An updated revival of the 1940s musical Pal Joey is winning rave reviews from theater critics, most of whom are hot and bothered over Stockard Channing's performance as Vera Simpson, the rich lady who gets treated like a broad by Joey. The Hollywood Reporter called her performance “breathtaking.” But a new gay sub-plot in the play is certain to stir some excitement as well.

Joey is the night-club MC Joey Evans (Matthews Risch) who is ruthless in his pursuit to own his own club.

What's changed in seven decades? This is a far darker and seductive Pal Joey that graced the original Broadway stage with Gene Kelly. Kelly was a charming womanizer, while Risch is a dark figure, a sexual predator.

Also added back into the production are three numbers omitted from the original Lorenz Hart-Richard Rodgers musical score (I Still Believe In You, Are You My Love? and I'm Talking To My Pal).

Frank Sinatra starred in the 1957 movie adaptation of the show. That movie also included Kim Novak as good "mouse" Linda English and Rita Hayworth as Vera Simpson, Joey's strong-armed partner in the new club, Chez Joey.

But the most dramatic deviation in Richard Greenberg's (Three Days of Rain) treatment of the John O'Hara story is the introduction of a gay character. Nightclub manager Mike (played here by Robert Clohessy) who originally hires Joey and later works for him is now gay.

That's a real gasser, as your pal Joey would say.