by Michael Dale
Watching Phyllis Diller on TV when I was a kid, I didn't really get what she was doing (beyond being funny), but in an era when women were required to be of a certain level of attractiveness to be on television, Phyllis Diller embraced the fact that by unrealistic media standards she was unattractive and sexually undesireable and made herself the butt of her humor. She showed herself as a happy person who was comfortable with the way she looked and maybe that helped other women who didn't fit that mold feel happy with their own looks. She didn't hide the fact that she wore wigs and got a face lift; she owned it. And in doing all that she achieved something higher than being considered attractive and sexy. She was beloved.
After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they?ve had two hours of open bar), Michael Dale segued his theatrical ambitions into playwriting. The buildings which once housed the 5 Off-Off Broadway plays he penned have all been destroyed or turned into a Starbucks, but his name remains the answer to the trivia question, "Who wrote the official play of Babe Ruth's 100th Birthday?" He served as Artistic Director for The Play's The Thing Theatre Company, helping to bring free live theatre to underserved communities, and dabbled a bit in stage managing and in directing cabaret shows before answering the call (it was an email, actually) to become BroadwayWorld.com's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Shea Stadium pleading for the Mets to stop imploding. Likes: Strong book musicals and ambitious new works. Dislikes: Unprepared celebrities making their stage acting debuts by starring on Broadway and weak bullpens.