But all you doubters of NANCE doubters, here's the thing:
It was impossible to believe - because of the writing, and because of the actors - that Nathan Lane and that guy would ever be boyfriends.
If you want to read the thing as "romance" or "metaphor" or "historical melodrama": doesn't matter.
No way to believe those two guys had ever even met.
As for the play asking us to believe that a hot 25-year-old with a generically hot gym body who had left his wife just yesterday and apparently had no idea that anyone had ever discriminated - legally, medically, socially - against homosexuals. . . That such a guy existed, ever, and that he would fall immediately into Nathan Lane's arms and want to marry him forever and be his happy little housewife who just adored everything he did and had no personal ego needs whatsoever. . .
It's a bullshit fantasy. An offensive lie, if you ask me. It's a lie that flatters Lane, of course; and it's a lie that disrespects the history of homosexual men in the US over the past hundred years, because it pretends that it actually would have been entirely possible at any point for some guy who was straight on Tuesday to decide on Friday that he could love a man and everything would be hunky dory.
Sure, gay relationships have always existed. Sure, plenty of people found communities in which they could be "married" without being harassed by their immediate circle.
But to go back and do a revisionist history that erases the profound psychological damage that homophobia does to people. . .
I mean it was 1933. And John Lee Beatty's sets - particularly the Automat - were so specific and seemingly historically accurate and entirely realist - the first set you see kind of just IS that Automat, and the production says to you: "We are now back in the early 30s in NYC and we are going to show you what really happened."
And 1933 was when Hitler rose to power and he was just about to start rounding up homosexuals and torturing them.
And 1933 was only 40 years after Oscar Wilde was tried and condemned and jailed and basically left to die because he was a fag.
Wilde's trial drove thousands of homosexuals around the globe back into the closet. Ask Henry James about that.
And 1933 was four years into the Depression, which destroyed the Harlem Renaissance, and basically wrecked the uptown/downtown culture that had emerged during the '20s - a culture that had allowed for a lot of gayness and gender-bending stuff to sneak out into the open. Mae West, etc. Gladys Bentley. And so forth. By the early 30s, it was running back into the shadows.
THE NANCE told us it was realist/historical, which was bullshit. It told us that a straight guy in that period could just decide to love, love, love, openly and uncomplicatedly love, a man. All of which made Nathan Lane's character bear ALL the burden of self-loathing and anxiety and dread, etc.