Exit Laughing After Seeing The York Theatre's Newest Exercise in Nice
The Encores series was supposed to be dedicated to reviving neglected gems, but it seems to have evolved into a series of Broadway-ready retreads of familiar titles. But the York Theatre over at Saint Peter's Church still cares about the truly lost shows, like its current resident, Enter Laughing, a perfectly nice, middlebrow, entertaining evening of theater about theater, rescued from total obscurity.
Enter Laughing started as a 1958 novel by Carl Reiner, then it became a Broadway play starring Alan Arkin, then a movie not starring Alan Arkin, then a musical called So Long, 174th Street in which Robert Morse was too old to play the juvenile, so they made it a flashback show, with Morse looking back on his awkward life as an actor turned druggist. And now it's the York's version, which retreats back to the original title, and since they got a young person (Josh Grisetti) to play the lead, they've dropped the flashback format and made it linear again (though they've kept all the fantasy sequences) and changed the ending. Got that?
Anyway, this grin-inducing production boasts Broadway vet George S. Irving reprising his two roles from 174th Street (most memorably one in which he tells Garbo to buzz off because Grisetti is busy shtupping Dolores Del Rio); Janine LaManna as an actress with a craving for any man with a nose, some skin, and basically, breath; and a very good looking guy named Rob Sapp.
Like I said, nice.