Helen Hayes Theatre, (9/28/2006 - 11/26/2006)

First Preview: Sep 19, 2006
Opening Date: Sep 28, 2006
Closing Date: Nov 26, 2006
Total Previews: 10
Total Performances: 70

Category: Special, Puppets, Solo, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Martin Markinson and Donald Tick

Produced by Roger Alan Gindi, Stewart F. Lane, Bonnie Comley, Dan Whitten, Herbert Goldsmith Productions, Inc., Ken Grossman, Bob Silver, Rhonda Silver, Michael A. Jenkins, Dallas Summer Musicals, Inc. and WetRock Entertainment; Associate Producer: Jamie deRoy

World Premier presented in 2004 by Atlantic Theater Company; Presented in 2006 by Colony Theatre and The American Repertory Theatre (Robert Woodruff, Artistic Director; Robert J. Orchard, Executive Director)

Written by Jay Johnson; Conceived by Jay Johnson, Murphy Cross and Paul Kreppel; Original Music by Michael Andreas

Directed by Murphy Cross and Paul Kreppel

Scenic Design by Beowulf Boritt; Lighting Design by Clifton Taylor; Sound Design by David Gotwald; Associate Scenic Design: Jo Winiarski; Assistant Scenic Design: Jessie Moore; Assistant Lighting Design: Nicholas Phillips and Steve O'Shea

General Manager: Gindi Theatrical Management; Company Manager: A. Scott Falk

Production Manager: Robert G. Mahon III and Jeff Wild; Production Stage Manager: Lori Ann Zepp

Press Representative: O&M Co. and Origlio/Miramontez Co.; Advertising: Serino Coyne, Inc.; Marketing: HHC Marketing; Photographer: Ed Krieger and Carol Rosegg

Opening Night Cast

Jay Johnson

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

winner 2007 Best Special Theatrical Event [winner] 

Produced by Roger Alan Gindi, Stewart F. Lane, Bonnie Comley, Dan Whitten, Herbert Goldsmith Productions, Inc., Ken Grossman, Bob Silver, Rhonda Silver, Michael A. Jenkins, Dallas Summer Musicals, Inc. and WetRock Entertainment

Reviews


AP: "Jay Johnson throws his voice on Broadway"

If the chatty tennis ball doesn't get to you, the over-exuberant monkey (named Darwin) humming a Sondheim standard ("Send In the Clowns") will definitely make you a true believer.

The man who gives "voice" to both is a still boyish, shaggy-haired Texan who had a modicum of fame on the late 1970s TV sitcom "Soap," appearing with a cheeky puppet named Bob. Since then, he has played all over the country including a gig with this current show off-Broadway in 2004.

Now "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only!" has made the leap to Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre with those splendid ~ and often hilarious - voices intact.

Johnson is a champion of the often disparaged art of ventriloquism. Disparaged and often demonized, according to Johnson, who says the practice of throwing your voice could get you killed in ancient times. An instrument of the devil, perhaps?

His amiable, sometimes rambling show is part history lesson, part autobiography and part giddy entertainment, most notably when Johnson's puppets are allowed to take center stage.

They include Amigo, a sock-puppet snake; a vulture named Nethernore who sings his own roadkill version of "My Way"; an impish, moonfaced lad named Squeaky; the obnoxious Bob; and, of course, that showtune-singing simian.

There is something professorial about Johnson's lecture-like approach to the evening. He throws a lot of information at the audience as he prowls the small Helen Hayes stage covered by designer Beowulf Borit! with trunks where the puppets are stored. A little editing would give the production more zip.

Johnson gets personal, too, talking with respect and affection about a man named Arthur G. Sieving, a puppet-maker and ventriloquist who was his mentor. He idolizes not only Sieving, but the man's creation, a puppet (dummy sounds too harsh a word) with the quaint, almost vaudevillian name of Harry O'Shea. His sweet memories are contagious.

Johnson's spirited defense of ventriloquism as an art form is gallant, touching even, but then the man practices what he preaches. At the beginning of the show, he boldly states, "I was absolutely born to do this." By the time the last puppet has been lovingly put back in a trunk some 95-mlnutes later, you will agree most heartily.


AP
09/28/2006

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