Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for August 2010
BY Brandon Voss
August 17 2010 1:45 PM ET
The last tenant of the Little Shubert Theatre was Rosie O’Donnell’s flop NBC variety show Rosie Live. Unfortunately, the venue’s luck hasn’t improved with Viagara Falls, a flaccid comedy by Lou Cutell and Joao Machado with direction by The Carol Burnett Show’s Don Crichton. Two wisecracking widowers and war buddies who pop blue pills to shtupp an aging hooker may sound like a promising premise, but neither the shaky actors — film vet Cutell, The Love Boat’s Bernie Kopell, and ’80s Tonight Show regular Teresa Ganzel — nor the dusty script rise to the occasion. And due in part to gaudy sequined jackets by legendary costume designer Bob Mackie, Cutell’s horny 77-year-old comes off like a retired drama teacher at a West Village piano bar. “On a scale of 1 to 10, this show is a 12!” raves Carol Burnett on the posters; maybe she thought “1” was best.
I’ll spare you my CliffsNotes synopses of Shakespeare in the Park’s 2010 selections, but suffice it to say that The Merchant of Venice and The Winter’s Tale, which ran in rep through August 1 at the Delacorte Theater, made for a magically memorable season. The biggest draw was seeing Al Pacino in the pounds of flesh as Merchant’s Shylock, but the MVPs of both productions were The New Adventures of Old Christine’s Hamish Linklater and out Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who both imbued their clownish parts with contemporary panache and wound up in their undies. Never butching it up, Ferguson made bold choices that always worked, even when punctuating a sentence with a broken doll pose that would’ve made Tyra Banks proud. With only Pacino presently confirmed to reprise his role, Merchant transfers to Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre October 19.