Brooks Atkinson Theatre, (11/19/2003 - 11/30/2003)

First Preview: Oct 23, 2003
Opening Date: Nov 19, 2003
Closing Date: Nov 30, 2003
Total Previews: 31
Total Performances: 14

Category: Musical, Comedy, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Nederlander Organization (James M. Nederlander: Chairman; James L. Nederlander: President)

Produced by Jyll Rosenfeld, Jon Stoll and James Scibelli; Produced in association with Sidney Kimmel, John Morgan and The Helen Hayes Theatre Company

Music by Doug Katsaros; Lyrics by Doug Katsaros; Book by Dennis Blair and Digby Wolfe; Additional material by Jackie Mason; Music orchestrated by Doug Katsaros; Dance arrangements by Ian Herman; Musical Director: Joseph Baker; Vocal arrangements by Joseph Baker; Associate Musical Dir.: Ian Herman

Directed by Robert Johanson; Choreographed by Michael Lichtefeld; Associate Choreographer: Joe Bowerman

Scenic Design by Michael Anania; Costume Design by Thom Heyer; Lighting Design by Paul D. Miller; Sound Design by Peter Hylenski; Hair Design by Jon Jordan

General Manager: Theatre Production Group; Company Manager: Randy Meyer

Technical Supervisor: Michael W. Kelly; Production Stage Manager: C. Randall White

Conducted by Joseph Baker; Associate Conductor: Ian Herman; Keyboards I: Joseph Baker; Keyboards II: Ian Herman; Drums, Percussion: Joe Mowatt; Guitars, Bass: Blaise James; Reeds: Jack Bashkow; Trombone, Bass Trombone: Charles Gordon; Music Copying: Steven Alper, Jody Jarowey, Howard Levitsky and David Wolfson

General Press Representative: Larry Weinberg; Casting: Norman Meranus; Dance Captain: Danette Holden; Advertising / Marketing: Echo Advertising; Photographer: Bill Milne

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Opening Night Cast

Jackie MasonPerformer
Darrin BakerPerformer
Robert Creighton
Broadway debut
Performer
Barry FinkelPerformer
Ruth GottschallPerformer
Cheryl SternPerformer

Standby: Michael Gruber (Performer) and Danette Holden (Performer)

Songs

music by Doug Katsaros; lyrics by Doug Katsaros

ACT 1
Million Dollar Musical
French Chanteuse
This Jew Can Sing
Frieda From Fresno
Only in Manhattan
Starbucks
ACT 2
Comedy Ambulance
Jackie's Signature Song
I Need a Man
Perfect
Jew Gentile Tap-Off
Tea Time
Musical Chairs
Finale

Reviews


AP: "Laughing Room Only Feels Familiar"

Jackie Mason, we've heard this song before.

No, not the musical numbers that are spliced into "Laughing Room Only," your new revue that opened Wednesday at Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre, but rather the jokes that make up the comedy sections of this overly familiar evening.

After six one-man shows on Broadway, Mason knows his audience very well, and they know him. These folks savor his classic routines - and still laugh uproariously. Mason's perennial riffs are all present: the difference between Jews and Gentiles, his diatribes against designer coffee, a smattering of political jokes (there are a few new ones about weapons of mass destruction) and various politically incorrect comments on foreigners, especially the French and Indian taxicab drivers who always end up taking their passengers to Newark Airport, no matter where they want to go.

What's different about "Laughing Room Only" are the musical interludes that interrupt Mason's stand up. Musical revues used to be regular features on the New York theater scene, usually performed in small, swank rooms of luxury hotels or in Greenwich Village dives. They were topical, often witty and good training ground for up-and-coming, musical-theater performers.

Mason has assembled a talented crew here, especially an energetic imp named Robert Creighton, who not only can tap dance like the dickens but belt out a song in a pleasing tenor voice. The other cast members - Ruth Gottschall, Cheryl Stern, Darrin Baker and Barry Finkel - are equally eager.

Unfortunately, the material is not up to the performers. The opening number actually says it all as the cast sings about putting on "a million dollar musical for $19.95." That's about right in terms of quality, too. Even the minimal sets by Michael Anania look tacky.

The music and lyrics by Doug Katsaros are chirpy, peppy and generic. Occasionally, the songs border on the tasteless, particularly a double-entendre number for two wealthy ladies having tea and singing about their husbands playing golf or fishing.

And then there is the Adam and Eve number, in which Baker and Gottschall, as the first man and first woman, are dressed in naked body suits, complete with fig leafs. It's pretty skimpy and not just because of the costumes.

Director Robert Johanson pushes the songs and dances at breakneck speed, perhaps to cover up the feebleness of the material.

Mason participates in several of these production numbers and much is made of his nonmusical ability. That part of the show is funny - watching Mason sing off-key or stumble through a few basic dance steps while the rest of the cast does some serious cavorting.

"Laughing Room Only" may entertain first-time Mason listeners, those who have never heard his particular brand of comic patter. For the rest of his fans, the show has the feel of a summer-stock rerun.


AP
11/19/2003

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