Reviews and Coverage

Washingtonian: Laughter on the 23rd Floor

0 Comments 02 February 2012

Young writer Neil Simon got a very lucky break when he and his brother Danny were discovered by comic genius Sid Caesar. They were writing comedy scripts for a summer resort when Caesar saw their show and hired the Simons to join the writing team on Your Show of Shows in the early ’50s. Decades before Saturday Night Live, Caesar and company were inventing political sketch comedy. The writers faced network pressures to dumb down the show, as well as a growing right-wing political climate fueled by Senator Joe McCarthy. Laughter on the 23rd Floor is based on Simon’s 30 Rock–esque experiences on the show.

Lucas Brickman ( John Loughney) the new kid on the writing staff, is clearly the young Neil Simon. He joins a crew of neurotic, high-strung, quick-witted writers trying to please both the brilliant, pill-popping star of The Max Prince Show and the network. As they bounce ideas off the walls and each other, their personal clashes are always clever and sometimes downright hysterical. This is an ensemble piece. Although only one member of the cast, Ray Ficca, is an Equity actor, every member holds his or her own to make the play work. Michael Innocenti is particularly appealing as the hypochondriac Ira Stone who never met a symptom he couldn’t love. Ficca’s Max Prince is fascinating to watch, even when he is self-destructing. His take on Marlon Brando playing Julius Caesar with a little Stanley Kowalski mixed in is worth the price of admission alone.

I admit that watching the writers onstage devouring bagels and onion rolls with cream cheese throughout the first act created an incredible appetite for this native New Yorker. If they offered real New York onion rolls at the concession counter during intermission, Keegan could make a fortune.”

Director Colin Smith recognizes that the cleverness of the dialogue is the play’s strength and doesn’t add a lot of stage business to interfere. There is a wonderful bit where Simon delivers a lesson on comedy writing. Two writers engage in a word duel to see who can come up with the funniest name for a Chinese Jew for a skit. And the set, a writers’ room decked out with a castoff collection of mismatched furniture, adds to the authenticity of the dingy surroundings.

-Read the Full Review at Washingtonian

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SOLD OUT:

HAIR

Book and Lyrics by
James Rado and Gerome Ragni
Music by Galt MacDermot

March 15 -
April 27, 2014

Contains nudity and strong language. Parental discretion is highly advised and children under the age of 14 will NOT be permitted in the theater.

The remaining performances of HAIR are SOLD OUT.

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2013-2014 Season

THE SUNSHINE BOYS

by Neil Simon
September 28 -
October 19

THE WOMAN IN BLACK

by Stephen Mallatratt
October 31 - November 30

AN IRISH CAROL

by Matthew J. Keenan
(loosely based on Charles Dickens’
A Christmas Carol)
December 13 - December 31

THE BEST MAN

by Gore Vidal
January 25 - February 22

HAIR

Book and Lyrics
by James Rado
and Gerome Ragni
Music by Galt MacDermot
March 15 - April 27

THINGS YOU SHOULDN'T SAY PAST MIDNIGHT

by Peter Ackerman
May 10 - June 7

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S RIOT

by Rosemary Jenkinson
May 16 - June 5

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