Thru Feb. 24th • $35 #SR (student rush) • Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St. website
Bridget: Hey, Gemma. If you had $1,000 to spend on ice cream at Graeter’s, what flavor would you get?
Gemma: I’d DEFINITELY get chocolate. All the way. It’s the best flavor. You?
Bridget: Coconut Chocolate Chip. Norbert Leo Butz’s character was so exuberant about Graeter’s that it made me want to go to Cincinnati just to eat the ice cream. Do you think Theresa Rebeck wrote the character with that much energy or do you think Butz just brought it?
Gemma: The character of Jack was portrayed so well by Butz! I think it might have been a mixture of both.
Bridget: Rebeck highlights the differences between New York City and the Midwest. She suggests that simple and plain [Midwest] are boring, and NYC, with unexpected nights when Opera singers perform in the greatest of restaurants, is the way to live life on the edge.
If that is the case, why do you think Jack returned to the Midwest?
Gemma: I agree. The unknown can be truly frightening and some people prefer to escape uncertainty by keeping structure and holding onto tradition such as religion. Jack was raised in that environment and he broke out and tested the waters. While he had a marvelous time and appreciated the wild New York City life, he never fully appreciated the familiar comforts of home.
I thought that the differences between NYC and the Midwest that were referenced were a little exaggerated, but it also added some great comic relief throughout the play.
Bridget: What did you think about Katie Holmes?
Gemma: I thought her performance was okay… although she didn’t bring out that extra “umph” that Norbert Leo Butz did. I didn’t like the character of Lorna as much as Jack.
Bridget: The food in this show almost takes on a role of its own.
Gemma: Food was definitely a constant thing in this play. I don’t know how they manage it, show after show, because it really is a lot of food. After the play, at the stage door, we asked Norbert Leo Butz how much food he really eats on stage and he said, “Trust me, it’s a lot healthier than it seems.” which makes me think that at least they are substituting the ice cream and Cheese-conies for more healthy alternatives.
Bridget: Jack brings life into this sad, exhausted home in the Midwest It’s his frantic behavior that brings life, but also he brings the food that nourishes life. Lorna is dieting until he arrives and then literally decides to engage again with the food and with Phil.
Gemma: I guess, Jack symbolized life in this play. He woke up his family when he returned home… but, he brought home baggage as well.
Bridget: So, do you welcome family back no matter what?
Gemma: It depends on the particular family? Your family sees you at your worst and they’re still yours. You have to welcome them back, if not with open arms, just welcome them. All families have their own complicated issues, but they are still family and that stands for something. Right?
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