Tag Archives: Broadway debut

F’ing hilarious

A lot of TV and movie stars are treading the Broadway boards this year.

Daniel Radcliffe.  Chris Noth.  Frances McDormand.  Keifer Sutherland.  Edie Falco.  Chris Rock.

That’s right — Chris Rock.

His name kinda jumps right off of the list….or it did for me.  I never expected to see Chris Rock on Broadway.  But once it was announced, I knew I would attend his show, regardless.  It was a must see.

Last night was the night.  The play?  The Motherf’ker in the Hat.

Yep….that kinda sounds like a play Chris Rock would be in.  And it is as funny as you would expect, too.

The subject matter is dark.  Chris and Bobby Cannavale are addicts in recovery.  Chris has been clean for 15 years and is Bobby’s sponsor.  Both men are in relationships that intertwine in complex, hilarious and often dangerous ways.

Bobby is brilliant on stage, a comic dynamo that drives the play.  Elizabeth Rodriguez, who portrays Bobby’s girlfriend — also an addict — meets him beat for beat.  When the two of them go at it — and, boy, do they go at it — it’s an amazing thing to watch.

Chris, in his stage debut, is a bit wooden.  You can see him thinking really hard about what he is doing.  A fight between he and Bobby is particularly funny because the choreography is so exacting. [Hit him here.  Roll over.   Grab the gun.  Sit up.  Look stage right.]

But Chris is still funny in the show because he is Chris — a strong stage presence that holds his own amongst his more experienced castmates.  He is more successful on Broadway than most first-time TV and movie stars because he is big and sure and boldly himself.

Who is the motherf’ker in the hat?

Oh, I can’t tell you that.  It’s so much fun finding out for yourself.

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High note

Every year, movie actors come to Broadway to explore their craft, and Broadway welcomes them with open arms (to exploit their popularity and sell tickets).

Hey, we all know it’s true.

How many stars of movie and television have made their ‘Broadway debut’ years into their careers and gotten lackluster reviews?

Sadly, Broadway often comes out on top in this equation. Audiences will still fill the seats, even if the movie actor isn’t all that good. Let’s face it — we love a train wreck as much as a triumph, and add a celebrity and some Milk Duds to the carnage, and…

That’s entertainment!

Luckily, the revival of “Lend Me a Tenor” on Broadway, which is loaded with actors you know and love from movies and television, leaves no blood on the Great White Way.  Just lots and lots of laughs.

How refreshing to see this great comedy played to its fullest potential!

And while the audience in attendance last night no doubt expected great things from Tony Shaloub (“Monk”) and Anthony LaPaglia (“Without a Trace”), they saved the standing ovation for Justin Bartha, formerly known as the underused groom in “The Hangover” and Nicolas Cage’s assistant with the funny one-liners  in the “National Treasure” movies.

Now?

Call him a Tony nominee.