romantic comedy. There are a few bedroom tips that maybe push the envelope a little bit, but we never cross that line into what you might call raunchy or lewd. It’s more clever and witty. We like to call it ‘Will & Grace’ on stage.”
Clever, not lewd
The show is set in a theater as the crowd begins to show up for a meet-the-author night.
“We have kind of a mouthy librarian who is forced to sit and discuss this book about sex tips, and while she wants to have a scholarly discussion, the author isn’t helping,” said Murphy.
“He knows she’s interested in the third member of our cast, the technician doing the lights and sound. She has the hots for him, the author knows that and that’s when all the sexual innuendo comes in. But it really is just a romantic comedy.”
Grant McDermott, who was with the show during its off-Broadway run, leads this cast along with Jacklyn Collier and Brooks Christopher. The show opened in New York City in 2014 and started touring in 2015.
While Murphy runs his own production company in New York and was an associate producer with the Broadway smash “Memphis,” “Sex Tips” was his first personal creation to run off-Broadway.
“This was basically my off-Broadway debut and the response has been amazing,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked more from my first production. It’s been running for three years, which makes it the longest-running off-Broadway comedy. Then we launch the tour in Des Moines of all places and it does very well there.
“I was told that the show ran 15 minutes longer than usual and I thought something must have gone wrong. But they said it was just from the audience laughing, and this was a subscription audience. The age group was probably twice the age of our New York audience.”
Murphy was happy to discover that the play was a big hit with more than just women and gay men.
“It’s not just a bachelorette show,” he said. “Yes, that’s part of the audience, but more than that it really is a date show, and I really like to push the romantic comedy angle. Given the title, the perception might be a bit different, but it really is a romantic comedy.”
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.