NY Mirror

At the Public, Elaine Stritch at Libertygives us Stritch limos, Stritch jeans, and Stritch marks as it romps through the life, loves, and cocktails of Broadway's greatest reigning broad. The script is a tad too pat, but Stritch—the male Charles Nelson Reilly—shines, even when revealing her deepest insecurities and messiest behavior. Her remembrances of chasing after Rock Hudson and Gig Young while running from Marlon Brandomake you wonder about the lady. (You do the math.) But she's a disarming kook, and you don't even mind it when she wincingly recalls a production of The Womenin which Gloria Swanson needed to have her lines fed, only to have the Public Theater stagehand call out cues when Stritchflubs. Even when doing wrong, Elaine Stritch can do no wrong. She's every Sondheimdiva ballad rolled into one leggy, foghorn-voiced legend.

They remember their lines in the newrevival of The Women—perhaps a bit too aggressively so, thank you. In fact, though the scenery is sleek and pretty, it's largely been chewed up by the end of the night. The production seems like the work of anxious drag queens—at least two of the leads are surely the male Elaine Stritch—and the kitsch effects are laid on so thick that the play sometimes seems like "a diamond-studded douche bag" (a phrase from the script). But amid all the italicized meowing, there can't help but be some stylish diversions, especially from Jennifer Coolidge, who's a riot—and not just because she once dated Chris Kattan, who's on TV with Jimmy Fallon, OK?


"I don't know anything about the news": SNL's Jimmy Fallon with "Weekend Update" colleague Tina Fey.
photo: Keith Bedford
"I don't know anything about the news": SNL's Jimmy Fallon with "Weekend Update" colleague Tina Fey.

musto@villagevoice.com

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