Thursday, July 06, 2006

Theatre Beat

So, went with the wife, some siblings and their spouses to Martin Short in Fame Becomes Me, a one man show with a cast of six. Now, I don’t usually go to the theatre, and this appears to be a lot different than most. I chose to go (and organize the evening) because I really enjoy the over-the-top entertainer that Short is.

Ed Grimley is featured very briefly, and Katherine Hepburn makes a shorter appearance. A personal favorite, Jackie Rodgers, Jr. is explained. Jiminy Glick is featured in a longer bit, as he interviewed a “random” audience member. I think that spot will be used for a celebrity in the crowd, as last night featured a person who is on CLTV, a cable-only local news channel. Once they get out of Chicago and have higher wattage stars, the bit will be funnier than it was last night, and last night it was very funny.

The other cast members, Mary Birdsong, Nicole Parker, Capathia Jenkins (who belts out the showstopper, as planned), and Brooks Ashmanskas, are all very funny and talented, at one point doing wickedly funny and accurate impressions of Jodie Foster and Renee Zellwegger. I am not sure if I ever saw another Jodie Foster impersonation, and I doubt I will see a better one.

Mark Shaiman co-wrote the show and does a good job as a performer as well.

The framework for the show is the life story of Martin Short, though very little was truly part of his life. That fact was drilled into a potentially skeptical audience by the appearance of Martin’s very Canadian brother who was outraged with his and his family’s portrayal. Very astute SCTV fans will see that Short’s portrayal of his own father is the same as Brad Allen, Scrapco Metals boss.

Short’s actual role in Godspell was referred to, as he played Jesus’ stepbrother in a funny song. Most of the songs are short and very witty, making the pace of the show (especially in the first half) very quick.

That said, I wonder if the typical Broadway fan will appreciate or recognize the many show-bidness in-jokes and (pardon my Roy Leonard), sometimes rough language. Or maybe I am just hopelessly out of touch.

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