Dan Rothenberg
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Dan Rothenberg

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


“Coming out straight is a lonely road,” claims writer/performer Dan Rothenberg in his solo show Regretrosexual, currently playing at The Phoenix Theatre, produced by Bruce Pachtman. Rothenberg has been there and back again, and he is willing to tell the tawdry tale with wry humor and neurotic appeal.

This hour-long monologue focuses on a young man about to have dinner with his girlfriend to celebrate their six-month anniversary. Should he tell her that he used to have sex with men? The question is complicated by the fact that her previous boyfriend dumped her because he realized he was gay.

Backstory: when Rothenberg was in high school, he was Jewish, a jock, and an alcoholic. He sobered up and toured Europe with his best friend Justin, who then turned out to be gay. Well, since they were best friends, Rothenberg tried it too. He actually tried it for several years, but couldn’t seem to get over the “wanting women” part of his sexuality. And he couldn’t quite get into the “having sex with men” part. So, he eventually moved to Los Angeles and came out straight.

Rothenberg’s journey in and out of homosexuality is an overall funny story, filled with personal anecdotes and clever observations. He provides just enough background material to tell his story completely and yet economically. Gay audience members may be slightly annoyed by the use of the word “normal” when referring to heterosexuality, but overall the details are completely non-judgmental. And when you think about it… if only all straight men tried homosexuality for a few years, there might be less violent homophobia due to blind ignorance. (This reviewer is willing to help with that cause.)

Rothenberg has done stand-up comedy for years, and is casually comfortable onstage. Most of the show is delivered directly to the audience, which he does with charming ease, and his confidence, comic timing, and good looks make him a compelling performer. It’s fun to watch him “protest too much” about the gay thing as if desperately trying to convince the audience (as well as his unseen girlfriend) of the absolutely logical progression of his oddly unique life.

Director Louie Liberti keeps the technical aspects to a bare minimum in an intimate theatre, focussing the audience’s complete attention on the actor. The stage space is fully utilized, and rarely is there any lag in the action and/or momentum. Good work.

On the Kinsey Scale, Rothenberg is (and/or was) all over the place. But on a fun-meter scale of one to ten, he’s a pretty solid eight (that’s an internet 11)! This straight guy has an open mind and a good story. Check him out.

- San Francisco Bay Times


In a funny, sharply observed commentary of the strange byways that sexual confusion can lead to , Comedian/monologist Dan Rothenberg turns the usual coming-out story on its ear: He's trying to come out as straight. As he tells it, in his confused youth, he loved labels. Diagnosed as alcoholic, he was delighted and relieved that he's been given a name for his problems, enabling him to go into rehab and get clean. Similarly, after coming to Los Angeles with his high school-hero best freind, the friend came out as gay. Not wanting to lose a cherished friendship, he began to move in gay circles, where he got the kind of gratifying attention from gay men that he'd never received from women. He came out to his parents, enrolled them in PFLAG, and flaunted a gay lifestyle. Then nature reovolted. He faced the same problems a gay man faces while trying to convince himself that he's straight. Louie Liberti directs Rothenberg's finely articulated performance. - LA Weekly


How is a guy supposed to confess to his girlfriend that he's sort of...Gay? Not that he is gay. Anymore. He just lived as a gay man in a gay world for three years, before he realized he was straight. It's as convoluted as it sounds in Dan Rothenberg's one-manshow Regretrosexual, but in a short span of time, the actor/comedian pulls it all together in an incredibly compelling piece that illuminates several topics that deserve the spotlight. Rothenberg knows how to own a stage, so that it's hard to not pay attention when he's spaeking (it doesn't hurt that he's easy on the eyes). On his way to celbrate his six-month anniversary with the girl of his dreams, he addressed the audience with his deepest concerns:how to come forward about his past. Rothenberg reveals several layers of his himself, which make him an increasingly attractrive character. A former jock-turned-alcholic-turned-feminist, it seems like he's come to terms with all the skeletons in his closet. When we do get around to learning about his years as a gay man, and how it all came about, a whole new set of problems becomes uncovered. Rothenberg peppers his monologue with clever ironies, witticisms, and most of all, penetrating observations about sexuality and labels. As someone who experience both straight and gay culture from the inside, he's got a uniquely universal perspective. Why is it that society allows women to "experiment" and enjoy the sexual spectrum, but a man who goes gay once will always be considered gay?And where do you find a support group to come out as being straight? Rothenberg posesses a great comedic edge, so that even the heartbreaking issues, like comeing out to his parents and the going back in, are hilarious. Rothenberg delivers a powerful performance that brings up a lot of questions that he may not have the answeres to , but it's a good thing that they're being asked. - In Los Angeles Magazine


Dan Rothenberg's Regretrosexual is an autobiographical narrative about an ostensibly straight man coming to terms with his foray into gay experimentation. This hour-long comic monologue is a part confessional, part seductive tease. Unlike many diffuse solo vehicles, Rothenberg's amusing journey has a beginning, a middle and an end. He starts in he middle, as he is about to meet his girlfriend of six months for dinner, and plans to drop the bombshell on her that for a period of time he dabbled in gay sex. In his pre-homo days, he was an all-American Jewish Jock. During a tour of Eruope with his gay pal, he took the plunge and fell into the lifestyle, but eventually decided he was a bonafide hetero through and through. Or is he? Rothenberg is engaging and witty. Guys and gals alike will find him adorable, and his show imparts mildly challenging food for thought along with chuckles. It's perhaps less than a full-course meal of meaty theatre, but it makes for an easily digestable and tasty snack. - Frontiers Magazine


VINTAGE Neil Diamond is cranked up loud in the empty Lounge Theatre hours before the start of "Regretrosexual," the one-man show written and performed by comedian Dan Rothenberg. "Cherry, Cherry" and "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" seem to mellow him, getting him into the right frame of mind to relate his intimate personal tale to a group of strangers. "Neil makes me happy in the right way," he says. "It helps me to get to that most vulnerable place I need to be in to make the show work." In "Regretrosexual," the stage is a confessional; the only major props are a chair, a coat rack and a poster of John Travolta circa "Saturday Night Fever"; and the audience serves as a surrogate for his "best friend." Excited and scared, he informs the audience that he's about to tell his girlfriend that he is ready for a committed relationship. There's just this one little thing he feels he must add: While living in San Francisco, he went through a little "gay phase." Rothenberg, who began his career in stand-up comedy in 1997, developed the play with a three-pronged goal: He hopes that "Regretrosexual" can be a showcase for his talent. He hopes that it can eventually lead to a film. "And I have an artistic need to tell my story," he says. "I feel that people can identify with it." He has worked on the play for three years: "It's delicate subject matter, and it was an arduous process for me because I had to learn how to act. I didn't know how to before. I had to learn to loosen up and improvise it." The play, which has been running since last year, has received good notices from local critics (the show has not been reviewed by The Times). Rothenberg says the biggest challenge each night is not only getting up for the performance, but preparing for how the audience will react. (Some nights are slow; once only seven people showed up.) He and director Louie Liberti have worked on making his persona upbeat and "likable." At the end of the play, Rothenberg summons the courage to confess to his girlfriend and walks confidently offstage. He doesn't reveal her reaction to his confession, but will tell interested audience members who approach him in the lobby what happened. One clue: The "girlfriend" referred to in the play is in the theater every night. - Los Angeles Times


More often than not, when we think of waffling sexual preferences, we think of women (usually titillating and unfair notions of swith-hitting as seen on tequila-heavy episodes of elimiDATE and, more recently, in Marissa Cooper's absured Sapphic plotline on The O.C.

With men, however, bisexual flip-flopping sometimes seems limited to polyamorous Ren Faire attendees. Comedian Dan Rothenberg's new on-man play, Regretrosexual, deals with the prickly subject more directly. Before a big date, Rothenberg prepares to inform the woman he hope to marry that, well, while living in San Francisco, he, um had a three-year affair with another guy. Just what every fiancee yeares to hear! Espcecially porr Steph, who got dumped by a guy for a guy not too long ago. What unflolds, though, is a humorous yet ponted take on the graight-girl-dates-boy-of-questionable-sexuality-saga. Rothenberg, who wrote and produced the show based on his own experiences, shows us how the wacky flexibility of sexual preference affected not only him, but also his loved ones. Come out, so to speak, and see if it has a happy ending. - SF Weekly


Dan Rothenberg, who has played many comedy clubs and cabarets in SF and LA is now performing at the Phoenix Theater in SF in his one-man show Regretrosexual.

This is a hilarious, well acted show on a delicate subject--coming out as gay in college and living the gay life in SF -- then meeting a woman, getting serious with her, and then having to tell her about his previous life with other men.

Rothenberg is alternatively cute, funny, touching, and blisteringly honest as he acts out his various life stages. From mild gay crushes in high school, gay activism in NYC --where he meets a fellow gay activist, "Jason" -- moving to SF and becoming locally famous as a stand-up comic, then plunging into the SF gay disco/bar scene, Rotheberg hits a high not of comedy, and never lets that high note sag.

Rothenberg outlines every nuance of his previous life -- how he explained his coming out as gay to freinds and family ,and how he tries to explain the latest develpment in his love life -- with perfect comic timing. While detailing these various developments, Rothenberg has the audience howling with laughter the entire time.

This kind of show -- where someone is on stage every moment for 60 minutes -- takes a lot of work, and is clearly a labor of love. But Rothenberg makes it seem effortlelss with his high-energy performance and perfect timing. - East Bay Voice


Discography

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Bio

"Rothenberg possesses a great comedic edge, so that even heartbreaking issues are hilarious."(IN Magazine, Los Angeles)

Dan Rothenberg’s career in Stand-up Comedy began in 1997 and has taken him all around the world and onto national television. He most recently premiered on Comedy Central where he performed on “Live at Gotham”. Dan is most know for his highly acclaimed one-person play, “Regretrosexual”. This labor of love received rave reviews in San Francisco and continues to in Los Angeles. Most recently, Dan was featured in an article with Billy Crystal in the Los Angeles Times,

"Upbeat and Likable." (Los Angeles Times)

"Rothenberg is alternatively cute, funny, touching, and blisterinlgy honest as he acts out his various life stages."(East Bay Voice)

Dan was brought up in the suburbs of Detroit Michigan in the 1980’s. After graduating from college, Dan decided to take a one-year detour from his graduate studies in psychology and moved to San Francisco where he had access to stand-up open mikes. Grad school never happened but within three years Dan climbed to the top of the comedy scene working regularly at the Punchline and Cobbs Comedy Club. Working in San Francisco gave Dan the opportunity to perform with headliners such as Mitch Hedberg, Dave Attell, Jake Johansen, Brett Butler, Robin Williams, and George Lopez who requested Dan regularly.

"A funny, sharply observed commentary." (LA Weekly)

"This kind of show -- where someone is on stage every moment for 60 minutes -- takes a lot of work. Rothenberg makes is seem effortless with his high-energy performance and perfect timing." (East Bay Voice)

In 2001 Dan decided it was time to move to Los Angeles to get his comedy on the screen. He quickly landed a spot on NBC’s Late Friday. He also was a semifinalist in Comedy Central’s Laugh Riots Contest and again in 2002. Dan performs all over Los Angeles including the Hollywood Improv where he has shared the stage with Drew Carey. He also recently opened for Lewis Black at the enormous Hilton Theater in Reno.

"Rothenberg is engaging and witty. Guys and gals alike will find him adorable, and his show imparts mildly challenging food for thought."(Frontiers Magazine)