555 N. Third St.
Burbank, CA 91502
There is no way John Morogiello's comedy about the internal drama at a nonprofit theater's literary office should be interesting. After his bushy-tailed new intern insists a script cut he made actually does work, burned-out dramaturge Jim (well-played by Louis Lotorto) bellows, "That is in here!" before motioning to their hole of an office. "No one in their right mind would put this onstage!" But thanks to self-deprecating winks like that, polished performances and the swift click of director Andrew Barnicle's pacing, the show is engaging and funny -- even if it does cater primarily to longtime theatergoers, who will catch the references and jokes. (One of the most touche takedowns is Jim's monologue on the mentality behind plotting regional theaters' season lineups.) Yes, initially the first act drags. But Morogiello's focus on the relationships lifts the play beyond the sort of insider-y piece theater professionals pass around among themselves. "Issues are a trap," a character says. "[Audiences] want relationships." Given the inevitability of the blow to the head Jim receives in the second act, the heart-wrenching intensity of his response is surprising -- and a reminder that Morogiello is right. There also are nice, non-showy turns by Peggy Goss as the coddled playwright and Brian Ibsen as an ambitious general manager.
Sat., Aug. 11, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Starts: Aug. 11. Continues through Sept. 2, 2012