Wait just a minute! What the hell happened to Q. Allan Brocka? The man who launched the popular “Eating Out” movie franchise. The man who turned Matthew Rettenmund’s meh novel “Boy Culture” into a decent movie. The man who created the brilliant animated Logo series “Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World”. What is he doing directing “Still Waiting in the Wings” (JJ Spotlight), the sequel to 2014’s unwatchable “Waiting in the Wings”?
Stage-struck Montana to NYC transplant Anthony (hammy Jeffrey A. Johns) and hot, straight stripper roommate Tony (Adam Huss) still live together after all these years. Anthony has a boyfriend, gay stripper Lee (Blake Peyrot), and Tony has a girlfriend, Rita (Rena Strober). Lee and Rita have been enlisted to help Anthony make “the world’s greatest video submission ever”, not to get him his big break in musical theater, but for a singing waiter gig at Café Broadway (where Rita also works while waiting to become a star) in Times Square.
Anthony gets the gig (turns out he had it all along), but his showbiz world is about to be turn on its swelled head. Singing waiter replacement Bradley (Joe Abraham) has a lot in common with Anthony – maybe too much! Before long, Bradley’s façade begins to peel away, and we see him for the scheming Eve Harrington climber that that he is.
Tony books a soap opera (or as he says “daytime drama”), much to Rita’s chagrin. Rita is also plagued by fellow singing waitress Gina (Rebecca Kochan of “Eating Out” fame). When Anthony gets a line on the soap, Rita wigs out. But Bradley is there to break her fall as well as destroy her friendship with Anthony. In addition to that, all the success and failure threatens Anthony and Lee’s relationship, as well as Tony and Rita’s. But fear not, there’s a contrived happy ending waiting in the wings.
Brimming with original, but corny, songs, Brocka tries to make the most of the silly screenplay by Arie Gonzalez and John. Half the fun (or maybe most of it) is clocking the bigger name stars who pop up like in a whac-a-mole game. Cindy Williams is Rosie the Café Broadway proprietor and Bruce Vilanch is the chef. Lee Meriwether returns (!) as Anthony’s biggest champion and mentor Ethel. Carole Cook is the café’s #1 patron Erika. There’s also Seth Rudetsky as vicious vocal instructor Mr. Nelson and Nick Adams as belting and buff vocal student Steven. Ed Asner as grumpy soap director Jefferson and Patricia Richardson as Tony’s soap co-star Delores. Sally Struthers as temp Lucy. And, last but far from least, scene-stealer Chita Rivera as herself.
If you so choose, “Still Waiting in the Wings” is available on DVD and digital via jjspotlightproductions.com.