Theater Mirror Reviews - "Theater District"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2005 by Carl A. Rossi


"THEATER DISTRICT"

by Richard Kramer
directed by Wes Savick

George … Bill Brochtrup
Kenny … Liam Torres
Lola … Melinda Lopez
Ben … Barlow Adamson
Wesley … Edward Tournier
Mario … Neil A. Casey
Theo … Jaime Cepero III
Orderly … Neil A. Casey

Richard Kramer, a veteran television writer, director and producer, has written his first stage play entitled THEATER DISTRICT which premiered in Los Angeles with Bill Brochtrup of “NYPD Blue” fame in the lead role; the play and Mr. Brochtrup can now be viewed in a SpeakEasy Stage production at the Boston Center for the Arts --- West meets East and Television meets Theater.

THEATER DISTRICT is set in modern-day Manhattan in the neighborhood of 42nd Street. George, an actor-turned-restaurateur, and his partner Kenny, a lawyer, have taken in Wesley, George’s teenage son, on a trial basis. Wesley questions both men about themselves and their relationship: George, comfortable with his homosexuality, is open and warm whereas Kenny, who came out late in life, dodges the issues. After Wesley is attacked at school while defending Theo, an openly gay friend, his mother Lola decides it might be best if Wesley moves back in with her and his stepfather Ben --- she has begun to question her son’s sexual orientation as well as George’s influence; Wesley chooses to stay where he is, looking more to George for guidance than to his father. Mr. Kramer has written a breezy sitcom that turns into a thought-provoking soap opera with all of television’s built-in rhythms, one-liners and tense or poignant pauses and director Wes Savick keeps the gay-ness safe and easy to swallow; on the night I attended, the SpeakEasy audience happily ate it up. I nibbled.

Mr. Brochtrup makes a likeable if predictable George, dropping quips left and right, though Loretta Young never seems to be far from his thoughts. Liam Torres was a smug reader in the SpeakEasy’s ANNA IN THE TROPICS; now he is a smug Kenny. Barlow Adamson lumbers his way through Ben, the perfect stepfather (he and Mr. Torres should have swapped roles), and Neil A. Casey’s clipped, nostalgic Orderly comes off better than his hyper-camp Mario which is his TAKE ME OUT performance in a nutshell. Jaime Cepero III’s sweet iconography and unawakened body rhythms work against the grain of Theo who is sexually active and declares that he is already a “top”; Melinda Lopez is quite good as Lola, her natural hyperness evoking New York City rhythms compared to Mr. Brochtrup who smacks of the West Coast. The evening belongs to Edward Tournier, hands seemingly grafted inside his pockets, who beautifully captures Wesley’s confused adolescence as he straddles various crossroads; a good kid willing to adapt to his environment but which one? Mr. Tournier is so artless at what he does that he could very well have slouched in off the street without even changing his clothes --- may he continue such refreshing candor as he matures.

I think it fair to warn you that THEATER DISTRICT begins with a film clip of THE NUN’S STORY simultaneously played against a George-Kenny dusting scene. If you concentrate on the two men you will have the jump on me who settled for Audrey Hepburn and then had to catch up with the dovetailing relationships --- for awhile I thought George was Wesley’s father which, of course, blunted Mr. Kramer’s irony.

"Theater District" (30 September-29 October)
SPEAKEASY STAGE COMPANY
Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 933-8600

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide

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Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Theatre District"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2005 by Carl A. Rossi


"THEATRE DISTRICT"

by Richard Kramer
directed by Wes Savick

George … Bill Brochtrup
Kenny … Liam Torres
Lola … Melinda Lopez
Ben … Barlow Adamson
Wesley … Edward Tournier
Mario … Neil A. Casey
Theo … Jaime Cepero III
Orderly … Neil A. Casey

Richard Kramer, a veteran television writer, director and producer, has written his first stage play entitled THEATRE DISTRICT which premiered in Los Angeles with Bill Brochtrup of “NYPD Blue” fame in the lead role; the play and Mr. Brochtrup can now be viewed in a SpeakEasy Stage production at the Boston Center for the Arts --- West meets East and Television meets Theatre.

THEATRE DISTRICT is set in modern-day Manhattan in the neighborhood of 42nd Street. George, an actor-turned-restaurateur, and his partner Kenny, a lawyer, have taken in Wesley, George’s teenage son, on a trial basis. Wesley questions both men about themselves and their relationship: George, comfortable with his homosexuality, is open and warm whereas Kenny, who came out late in life, dodges the issues. After Wesley is attacked at school while defending Theo, an openly gay friend, his mother Lola decides it might be best if Wesley moves back in with her and his stepfather Ben --- she has begun to question her son’s sexual orientation as well as George’s influence; Wesley chooses to stay where he is, looking more to George for guidance than to his father. Mr. Kramer has written a breezy sitcom that turns into a thought-provoking soap opera with all of television’s built-in rhythms, one-liners and tense or poignant pauses and director Wes Savick keeps the gay-ness safe and easy to swallow; on the night I attended, the SpeakEasy audience happily ate it up. I nibbled.

Mr. Brochtrop makes a likeable if predictable George, dropping quips left and right, though Loretta Young never seems to be far from his thoughts. Liam Torres was a smug reader in the SpeakEasy’s ANNA IN THE TROPICS; now he is a smug Kenny. Barlow Adamson lumbers his way through Ben, the perfect stepfather (he and Mr. Torres should have swapped roles), and Neil A. Casey’s clipped, nostalgic Orderly comes off better than his hyper-camp Mario which is his TAKE ME OUT performance in a nutshell. Jaime Cepero III’s sweet iconography and unawakened body rhythms work against the grain of Theo who is sexually active and declares that he is already a “top”; Melinda Lopez is quite good as Lola, her natural hyperness evoking New York City rhythms compared to Mr. Brochtrop who smacks of the West Coast. The evening belongs to Edward Tournier, hands seemingly grafted inside his pockets, who beautifully captures Wesley’s confused adolescence as he straddles various crossroads; a good kid willing to adapt to his environment but which one? Mr. Tournier is so artless at what he does that he could very well have slouched in off the street without even changing his clothes --- may he continue such refreshing candor as he matures.

I think it fair to warn you that THEATRE DISTRICT begins with a film clip of THE NUN’S STORY simultaneously played against a George-Kenny dusting scene. If you concentrate on the two men you will have the jump on me who settled for Audrey Hepburn and then had to catch up with the dovetailing relationships --- for awhile I thought George was Wesley’s father which, of course, blunted Mr. Kramer’s irony.

"Theatre District" (30 September-29 October)
SPEAKEASY STAGE COMPANY
Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 933-8600

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |