Have You Seen This Dog? A review of “The Play That Goes Wrong”

Have You Seen This Dog?
A review of
“The Play That Goes Wrong”
at the Lyceum Theatre
April 6th – 7:00pm

When I saw The Play That Goes Wrong during its first week of previews, I was approached at intermission by one of the members of the ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’, who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, asking me if I had seen a man with a yellow shirt I told him that I was wearing a yellow shirt to which he replied, “You’re no help at all!” and scurried away muttering under his breath.

At my second viewing last night, as a representative of the Press, I was reprimanded by another ‘Drama Society’ member for my scarf/tie was “Inappropriate for Theatre wear” and “Didn’t anyone ever teach you how to dress?” and followed up with other cast members apologizing to me and arguing with him about how he treats the American audiences.

Such are the antics before the show and during intermission contributing to arguably the funniest and most well executed comedies I have ever seen in my life!

The Play That Goes Wrong now playing at the Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street, NYC) is every door slamming, pratfall, missed cue, early entrance farcical comedy you have ever seen rolled into one and on steroids! It is nearly two hours of constant laughter, guffaws and “Oh no!” moments ever put on stage.

As I mentioned above, the members of the ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’, are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery called, “The Murder at Haversham Manor”, written by Susie H. K. Brideswell, but that play isn’t really important, as a matter of fact, after two viewings, I’m still not sure ‘whodunnit’ or why! It’s the performance, or lack thereof, of the play that is the point here.

You can already sense that things are going to get out of hand from the moment you enter the Theatre and see the crew, led by Annie, the stage manager, played with a subtle brilliance by Bryony Corrigan (during previews I saw Nancy Zamit who was equally great) and Trevor, the company’s lighting and sound operator, played with expert daftness by Rob Falconer, (who spends most of the play in a box above stage right working lights and sound while texting and not paying attention),  who are puttering around on the stage fixing last minute set and prop problems. They even enlist the help of an unsuspecting audience member down front. Did I mention the completely inappropriate pre-show house music playing while all this is going on?

When the lights go down we are introduced to Chris, played with appropriate snootiness and skill by Henry Shields, who is the head of the ‘Drama Society’, ‘Director’ of the play, and who plays the character of Inspector Carter. He is obviously stalling for time as the crew is still readying the set, which keeps falling apart as quickly as they can fix it.

From here it gets crazy, so pay careful attention. Each person is three people. The Actor, the ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ member, and the character they portray in “The Murder at Haversham Manor”. Got it? Ok. Moving on…

The play within a play opens with Jonathan playing Charles Haversham, (played with deafening subtlety by Greg Tannahill, the worst corpse ever) who is dead (?) being discovered in his study at his engagement party by Robert (the purposefully overacted, pompously riotous, and agile Henry Lewis) playing Thomas Colleymoore, Charles’ best friend, and Dennis (daftly played by Jonathan Sayer) playing Perkins, Charles’ manservant, who can’t remember his lines and shouts most of them.

After discovering the body they try to figure out the best way to break the news to Sandra (delightfully hammed up and overplayed by Charlie Russell) playing Florence Colleymoore, Charles’ fiancè and Thomas’ sister who has also been having an affair with Max (who as portrayed with calculated silliness by Dave Hearnplaying Cecil Haversham ( who gets distracted by audience laughter and applause), Charles’ brother (as well as Arthur the Gardener).

Confused? GOOD! That’s how it’s supposed to be. But it’s not about who plays whom – it’s about the timing. TIMING IS EVERYTHING and it has never been better timed than by this group of actors. While what goes wrong, and I refuse to spoil it for you here, seems to be a sequence of random events ‘just happening’ they are, in reality, a series of perfectly staged ‘accidents’. What impressed me most is that there is nothing happening on that stage that isn’t planned down to the precise moment of execution by this amazing cast. In addition, the physical humor and the agility of the actors getting slammed by doors and trays plus the acrobatics perpetrated by all, including some of the, shall we say, heftier actors, is a thing of beauty as well. Combine that with the acting, overacting, missed cues, forgotten lines, and pratfalls and you have the audience laughing non-stop through both acts and remembering The Play That Goes Wrong long after the curtain (and more) comes down.

In The Play That Goes Wrong whatever can go wrong does go wrong and boy, does every second of it feel so right!


I would like to also mention that this all comes together under the expert Direction of Mark Bell, featuring a beautiful and perfect set design by Nigel Hook, with lighting design by Ric Mountjoy, sound design by Andy Johnson (with special thanks to Duran, Duran) original music by Rob Falconer; the real production stage manager, Matt DiCarlo, and exquisite period costume design by Roberto Surace.

Last but not least, a huge shout-out to J.J. Abrams who, on a rare night off from filming Star Wars in London, asked to see some original English theatre and fell so much in love with this play that he decided to bring it here to the Colonies for all of us to enjoy!

Thank you J.J.!

Oh… I almost forgot…

The Play That Goes Wrong (Running Time: 2 hours including one intermission) stars the original Olivier Award winning West End cast featuring Rob Falconer, Dave Hearn, Henry Lewis, Charlie Russell, Jonathan SayerHenry Shields, Greg Tannahill and Nancy Zamit.  (Bryony Corrigan was on for Nancy Zamit at this reviewed show).

Produced by Kevin McCollum, J. J. Abrams, Kenny Wax, Stage Presence Ltd. and Catherine Schreiber.

Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, The Play That Goes Wrong is a riotous comedy about the theatre. The play introduces The ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong…does, as the accident prone thespians battle on against all the odds to get to their final curtain call.

The Play That Goes Wrong is playing at The Lyceum Theatre – 149 West 45th Street, in New York, NY. For tickets call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or 800-447-7400, or purchase them online.

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Video Interview: Alec Mapa “America’s Gaysian Sweatheart”

I was SO happy to be able to sit down with “America’s Gaysian Sweetheart” Alec Mapa after his delightful one man show, “Baby Daddy” currently playing at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. Here is the video interview:

GO SEE THIS SHOW!!! Enjoy!

For more information about this show, visit ALEC MAPA: BABY DADDY”.

Buy tickets HERE.

• “Smart, hilarious and funny.” — Ellen DeGeneres
• “Alec Mapa is a freak. No one should be this talented” — Variety
• “Truly insightful, hilarious, pungent and persuasive… See it! It says something important about how we live today.” — Edge
• “Both funny and poignant” — BistroAwards.com
• “By turns filthy, fierce and fabulous, Mapa’s seemingly mundane anecdotes are an outrageous delight… utterly divine.” — Next Magazine

After selling out a short run in February, ALEC MAPA (Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, The View, RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Gossip Queens, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure) returns to New York with his critically acclaimed and wildly popular new show ALEC MAPA:  BABY DADDY.  It runs July 19 – 29, Thursday – Sunday at 7:30pm. The Laurie Beechman Theater is located inside West Bank Cafe at 407 West 42nd Street — at Ninth Avenue, accessible from the A,C,E,N,R,V,F,1,2 & 3 trains at 42nd Street). Tickets are $22 (plus a $15 food/drink minimum). To purchase tickets call 212-352-3101 or visitwww.SpinCycleNYC.com.

 

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Arje Shaw’s “MOOLAH” An Industry Reading May 7th 2012

On Monday, May 7th 2012, I was privileged to be invited to a reading of Arje Shaw’s newest play, Moolah starring Joe Pantoliano and Mario Cantone.

Directed by Charles Messina, (The Accidental Pervert), Moolah is fast moving, one word, Who’s On First type vaudvilian humor and it’s very enjoyable. Here’s what the invitation said about it:

MOOLAH tells the story of two con men who fall out of favor with the Mob.
Ant’ny is a dandy, sharp-talking shyster and small-time bookie.
His younger cousin Sonny, a gay hit man, runs a hair salon by day and moonlights as a contract killer by night. Sonny’s salon slogan: cut by day, clip by night.

This darkest of comedies reveals the fortunes and misfortunes of the two in a “Waiting for Godot” meets “The Sopranos” thriller which penetrates the core issues of love, money and sexuality.

These men are desperate.
Each one with a bounty on his head.
Each one conning the other only to discover they have only conned themselves.

I got a chance to chat with Messrs Pantoliano, Cantone and Shaw after the reading and they were wonderful to chat with as you will see below. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you’d like to become a Producer of Moolah and help see this marvelous piece go to Broadway by investing, please contact Mr. Shaw by email and tell him Elli at broadwaykingdom sent you!

Special thanks to Chinua Thomas for Videography.

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Video Interview with Mayim Bialik (star of Big Bang Theory / Blossom / Beaches)

Beyond The Sling is a new book on Parenting written by Dr. Mayim Bialik.

Dr. you ask? Yes, many of you may remember her as the star of Big Bang Theory, Blossom, Beaches and many more TV shows & voice overs, but did you know that she took time off to get a FEW college degrees?

All this and MANY more fun facts in this amazing interview conducted at the Cafe Blossom – coincidence? I think not! –
on NYC’s Upper West Side on Thursday March 8th at the close of Purim.
Mayim took some time from the wrap party of her book signing tour to speak with me.

Enjoy! (It’s even better in 720p so adjust)

To order “Beyond The Sling” (already in it’s THIRD printing) go to : mayimbialik.net/beyondthesling/

For more info on Mayim go to: mayimbialik.net
Mayim’s Blog: kveller.com/mayim-bialik
facebook.com/officialmayimbialik
twitter.com/missmayim

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For more info on Elli – The King of Broadway
www.thekingofbroadway.com

For more interviews & reviews go to
www.broadwaykingdom.com

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Video Interview with Psych’s Dulé Hill

Elli recently attended the amazing “On Tap” at Joe’s Pub February 1, 2012 6:30pm
The show was hosted by actor/dancer Dulé Hill.
After the show he got the chance to sit down for an interview.

Mr Hill’s many TV and Film credits are listed here on IMDB
Click HERE to see his Theater credits.

For more on Dulé Hill :
www.dulehill.com      twitter.com/dulehill      facebook.com/dulehill 

A HUGE shoutout to Joe’s Pub and Mark Allen for their help!
Check out the other amazing events at Joe’s Pub HERE 

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For more info on Elli – The King of Broadway
www.thekingofbroadway.com

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www.broadwaykingdom.com

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Boeing-Boeing at The Paper Mill Playhouse

“Boeing-Boeing”
Paper Mill Playhouse, Milburn, NJ – January 22, 2012 – 7:00 pm
by Elli – The King Of Broadway

Beth Leavel! Beth Leavel! Beth Leavel! If you need more reasons to go see  “Boeing-Boeing” at The Paper Mill Playhouse they would be John Scherer (as Robert), Matt Walton (as Bernard), Anne Horak (as Gretchen), Brynn O’Malley (as Gabriella), and Heather Parcells (as Gloria). Did I mention Tony® Award-winner Beth Leavel (as Bertha)?

James Brennan’s direction of this almost forgotten French farce will surely become the standard by which all future productions will be measured.

The original 1962 French version by Marc Camoletti played in France for 19 years. After being translated into English by Beverley Cross (Maggie Smith’s 2nd husband) it had an amazing run of 7 years on London’s West End; but when brought to Broadway in 1965 it ran for only 23 performances. It was however, made into a funny, if not forgotten, film starring Tony Curtis, Jerry Lewis with Thelma Ritter as Bertha the maid. In 1991,the play was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most performed French play throughout the world. “Boeing-Boeing” was revived in London in at the Comedy Theatre running from February 2007, through January 2008 at which time the London production was once again brought back to Broadway where it had a run of 279 performances.

Which brings us back to: Beth Leavel! Beth Leavel! Beth Leavel!

Beth Leavel in Boeing-Boeing at the Paper Mill Playhouse

Ms. Leavel’s brilliance in this role had me laughing so hard it brought me to tears. Typically Ms. Leavel is dressed to the nines in all of the roles I’ve seen her play, but here she is dressed down to become the schleppy, dowdy  and completely unglamorous maid, Bertha, playing the role as over the top as she can. (She confided in me that her “French” accent is based on the late Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau character). Ms. Level is loud and physical using every body part to convey her disapproval at her boss’s shenanigans, going as far as pratfalls and sloshing around on the floor to the delight of the audience.

Lest you think this review(er) is all about Beth Leavel (sigh), the entire cast shines bright as well.

Matt Walton plays Bernard, a suave and easy on the eyes playboy living the high life in Paris and juggling 3 stewardesses from 3 different airlines with 3 different schedules. Each one thinks that she is engaged to Bernard, until the 747 comes along to modernize the sky and complicate his life. When the ladies’ perfect schedules come undone, so does Bernard.

Lucky for him Robert, an old buddy from college (wonderfully played  by John Scherer as a nebish who comes through in a pinch), decides to look him up on his first trip to Paris. Being invited to stay there after Bernard brags about his  perfect arrangement , Robert is able to witness first hand how the system works and then helps to try and hold it all together when it all comes crashing down.

As the three Stewardesses/Fiancées, Gretchen (Anne Horak), Gabriella (Brynn O’Malley), and Gloria (Heather Parcells), bring their own brand of quirks and madness to the mix making this an outstanding evening of comedy and fun.

I strongly suggest you take a trip out to the Paper Mill Playhouse to see this wonderful production.

Matt Walton, Heather Parcells, Tony® Award-winner Beth Leavel, Anne Horak, Brynn O'Malley and John Scherer

Boeing-Boeing will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday until February 12th. Tickets are on sale starting at $25 and may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, NJ or online at www.papermill.org.

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www.thekingofbroadway.com

For more interviews & reviews go to
www.broadwaykingdom.com

 

 

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Video Interview with TV’s Larry Storch (F-Troup)

Elli was recently given the amazing opportunity to interview the iconic actor, Larry Storch.

Larry’s many credits are listed here on IMDB:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0832415/

The interview was held in an equally iconic location,
The Ed Sullivan Room of NYC’s Friar’s Club!

Both Larry and I had a wonderful time so I hope you enjoy this!

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Video interview with Jason Stuart

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For More about Jason Stuart including Showtimes & Tickets go to
www.jasonstuart.com

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Judy Gold – JEWDY! JEWDY! JEWDY!

Judy Gold – JEWDY! JEWDY! JEWDY!
Laurie Beechman Theatre – January 11th 2010 – 7:00 pm

By Elli – The King Of Broadway

When you go see Judy Gold, (the Emmy-winning actress/comedienne recently seen Off-Broadway in 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother), perform her latest show, “Jewdy! Jewdy! Jewdy!” prepare to laugh your a** off, and make sure you don’t sit in the front row…

Ms. Gold’s website says, “It’s about a girl named Judy…”  and In her new stand-up comedy show, currently playing at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, it really is. Ms. Gold holds back nothing when attacking the anti-smoking ads wth ‘Marie from the Bronx’, taking the kids to day care, or discussing how to boil an egg with her mother on the phone. Speaking of her mother, Ms. Gold tells us she calls her mother every day – just to get new material.

Ms. Gold’s humor brings back the Jewish comics of the ‘Borscht belt’ days in the Catskills – with some naughty words included. While giving us a hilarious rant about the daily goings on of a Jewish, lesbian, mother of 2 boys, with a loving partner and ‘Shwendy’ the hated ex, she still manages to engage the audience, calling out ‘did this ever happen to you’ questions. And she expects answers, which is why you should avoid the front row – unless you like to be picked on!

Using visual aids, Ms. Gold punctuates many of her stories with a projector and screen, showing us pictures of her two boys, her ex, her family, “That’s Jesus Christ over there”, and even her son’s Bar Mitzvah invitation list, with commentary on each of the invitees, of course. Oh, and let’s not forget Marie from the Bronx!

Judy Gold will definitely leave you laughing and wondering, where is David Fleischman?

Judy Gold won two Daytime Emmy Awards for her work as a writer and producer on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. She was a regular on Hollywood Squares and has appeared on numerous TV series such as All American Girl and HBO’s At the Multiplex. She can also be seen regularly on Logo TV doing her standup comedy and on TruTV’s “The Smoking Gun Presents: World’s Dumbest”

Ms. Gold will be performing Jewdy! Jewdy! Jewdy! at The Laurie Beechman Theatre again on Jan. 18 and 25, 2010, at 7 PM. There is a $25 cover charge, as well as a $15 food/beverage minimum (a full dinner menu is available). The Laurie Beechman Theatre is located within The West Bank Cafe at 407 West 42nd Street. For reservations call (212) 695-6909

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