It helps to have connections. Keith Huff has to think so, as he is one of the luckiest people on Broadway today. Who is Keith Huff you may ask? Keith Huff is a Chicago based playwright who in 2006 wrote a two character cop drama called “A Steady Rain” which was produced last year in Chicago and got good reviews. Producers Frederick Zollo and Barbara Broccoli got the script to Daniel Craig with whom they had worked with on Casino Royale – Craig playing James Bond. Director John Crowley came on board and suggested Hugh Jackman to portray the other cop in the “He said, He said” script.
The rest is history. Reportedly these two Hollywood He-Men are earning over $100,000.00 a week. Each. In a nearly sold out, twelve week limited run at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre where nightly, hoards of “Stage Door Joanies” wait outside the stage door for their idols to emerge after watching them onstage for ninety intermission-less minutes.
Daniel Craig is anything but the suave and sophisticated Bond. Here he is Joey the Irish-American cop. Best friend and partner of Italian-American Denny (Hugh Jackman). Denny has a problem with his mouth. Joey has a problem with the bottle. They have been friends forever. Work closely together. Protect each other. Have been passed over to be promoted to detective – three times. Denny has a wife, Connie, and kids. Joey is still single. Joey is polite while Denny is in your face. It takes a random drive by shooting into the home of Denny which seriously wounds his son to get the drama rolling. Once it does it doesn’t stop before we hear of killings and drugs and prostitutes and friendship gone awry and lots of rain.
The only problem is that we hear about all the events. Literally, the audience audibly gasps at the turn of events. We do not see them happening. They are told to us in individual monologues where the two buddies hardly ever connect with one another. It’s a clever device which almost becomes boring. Almost being the key word here.
Hugh Jackman is electrifying as Denny. A regular guy with a pent up anger which he readily releases without a moments notice. At first these two guys banter like Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton from the Honeymooners. But that soon passes as they begin to tell their own versions of the night that changed both their lives. Daniel Craig with a mustache, suit, tie and suspenders has the less flamboyant role but is extremely moving trying to deal with the fact that he is in love with his partner’s wife.
They are so close that at times they appear to be extensions of each other. That they are one and they same. Only different. A Gemini. A person with two radically different sides to their personality. It’s a very interesting way to characterize these two men.
If you can still get tickets, you should see these two powerful, live theatrical performances in “A Steady Rain”. Forget that the accents are not always precise. That Mr. Craig sometimes stumbles over a line or two. That their bodies are toned and seem to ripple under their clothing. That they are two charismatic personalities which sometimes make it difficult to believe in them as just two Chicago cops. Simply, they are two dynamic actors.
If “A Steady Rain” was part of the Fringe Festival and I saw these two guys I would have to say that I see stardom in their future. Well they are already stars and giving memorable performances in this bare bones production. Long may they reign. www.asteadyrainonbroadway.com