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|A CurtainUp Review
Falling Off Broadway
By Jenny Sandman
Granted, some of Black's stories are pretty interesting. He trained in Italy for five years to be an opera singer. When his opera career failed to materialize, he stumbled into Broadway producing and eventually produced eighteen shows. These included George M., The Impossible Years, and the revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
With the hits came the misses. And so, after his fifth straight flop, Black had a nervous breakdown at the Waldorf-Astoria. From there he went on to become a painter, a career which led to several solo shows on both sides of the Atlantic.
But Falling Off Broadway is not strictly about Black's career. His entire life has been a journey to separate himself from his parents. I'm afraid there's not much new or exciting there. Emotionally distant and sometimes overbearing, their presence shadows their son's life. As his many therapists could probably attest, every new endeavor has merely been another attempt to win attention from his mother and approval from his father. It's a common problem, and an old theme in literature, but in this show it becomes a little monotonous.
Black is a good writer and he manages to create something resembling a narrative out of his life. However, while this is an engaging story (sometimes), Black isn't an engaging actor. He's not particularly animated which makes me suspect he's a better producer than actor. For the audience, it adds up to a lackluster evening.
Director Craig Belknap is to be commended for doing a great job with the flat script. The production values are excellent. Several of Black's uniquely impressionistic paintings are projected during the show. They're colorful and vibrant. Too bad the rest of the play is so monochrome.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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