Sunday, May 20, 2007

What's a Matter, You?

On May 21, 1977 "Gemini" opened on Broadway and went on to become the fourth-longest-running play in Broadway history.

The Celebration Theater on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood is presenting a 30th Anniversary revival and I went to see it tonight.

It's a raucous production of this show set in South Philadelphia. The college-age son of a very Italian Catholic family is visited by two very WASP-y friends from Harvard and Radcliffe. The show explores the clash of ethnic identities -- among other clashes -- and there are lots of emotional fireworks on stage. The screen door slams more times than I could count as different character race into and out of the backyard set.

Mindy Sterling -- best known as Frau Farbissina in the Austin Powers movies -- plays an Italian widow seeing the Widower Geminiani. It was amazing to watch her on stage. Even when she was in the background she stayed completely in character and often added to the proceedings simply by moving her eyebrow or lips.

But Stephanie Faracy completely stole the show as Bunny Weinberger, the boozy, brassy Irish-woman-who-used-to-be-married-to-a-Jewish-man next door neighbor. It's a great, juicy role and she milked it to the hilt and had the audience in the palm of her hand. That's her in the show poster above -- the character is Irish, but the food is Italian.

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