Saturday, February 7, 2009

RICH & FAMOUS ~ American Conservatory Theater

Last night Russell H, a friend from work, and I went to ACT's current production Rich and Famous. Below is a blurb from their website.

Playwright Bing Ringling yearns to savor the sweet taste of celebrity, and he's hoping play number 844 will be his lucky break. But on opening night, Bing slips into a nightmarish phantasmagoria that shows him just how wrong things can go. From the ingenious mind of John Guare, who brought Six Degrees of Separation and The House of Blue Leaves to the American stage, Rich and Famous springs to life with twisted humor, rapid-fire dialogue, and outrageous songs scribed by Guare himself.

John Rando (A.C.T.'s Urinetown, The Musical and Broadway's The Wedding Singer ) directs this newly revised, delicious dark comedy in its first major revival since its 1976 New York debut. Brooks Ashmanskas, who was nominated for a 2007 Tony Award for Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me and has appeared in The Producers andGypsy, takes on the role of Bing, starring alongside Mary Birdsong (Reno 911! on Comedy Central, Hairspray on Broadway), Stephen DeRosa (Hairspray and Into the Woods on Broadway), and A.C.T. core acting company member Gregory Wallace ('Tis Pity She's a Whore  and The Government Inspector).

My friend Adam, who saw it a few weeks ago, had expressed mixed feelings about the play. I now understand why, and why he chose not to see it again. First I hadn't realized it was a musical-- if a low budget one, at that-- and not a particularly good one. Parts of the play are funny, but a lot is really strange, if not weird. The production was up to ACT standards. I just have some reservations about the play itself.

On the other hand, the four actors playing multiple roles did an outstanding job. And there were several elements to which I could relate: the frustrated playwright with an obscure subject (one of my heroines is the divorced wife of George I as Elector of Hanover) and then the entire issue of staged suicide. Oh well, I guess it gives me something to talk about to my new therapist.

No comments:

Titian in the Frari (Venezia)