My friends Steve Schalchlin and Jim Brochu are currently appearing in the star-studded off-B'way extravaganza, "The Big Voice - God or Merman" at the Actor's Temple on 47th Street in the heart of the theater district or, as some of us call it, Hell's Kitchen.
I saw it this afternoon and it is, simply, wonderful. I just sent an e-mail to our mutual friend Bev Sykes telling her that the best theater happens when the artists ass is hanging right out there for the whole world to see.
This is what Steve and Jim have done. It's personal. It's spiritual. It's excruciatingly human. It's also funny as hell.
I probably should've warned the boys that I'm a terrific audience. I was howling and snorting at all the jokes. I must be easy to pick out in a crowd because I'm pretty sure I caught Jim playing directly to me a couple of times.
I'm not going to post any spoilers about the show, these guys have had their ups and downs over the years, and it's all right there, bigger than life, with full musical accompaniment.
I wanted to hang out with the guys after the show and, in fact, Steve was kind enough to ask me to have dinner with them, before the evening show. I was honored and flattered, but I had to decline because I'd already committed to having dinner with my college roommate and oldest and dearest friend, The Kleen Kween, who lives right around the corner from the theater and whom it wouldn't kill to spend a few bucks to see this if he's reading this.
I intend to strong-arm everybody I ever met into going.
Oh, you may be wondering about the title I gave the show, above (God AND Merman). The boys talk a bit about their relgious upbringings (okay, they talk a LOT about it), but what struck me was what they both, eventually, came to understand. That knowledge of God is not obtained by reaching OUTWARD towards the Divine, but by delving INWARD to find the Divine that lies within each of us.
God is in the voice of Ethel Agnes Merman nee Zimmerman. God is also in the voices of my friends Steve Schalchlin and Jim Brochu.
And believe me, gentle readers, they and their show are absolutely DIVINE!