The big play in NYC this Fall is It’s Only A Play—heavy on celebrity casting– F. Murray Abraham, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, Rupert Grint, Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally— and light on dramatic merits.
Some reviewers were less than enthusiastic, but it appears that theatergoers didn’t listen as the performance I attended was sold out.
SETTING: It’s the opening night party for Peter Austin’s (Matthew Broderick) new play and he, his best friend (Nathan Lane), the leading lady attired in a court-ordered ankle monitor (Stockard Channing), the boy wonder director (Rupert Grint), grumpy critic (F. Murray Abraham), and just-off-the-bus actor /coat check boy (Micah Stock) are anxiously awaiting the reviews from the producer’s (Megan Mullally) sumptuous townhouse.
PLOT: see Setting.
Nathan Lane’s ten minute monologue in the opening scene is hilarious. Stockard Channing is also wonderful as a newly paroled, over-the-hill actress. Matthew Broderick is a deep disappointment, but the rest of the cast is so good you (almost) don’t care.
Essentially a series of one liners, It’s Only a Play resembles Letterman’s Top Ten List more than a theatrical performance. But with pitch perfect timing, this cast of pros turns this into a memorable evening and a howling success, which is more than can be said (spoiler alert!) for poor Peter’s play.
NOTE: Nathan Lane is leaving the production in January to be replaced by Martin Short.