It is in the nature of memory to distort, however Shows for Days filters Douglas Carter Beane’s recollections of his teens in Redding, PA through a lens clearly. The play, at LCT’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater through August 23rd, is bright, shining and upbeat.
Car (Michael Urie) narrates and illuminates on a bare yet cluttered set by John Lee Beatty. (You’ll see what we mean when you go to see the show.) Beane’s play is lighter and much funnier than say, a Tennessee Williams memory play, but it serves the genre well.
In Shows for Days, Car joins the devoted coterie of players whom Irene (Pattu LuPone) directs, bullies, cajoles, mesmerizes and leads in a dizzying artistic passion. Maria (Zoë Winters), Clive (Lance Coadie Williams) and Damien (Jordan Dean) are lovingly caricatured. They are actors in a small-town, or rather a shrinking town. Their ambitions are Broadway; their reality is the abandoned storefront that is home to Sid’s (Dale Soules) and Irene’s community theater.
Under Jerry Zaks’ direction, the ensemble all give memorable performances. William Ivey Long has designed magical costumes for the characters and the characters they play in Shows for Days. (See a picture gallery here.)
Michael Urie does not let down his winning charm for a single moment. Fans, like us, of Patti LuPone will love Irene despite or maybe because of her conniving ways.
By the second act, Shows for Days really hits its groove. Car’s memory play and his remembrances turn more touching, lyrical and recognizable.
For more information, please visit http://www.lct.org/shows/shows-days/