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Weekend Theater Reviews 

Including All About Walken, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and more

Monday, Feb 12 2007
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 ALL ABOUT WALKEN So these eight Christopher Walken impersonators glide onstage, strutting and yowling and wearing bad wigs. Most are decent Walkens, and the best have mastered the piranha stare and elastic enunciation that snaps the ends of syllables like rubber bands. As the octet — Michael Bayouth, Lily Holleman, Amy Kelly, Kanzo Lee, Patrick O’Sullivan, Tara Prince, Brennan Vetter and Troy Vincent — shapeshift through a dozen familiar Great Moments in Walken (much of which involve violence or the threat of it), it’s clear that Walken, like Elvis, is easy to imitate but hard to top (though Holleman and Bayouth come close). Walken’s gleeful insanity is realized when director O’Sullivan challenges his band of Walkens to new Walken frontiers — an all-Walken Wizard of Oz , a loopy feminine spray commercial, a Q&A called “Talking to Walken,” and a threatening karaoke cover of “These Boots Were Made for...” By the time the Walkens have killed each other off only to rise as zombies and to groove through a gangly version of “Thriller,” my ribs hurt so bad, I felt like I’d been mano a mano with Vincenzo Coccotti. PAUL GLEASON THEATER, 6520 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Mon., 8 p.m.; thru March 12. (310) 663-4050. (Amy Nicholson)

THE GOOD STENO is a promising yet disappointing tale about sexual exploitation and harassment in the garment district of 1946 Manhattan. In the holding cell of a police station, we meet Gloria (Noelle Arzillo), who is being interrogated by a detective (Michael Oberlander). An engaging, spirited 16-year old, Gloria tells of how she dreamed of better things and took a job as a stenographer at a swimsuit manufacturer owned by the unscrupulous duo of Jack (Louis Giambalvo) and Morty (co-writer and director Paul Ben-Victor). Jack constantly made passes at her, while the bombastic and often humorous Morty pimped out his models to his buyers. Ultimately, Gloria’s outrage over her male bosses’ conduct becomes the catalyst in a desperate and violent act of defiance that concludes the play. Co-writers Leah Kornfeld Friedman and Ben-Victor utilize a collage of flashbacks to tell this story, but the format is poorly constructed and often confusing, a fault accented by a meandering script. The production features a few musical and dance arrangements that lack polish. Ben-Victor gives the standout performance in a good cast. THE HAYWORTH, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m.; thru March 25. (800) 838-3006. (Lovell Estell III)

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