There is a feeble attempt at comedy being made at the Peter J. Sharp Theater where “It Must Be Him” has opened with a cast of twelve under the direction of Daniel Kutner and written by Kenny Solms, co-creator and writer of the “Carol Burnett Show”. Even an appearance by Ms. Burnett couldn’t save this dud drowning in vintage humor and variety type skit jokes that sometimes land or more often land with a thud.
There isn’t much to admire about the aging and gay Louie Wexler (Peter Scolari) our anti-hero who sleeps with his Emmy Award as his newest boy toy Scott (Patrick Cummings) won’t. Louie is negative in the extreme, depressed and whines and complains that he hates LA and his life all the while trying to finish up his latest screenplay that is having a reading that night.
A man of a certain age, Louie Wexler had great success early on but the muses have fled most likely tired of his kvetching and he is in danger of losing his house and his faithful Spanish maid Ana (a superb Liz Torres). Her rendition of the song “It Must Be Him” outshines the Vikki Carr version heard at the opening of the show. Seen through her eyes the show might stand a chance.
In fact, the maid’s story is funnier than anything else happening on stage and we wish she’d had a lot more to say in the 75 minutes allotted to this woeful tale that Louie spins.
A tale of his searching for Mr. Right and new success that his long time agent Ross (John Treacy Egan) who loves underdogs, says is just around the corner. If some changes are made.
They are. And we go from bad to worse. We see a musical version that is probably one of the most tasteless porn paraphernalia strewn songs ever performed. Special musical material is credited to Larry Grossman (music) and Ryan Cunningham (lyrics). This number does nothing to enhance their reputations. And then a gay Bachelor television show.
Peter Scolari does an adequate job with the material but unfortunately singing is not one of his specialties. He does better bantering with his dead parents – the lovely Alice Playten and Bob Ari who seems to be channeling Lou Jacobi.
The remainder of the cast play various characters – some more interesting than others and help move the elaborate set pieces around. Standing out in a few flamboyant parts is Edward Staudenmayer who is very funny and can really sing.
The surprise ending will either have you aahing or racing for the exit.
www.itmustbehimplay.com Photo: Carol Rosegg