Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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NY1 Theater Review: "Lucky Guy"

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Film star Tom Hanks made his Broadway debut on Monday night in the late Nora Ephron's final play, "Lucky Guy". NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.

"Lucky Guy" is a classic New York story. It may also have a limited appeal. But as someone who's lived through the world so expertly depicted in Nora Ephron's fine play, I found it to be a consummate treat. Tom Hanks, making his Broadway debut, is, of course, a huge draw, and he exceeds expectations, but thanks to a terrific collaboration on all fronts, "Lucky Guy" is far more than a star vehicle.

It’s the story of newspaper columnist Mike McAlary, who embodied the gritty tabloid culture of New York City in the '80s and '90s. The crazy, unbridled energy was raw and profane and addictive. It certainly hooked Ephron, who brilliantly managed to capture the best and worst of the era.

McAlary routinely made the front pages - the Daily News, the Post and Newsday at various times - but his meteoric rise to journalistic fame came at a cost. Hubris almost led to his ruin until a story out of Brooklyn turned him into a legend. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his columns on Abner Louima and sadly, died soon after.

Hanks delivers in bravura fashion. His McAlary is something of an anti-hero, a newsroom roughrider filled with vices yet admired as much for them as his journalism.

Under George C. Wolfe's inventively inspired direction, Hanks is surrounded by a phenomenal ensemble. Maura Tierney exudes a warm earthiness as McAlary's wife, Alice. Then, there are the good ole boys who seem to subsist on a diet of booze and cigarettes. Peter Scolari, Courtney B. Vance, Peter Gerety and Christopher McDonald, to name just a few, reek of authenticity.

The production comes on loud and strong, shouting names and events at a fevered pace, and I think some background would probably be helpful. Still, Nora Ephron, employing her trademark humor and intelligence, created a deeply satisfying work that has sprung to vivid life, thanks to the help of some extremely talented friends.

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