All That Jazz

Out hottie Luke MacFarlane flexes his acting chops as the alternately euphoric and tortured author F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Blank's production of The Jazz Age.

BY Ross von Metzke

February 20 2009 1:00 AM ET

The Jazz Age Luke MacFarlane Heather Prete x390 (The Blank) | ADVOCATE.COM

Both Gabriel and
MacFarlane are up to the challenge of running all systems go in
a relatively small black box theater. The play requires that
each actor roar above a three-person jazz band (the talented
Ian Whitcomb and his Bungalow Boys, who play throughout the
show) without going too far over the top. Their conversations
are intense -- Gabriel the able man's man while MacFarlane
channels the sort of feminine exuberance that fits him so well
on
Brothers & Sisters

and manages to refine it for an intimate space.

The third wheel, Prete
is faced with a difficult task -- make your trademark whiny,
sexpot southern belle sympathetic. It takes her a while (mostly
because her character is the least fleshed out of the three),
but when Zelda's mind begins to unravel, Prete lets loose -- a
scene in a mental hospital is particularly fine.

Sets are minimal, and
that suits the play just fine. Save for the occasional almost
bedroom tryst and a whole lot of drinking,
The Jazz Age

is really about these three actors. The play's abrupt ending is
a bit of a jolt and takes a while to swallow, but as with the
rest of the play, it goes down -- that it takes a bit of energy
from the audience to let it all soak in seems oddly fittings
... as if Fitzgerald and Hemingway wouldn't have it any other
way.

Tags: Theater

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