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A CurtainUp Review
In Being Audrey, Transport Group Theatre Company's new musical making its premiere at The Connelly Theatre, playwright James Hindman and composer/lyricist Ellen Weiss imagine how a woman in crisis might seek comfort in picturing herself as the glamorous actress.
Claire Stark is a New Yorker lives who lives with her wealthy husband in a Fifth Avenue apartment not far from Tiffany's. When her husband collapses and is taken to the emergency room, she retreats into a Hepburn-inspired fantasy that takes her through many of the actress's classic films: Roman Holiday, Funny Face, Love in the Afternoon, Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Jack Cummings III directs a cast of seasoned professionals, from Cheryl Stern, who plays the Audrey-channeling Claire to Brian Sutherland, who is Claire's morphing romantic interest, a man arbitrarily named "Fred." Even journalist, novelist and producer Dominick Dunne joins the cast as the unseen narrator.
So what is it that makes Being Audrey seem so amateurish? Perhaps it is simply that no one can be Audrey or the polished men who surrounded her. Those who try can end up looking dumpy, clumsy and inadequate.
But that's not the only hurdle Being Audrey has to leap. The play depends on an audience that not only has an almost obsessive interest in Hepburn but one that has seen and remembered her major motion pictures. All others will be left out in the cold.
The dozen songs Weiss has written for the show are adequate but not particularly memorable, although "Being Audrey" does have a bit of a bang. There's not much of a set, but there are lots of hanging curtains and props pushed on and off the stage. It all moves with a speed that borders on frenzy. Fortunately, choreographer Scott Rink keeps the actors from bumping into each other.
Watching Being Audrey reminds one of sitting in a high school auditorium watching youthful thespians trying to perform in roles beyond their abilities. They have bucketfuls of energy, but they're just not up to the job. Anyone interested in seeing the magic of the real Audrey Hepburn should stay home and rent a few of her films.