STUDIO 54 has its 54 Below and now 59E59 has 59 Above where the very talented Penny Fuller is appearing in this one act, hard to remember title, sixty minute, almost one woman chamber-cum-cabaret musical “13 Things about Ed Carpolotti” written by Barry Kleinbort (Book, Lyrics and Music) based on a monologue that is part of THREE VIEWINGS, an evening of three monologues by Jeffrey Hatcher.
59E59 has magically and smartly transformed Theatre C - the smallest of its spaces into a mini-Metropolitan room where the once claustrophobic space now has small, intimate tables for four that will enable you to order drinks from the bar and enjoy this tuneful, romantic, O’Henry type tale as it unfolds in the very able hands of Ms. Fuller as Virginia Carpolotti who has recently become a not very merry widow.
Musical Director Paul Greenwood is onstage to accompany Virginia, joining in a couple of times in a theatrical way to make his presence in her living room make sense.
It’s a clever story with a clever twist of an ending beginning with Ms. Fuller going back through the years to reminisce about her forty year marriage with Ed (It’s surprising that she isn’t wearing black) who has died and left her with a slew of debts - to the bank, her brother-in-law and an apparent mafia man. I guess she didn’t know Ed as well as she thought she did. Or was she just naïve? And herein lies my main reservation.
Ms. Fuller is a charmer, an excellent actress with a fine singing voice. But she is just too smart. She comes across as much too sophisticated and well, smart. I never bought the fact that she could have been so easily fooled. Now Betty White has the naïve quality down pat that would make this a stellar performance for Ms. Fuller and I believe she could easily adjust.
But it is what it is as directed by Mr. Kleinbort and I am not the director. It’s just an observation.
Ms. Fuller handles the various voices that she is called on to use very well, supplying humor particularly when singing a song about Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin and changing her moods spontaneously to tell this touching and heartwarming story.
It should have a great after life with the many actresses of a certain age ready to take on the challenge of performing this off-beat, sweet tale which might simply be called THE LIST.
Go with a loved one, celebrate your time together over a cocktail and enjoy the wonderful gifts of Penny Fuller.
www.59e59.org TICKETS $25.00 through DEC. 30th
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