December 9, 2016

The characters in some plays — generally the not-so-good ones — leave your consciousness almost as soon as you leave the theater. Others stay a while, or never leave at all. I’m confident that the three central characters in “Street Children,” an affecting and saucily funny new play by Pia Scala-Zankel, about transgender youth living on the harsh streets of New York in the 1980s, will remain with me for good. But also, given the dark turns their lives take, for not-so-good. The play, a Vertigo Theater Company production at the New Ohio Theater, might be called a dysfunctional family drama, that staple of American stages. But the family here is not blood-tied, rather a collection of young people who style themselves the “House of Diamonte” and compete in the vogueing balls that were, thanks to Madonna and the documentary “Paris Is Burning,” briefly in vogue a few decades back. The ample cast occasionally strikes poses, and there is one exuberant dance break (spectacularly performed by Tamara Williams, who with MJ Rodriguez provided the choreography). But mostly the show concentrates on the scrappy lives of the characters, some of whom spend much of their time selling their bodies on a pier just off Christopher Street, once a seedy refuge for those on the fringe.