Posted in aging, comedy about a serious subject, George Morfogen, joy, life and death, Richard Abrons

Living is about hope and joy

Janet Sarno as Mrs. Marcus, Teddy Coluca as Figliozzo, Bern Cohen
as Feltenstein (seated), and Evan Thompson as Grossman
in Richard Abrons’ “Every Day A Visitor.” Photo by Ronald L. Glassman.

Living to a ripe old age, as the somewhat unfortunate expression goes, has its drawbacks.

In Richard Abrons’ new comedy, “Every Day A Visitor,” at The Clurman in Theatre Row through December 14th, those disadvantages include bickering, monotony, and a diet too dependent on lentils and cabbage.  

Bob (Raphael Nash Thompson,) the orderly who oversees an old-age home in the Bronx, inspired by Figliozzo’s (Teddy Coluca) deciding to “be” Fiorello LaGuardia,  finds a way to liberate those in his care. Play acting at politics is part of his scheme.

Henry Packer as Davidowitz, George Morfogen as Stoopak, Teddy Coluca as Figliozzo, Joan Porter as Mrs. Levy, Raphael Nash Thompson as Bob and Janet Sarno as Mrs. Marcus at a home for the aged in the Bronx in Richard Abrons’ “Every Day A Visitor,” at Theatre Row’s Clurman Theatre through December 14th.  Photo by Ronald L. Glassman.

Bob appoints the melancholy Stoopak (George Morfogen) president in an effort to bring him closer to the other residents. Tilly Marcus (Janet Sarno), always game to play at anything, dons a hat and becomes Bella Abzug while Albert Grossman (Evan Thompson) eagerly takes on the persona of Alan Greenspan.

Even Feltenstein (Bern Cohen), the curmudgeon in residence, enjoys being Henry Kissinger.

Teddy Coluca and Joan Porter in a scene from
“Every Day A Visitor.”
Photo by Ronald L. Glassman

Thanks to this little scheme of let’s pretend, this
home for the aging is no longer dull. Stoopak’s laws include “Joy” and that no one of them should die alone. “Every day a visitor,” he decrees so that each of them would have company during a hospital stay.

Richard Abrons has written a sweet play about hope and community. Even in an end of life setting, there can be fun and the Stoopak rule of “Joy.”

The cast of “Every Day A Visitor,” ably directed by Margaret Perry, form a fine ensemble. Standing a little bit ahead of the pack is Joan Porter as Mrs. Levy, whose labor union duets with Davidowitz (Henry Packer) add a wonderful touch of harmony to “Every Day A Visitor.”

 For more information about “Every Day A Visitor,” visit them at Telecharge.

Posted in dying, family comedy drama, Greg Keller, Jenny Schwartz, Kate Mulgrew, Kathleen Chalfant, life and death, lurid, Mary Schultz, Vineyard Theatre

Alas, "Somewhere Fun" is Anything But

Dark comedy can be full of surprise and delight.

Unfortunately, Jenny Schwartz’s new “Somewhere Fun,” at the Vineyard Theatre through June 23rd, is dark and sometimes comic, but absent of any delight. A metaphor for life and death that’s so lurid and off-putting, “Somewhere Fun” threatens to bore. Its descent into dull darkness has a rapid trajectory over three thirty-five minute acts.

“Somewhere Fun” is full of clichés masquerading as whimsy and whimsy that  passes for deep thought. There is wordplay that amuses until it doesn’t despite the best efforts of the fine troupe of actors and director Anne Kauffman. In fact, “Somewhere Fun” features an excellent cast–including the brilliant and talented Kathleen Chalfant and splendid and versatile Kate Mulgrew. They and the ensemble work tirelessly to make lively sense of “Somewhere Fun” to no avail.

A pinch of fairytale, a sprinkling of Shakespeare, a soupçon  of police procedural, a dash of social commentary, and yet “Somewhere Fun” is just an unsatisfying stew.

For more information about “Somewhere Fun,” visit the Vineyard Theatre.