Act One

Theater

Drama

Upper West Side

Until Sun Jun 15

  • $$$
  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Act One

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Act One

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Act One

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Act One

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Act One

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Act One

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Act One

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Act One

  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    Act One

Photograph: Joan Marcus

Act One

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ACT ONE is a tedious slog. My 2:00 matinee got out at 5:25. The actors really try but James Lapine's script hobbles them at every turn with endless narration, jokes that fail, names that are dropped without context. I've read Moss Hart's bio, seen the play they are struggling to create, know about the famous characters but even so, the missed opportunities kept piling up. How can you have Dorothy Parker leaving a party sober and without a quip? Tony Shalhoub (great in LEND ME A TENOR) plays so many roles that they run together. Which one is he supposed to be now-Moss? His father? George Kauffmann? 

It is surprising that a play about a witty playwright could be so morose. As an audience member, the irony of a failed play about a failed play only goes so far to amuse. There were only appreciative laughter from the audience for MONK impersonations. If you cut this play in half, it could be appropriate for high school drama classes. It is absolutely not ready to be in front of audiences. If we were in a restaurant, I would have sent this back to the kitchen.

Two Stars for the set and the young actors who work hard for nothing.


This was one of the worst plays I have ever seen. It's a navel-gazing narrative about... writing a screenplay. The actors did the best they could with a emotionally barren script. The stage design was really impressive, to the point where it might have gotten in the way of a play which offered something to get in the way of. I am amazed that such a self-conscious piece of work could be written about the process of creating a story, about questioning and refining a screenplay, without, apparently, its authors taking a step back and performing a similar analysis.