Unfortunately, I must lead with the laughter absent from Manchester, England,stolen by 22-year-old bomber Salman Abedi on May 22, 2017. This heartless...I don't honestly know if I can dignify him by calling him a man or even a person...detonated bombs as thousands poured out of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Evening News Arena killing 22 and leaving thousands of tweens and teens wearing Ariana's trademark kitten ears, sobbing and hugging their parents. Regardless of what I think of Donald Trump at the moment, I wish him, and the other leaders of the world, all the best of luck in combating the hydra-headed monster known as terrorism, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the surviving victims, the families of those lost to us forever, and Ariana herself, a beautiful, talented and funny performer, who deserves much better than a tragedy of this magnitude. My thoughts also go out to James Dolan, the CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, Mayor Bill deBlasio, and New York;s Finest and Bravest ,and I pray God will give them the strength and wisdom to keep MSG, Radio City Music Hall, and his many properties from coast-to-coast, safe from another attack on America and everything we hold dear. God Bless America, God Save The Queen, and God help us all.
Ooooooooooooooooooooooooookay, let's proceed to the PRESENT LAUGHTER, shall we? Noel Coward's 1939 comedy of manners has been brilliantly revived for a new generation with its VEDDY British 'tude intact and is now playing on Broadway at the St. James Theater at 246 West 44th Street. My CWPF Kevin Kline (THE BIG CHILL, THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM, YOUNG GUY CHRISTIAN, THE PINK PANTHER and more credits than you can shake a Playbill at) plays Garry Essendine, a self-important comic actor preparing to tour Africa, but not without being besieged by his long-suffering secretary, his estranged wife, a star-struck fangirl, and an obsessed young playwright. Kevin is the undisputed star, (I meant "CONSTELLATION!") of this show which retains its resonance today, although Kate Burton (his wife Liz) and Cobie Smulders (his secretary) capture the silver and bronze with true aplomb and professionalism. (If, according to some accounts, Cobie was the Canadian Debbie Gibson back in the day,this play is QUITE the quantum leap for her, and it couldn't happen to a more talented girl!) If Kevin and the aforementioned supporting cast members don't take home a few Tonys, there is no justice left in the world. I had the pleasure to watch this play in celebration of my birthday, and this was THE icing on the cake! (The salad at the Garden Bar at Ruby Tuesday on Times Square just a walk away wasn't too shabby either!)
I won't give too much else away, except by telling you it's in two acts with two one-minute pauses (And wait till you see how they fill the time!) and you'll hear some great jazz and see some great sets and costumes,and urging you to RUN, DON'T WALK to http://www.ticketmaster.com ! The title was inspired by Shakespeare (another dude who has provided Kevin with a lot of great material), but the play is all Noel Coward in his sophisticated British glory. The Laughter is VERY Present, and boy, do we need it now!