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|A CurtainUp Review
The Last Supper
This one of a kind "dinner theater" (the quotes are mine to emphasize that this is unlike any dinner theater you've ever attended) has moved from last year's sold-out run in producer-playwright-performer-host-chef Schmidt's Brooklyn home to a Manhattan apartment which accommodates twice as many guests (30) as before. In a season where plays often feature food as a major character, The Last Supper is the only one that actually promises to dish up a real sit-down supper. And there's your first Pirandellian conundrum.
Should you count on really sitting down to a four-course meal with Schmidt and the rest of the audience at the end of his retelling of the story of the women who prepared Christ's Last Supper or is this a spoof? After all, the " theater" where this will take place bills itself as a church and you will be listening to Schmidt, a "Universal Life minister" sitting in a church pew. Tickets too are atypical. While reservations are a must, you won't be paying for a ticket but will be asked to make a donation in a blank envelope as you leave. This pay what you will and as you leave system is designed to evade trouble with the IRS which has assigned a man named Arthur Miller to unorthodox venues like this.
Given Schmidt's extensive multi-tasking, things might go wrong and your donation might be for pizza instead of the promised four-course meal. You might even find a notice in your program -- not a Playbill but a more modest publication entitled "Today's Missal " (That "Missal" is highly recommended reading!).
And what about the eighty minute play itself? Is the biblical story in fact what this is really all about, or does it have more on its mind -- or less?
Rest assured that you will be asked to rise and join your host in singing a hymn and that if you peek behind the curtain at the rear of the last pew, you will see two long tables set for a formal supper. However, in order for you to have as good a time as I and my fellow guests did, you should head for The Last Supper with an open mind and preferably not knowing more than I've told you. For those of you who prefer not to be surprised, there's a part two to this review which provides details about the play and the food; to read it go here.
In case you share Mr. Schmidt's organizational and acting skills and live in an apartment or house that you would like to transform into your own churchly dinner theater, check out his web site (see production notes) which includes a detailed franchising plan.
Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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