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Maybe he watched Moonstruck one too many times, but playwright Vincent Amelio’s How Alfo Learned to Love is about as satisfying as cold pizza. Like the appealing 1987 film, Alfo involves a thirtysomething baker who finds true love. But here the premise is as soggy as old cannoli: The title character, played by Christian Thom, has been playing the field and needs a nudge in order to commit. This he receives courtesy of Grandpa (Armen Garo), who is omnipresent despite the fact that he is deceased, an apparition caught between Heaven and Hell until he teaches his grandson “how to love one woman,” as he puts it.
Making matters worse is a conceit that has the grandfather feeding Alfo his love lines, which the baker instantly echoes more or less verbatim. Grandpa’s purgatory takes the form of a traffic jam on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Audience members might feel much the same way, except that instead of being stuck on the BQE, they’re trapped in a theater on East 59th Street.
How Alfo Learned to Love
By Vincent Amelio
59 East 59th Street