Hooking Up: The Musical

Eric Tipler's new Capital Fringe musical is personal and playful, 'more campy than crude'

Last year Eric Tipler spent a weekend in New York City. While there he took in a Broadway musical, but otherwise spent most of his time barhopping and searching online in pursuit of a hookup. That experience inspired One Night in New York, which makes its world premiere this month at the Capital Fringe Festival.

“It’s the story of Michael, a 22-year-old gay kid from Iowa, who’s looking for his first hookup in New York City,” says Tipler, who describes his show “as sort of On The Town meets Trick.” There’s even a fairy godmother — a “Cock Fairy” — who helps Michael in his quest, including on Grindr.

Fringe One Night in New York

Fringe One Night in New York

(Photo by Ted Eytan)

One Night in New York is the first musical by Tipler, who once worked for opera houses in New York and Europe. And Tipler, who runs a local student-tutoring business by day, did it all, writing the show’s music, lyrics and book.

“I’ll never do that again,” quips Tipler, who’s currently developing ideas for more musicals. “I need to find at least one collaborator for the book.”

While the show was initially inspired and is set in New York, the 35-year-old Tipler credits D.C., which he calls “my gay hometown,” as the source for much of what transpires. “The main character is very much based on me, and when I was the main character’s age that all happened to me in D.C.”

That’s why it was important to Tipler to premiere the show here, featuring local actors and a local director and choreographer, Craig Cipollini from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. He also wanted to make sure to give back, so all ticket sales from the Tuesday, July 23, performance will go to benefit Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL).

“I don’t know if it’s a gay musical that you would bring your grandmother to,” Tipler says of his show, “but certainly you could bring a straight friend to it. I think it’s more campy than crude.”

Remaining shows of One Night in New York are Tuesday, July 23, at 6:30 p.m., Friday, July 26, at 10:15 p.m., and Saturday, July 27, at 5:45 p.m. GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets to this and all Fringe shows are $17, plus a one-time purchase of a $7 Fringe button. Call 866-811-4111 or visit capitalfringe.org.

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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