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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
In The Wings
A play about a play, In The Wings is set on a tacky, undressed stage where a troop of actors is rehearsing a new production. Scheduled to open in less than two weeks, it is still being rewritten by the playwright/director, Sam (a rumpled and frazzled Daniel Hagen). His wife, Julie (an angry Annette Reid), who has been serving as the producer, has fired the lead actress and is taking over that role. (In a parallel universe, Sroka plays a supporting role in In The Wings while his real-life wife, the sparkling Mariette Hartley, is the actual producer).
Are you following me so far? As it turns out, Sam has written the play about the real dilemma he and Julie have gone through in five years of trying to conceive a baby. (A dilemma faced by Sroka and his first wife). Playing the hapless husband (the Sroka/Sam doppelganger) is Will Schaub, as Tony, the handsome hunk from the soap opera world who is, presumably, the "star attraction" and resident prima donna.
Greg Bryan plays the "six Jewish doctors" that Sam and Julie consult. ("Can't I change the colors of my smock so you can tell them apart?" he whines). Sean Moran plays George, the Stage Manager who fills in as the principals take turns leaving the stage in a huff, and has most of the funniest lines. Playwright Sroka plays Murray, Julie's father. Mariette Hartley plays everybody else. (She adroitly juggles the role of the actress Mary, plus two realtors, one of whom is an elderly German crone, the mother/mother-in-law of both Julie and Tony, a nurse, et al).
Rounding out this compelling cast is the terminally perky Liz Sroka (Jerry's real-life daughter, who, by her presence, attests to the fact that Sroka and his first wife eventually overcame their fertility problems). Liz, a little blonde bombshell, plays Carolyn, a naif who feels it is her responsibility to answer every rhetorical question, and in her eager, bouncy enthusiasm to respond to every cue, whether it's hers or not.
Don Eitner, who directs this uniformly excellent group, concentrates on timing and guarantees that the pacing never flags. Even in the dramatically intense scenes in which Tony and Julie (and Julie and Sam) deal with their marital disappointments.
Because the stage is nearly bare and the costumes are suitably unobtrusive, nobody is credited with their design. But Lesley Fairman is credited with the lighting design. And rightly so!
This is a play that you will definitely enjoy. So, I sincely hope that my explanation of the relationships in this play haven't confused you. If they have, go anyway and figure it out for yourself.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide