What Did L.A. Critics Think of Paul Rudnick’s New Comedy Big Night?


Wendie Malick and Brian Hutchison star in the world premiere from the writer of Jeffrey and In & Out, which opened in Los Angeles September 16.

Wendie Malick, Brian Hutchison and Luke Macfarlane in the world premiere of <i>Big Night</i>
Wendie Malick, Brian Hutchison and Luke Macfarlane in the world premiere of Big Night Craig Schwartz

The Center Theatre Group world premiere of Big Night, the latest comedy from Jeffrey and In & Out writer Paul Rudnick, opened in Los Angeles September 16.

Big Night, which unfolds in a swanky Beverly Hills hotel suite over the course of a chaotic Academy Awards night, began previews September 10 and will continue through October 8 in the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

Tony winner Walter Bobbie (Chicago, Bright Star) directs a cast that features Emmy Award nominee Wendie Malick (Just Shoot Me, Hot in Cleveland), Brian Hutschison (Smokefall ), Max Jenkins (The Mysteries of Laura), Kecia Lewis (The Drowsy Chaperone), Luke Macfarlane (Brothers & Sisters), and Tom Phelan (Hir, The Fosters).

Source: Playbill



The world premiere of Paul Rudnick’s new comedy-drama launches at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

Brian Hutchison and Max Jenkins in the world premiere of Big Night, directed by Walter Bobbie, at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre.
Brian Hutchison and Max Jenkins in the world premiere of Big Night, directed by Walter Bobbie, at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.
(© Craig Schwartz)

While it is clear that the recent tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and the regularity of mass shootings have weighed heavily on comedy writer Paul Rudnick’s mind, his distillation of these heady conversations about gun violence and mental health come wrapped in too shiny of a package in the form of his play, Big Night. A clumsy, poorly structured treatise instead of an organic, thought-provoking comedy-drama, Big Night fails to connect because the creators’ altruistic intentions are heavy-handed.

In a stylish Beverly Hills hotel suite, Michael (Brian Hutchison), an actor who struggled on the sidelines for years, has finally arrived at stardom, favored to win Best Supporting Actor at this evening’s Academy Awards. His new agent (Max Jenkins) keeps his energy pumped. His mother (Wendie Malick) tries desperately to keep the evening about her son, even though her natural impulse is to constantly turn the spotlight on herself. Michael’s trans nephew (Tom Phelan) wants Michael to win and use his speech to attack Hollywood for its lack of gender diversity. Michael waits for his big night, growing impatient that his boyfriend, Austin (Luke Macfarlane), has yet to arrive. The evening is filled with frivolity and light humor until tragedy strikes, turning what should have been a glorious night into an evening of bloodshed.

Rudnick’s quips are solid, reserving the best jokes for the young, hungry agent and the glamourous but self-obsessed Jewish mother. While creating a modern drawing room comedy à la Noël Coward, the play moves steadily along. But when things shift into a political drama, Rudnick appears out of his league. Rudnick usually writes live-action cartoons with very broad strokes, a format that is inappropriate for this political forum. Instead of translating the tragic events so the audience can identify with the people involved, all the characters turn into soapboxes, pontificating instead of relating. Though all the characters are on the same political side, they continue to explain to each other obvious talking points, with all the harrowing situations left offstage. The thesis that catastrophes make superficial events appear meaningless is valid, but Rudnick fails to turn this into stimulating drama. He wisely has main characters directly affected by the tragedy, but their reactions are awkward and stilted.

Because Malick and Jenkins receive the best lines, they shine the most. When Jenkins accidentally belittles his client’s significance because he’s a supporting actor, the moment pointedly illustrates how Hollywood translates worth. Malick is hilarious as the older woman spreading her sexual wings. She walks a fine line between being enthralled for her children and obsessed with her own needs, and never hijacks the humor. As the elegant Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Kecia Lewis spills out her lines like a grande dame sipping a glass of champagne. She’s always in command of the room. Phelan and Macfarlane are earnest, but they’re hamstrung by Rudnick’s failure to fully flesh out their characters. Instead, they’re always walking political platforms and their dialogue sounds overrehearsed. Hutchison, strangely, plays the most superfluous character of the bunch, even though he is supposed to be the main character. The script can’t decide if he’s noble or spoiled, so he winds up being a nonentity, and because of this, his performance is negligible.

Director Walter Bobbie does not handle the actors’ staging well, and so distills the tension. When the characters hover over a computer screen watching in horror, the audience has a wall shoved between them and the action. When the characters later process what has happened, they wander around the stage aimlessly. Visually, the designers exquisitely land the feeling of Hollywood affluence. John Lee Beatty’s set is a sophisticatedly decorated oasis above the city, a posh living room filled with expensive furniture and littered with flowers, gift bags, and champagne bottles. William Ivey Long’s costumes, particularly the sleek dresses for both Malick and Lewis, belong on any red carpet.

In trying to reveal the trauma beneath Tinseltown, Big Night misses its target by a mile. Rudnick may have a great ear as a humorist, but he’s tone deaf when it comes to the necessary pitch-black humor or absurdism that could have turned the evening into a more pulsating, award-worthy experience.

Source: Theater Mania

Big Night Crams a Lot of Big Issues Into 90 Minutes


Brian Hutchinson, left, and Max Jenkins

Brian Hutchinson, left, and Max Jenkins
Craig Schwartz
Big Night is one of those stage comedies that tries to tackle big themes but trips on the very glibness it purports to satirize.

Written by Paul Rudnick and unimaginatively directed by Walter Bobbie, it’s set in a glitzy hotel suite before and after an Oscars ceremony. Mike (Brian Hutchison), a gay Jewish actor, is an unassuming guy who still can’t believe he’s been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category (and on the same ballot as Matt Damon, no less). Mike’s hanging out with his agent, Cary (Max Jenkins), discussing his past career and future plans, when in walks his nephew Eddie (Tom Phelan), a transgender person and a college student in gender studies. Eddie wants Mike to use the podium to take a stand on the casting of a cisgender performer (also up for an award) in a transgender role. Cary strenuously objects, concerned that such overt political statements at a good-time event such as the Oscars will undercut Mike’s career.

Before this conflict can play out, however, Mike’s glamorous and controlling mom, Esther (Wendie Malick), appears and immediately secures center stage with her own announcement (following a lengthy exposition) that she’s fallen in love with Eleanor (Kecia Lewis), a Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American novelist. Hardly have greetings and congratulations been bandied about when news comes of a mass shooting at an LGBT center hosting homeless children. Thirty people, among them youngsters, die; one of those to survive is Mike’s buff boyfriend, Austin (Luke Macfarlane), who, traumatized, soon shows up at the suite to reveal all the terrible details.

All of this is jam-packed into 90 minutes of a facile script studded with one-liners, some more on target than others.

From the beginning the kindest thing that can be said about the ensemble is that it is under-rehearsed (maybe) and under-directed (for sure). Bobbie positions the actors onstage and they mostly stand there, looking awkward and shooting exposition back and forth. It’s as if they’re being directed for a sitcom, with expectations that strategic cameras will pick up some close shots to be edited in later.

The charismatic Malick comes off best in the first half, but her performance falls apart once the role calls for her to approximate a real human being. The bland Hutchinson is miscast, and it’s impossible to believe that he and Malick share DNA.

BIG NIGHT | Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City | Through Oct. 8 | (213) 628-2772 | centertheatregroup.org

Source: LA Weekly

‘Big Night’: Theater Review


Craig Schwartz
Brian Hutchison, center, and the company of ‘Big Night’

Wendie Malick stars in the world premiere of playwright Paul Rudnick’s latest, an Oscar-themed tragicomedy.

Tragedy strikes on Oscar night, splitting the emotions of Best Supporting Actor nominee Michael Stratford (Brian Hutchison) in the world premiere of playwright Paul Rudnick’s seriocomic ensemble piece, Big Night. What happens when the real world comes crashing through the bubble of celebrity? Apparently nothing much, as Michael hunkers down in his hotel suite with friends and family, including a corrosive yet effervescent Wendie Malick, for a bout of hand-wringing, quippy one-liners and meandering monologues.

The one-liners are a trademark of Rudnick’s, whose breakout AIDS comedy, Jeffrey, was full of them. Winner of a 1993 Obie Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award and the John Gassner Playwriting Award, Rudnick had already found success in Hollywood with Sister Act, and had the sequel coming out that same year, as well as Addams Family Values. A creature of both Broadway and Hollywood, Rudnick wrote satirical film criticism as Libby Gelman-Waxner for a column in Premiere Magazine until it folded in 2007, continuing at Entertainment Weekly.

With a dense résumé spanning roughly 30 years, there’s no doubt the writer is familiar with his chosen milieu in Big Night. The mid-century hotel suite by scenic designer John Lee Beatty features floor-to-ceiling windows with a stunning view of Los Angeles in the background. Nervous about his prospects of beating Matt Damon for the Oscar, Michael is calmed by his new agent, Cary Blumenthal (a scene-stealing Max Jenkins), who offers him a gift of cuff links. “They’re from the agency,” he notes. “See the logo?”

Jenkins kills in the early going, the perfect vehicle for Rudnick’s best zingers. In fact gags are abundant in the play’s first half, and occasionally some of them land — “Now there’s a woman who believes cosmetics should be tested on Republicans” — but many more do not, with a few summoning the sound of crickets.

When Michael’s nephew Eddie (Tom Phelan) arrives, the plot begins to creep forward. A transgender LGBTQ activist, he implores his uncle to use his soapbox, should he win, to make a statement on behalf of the community. It’s a question that demands more attention as the play moves into its later stages, but first Michael’s mother, Esther (Malick), arrives with her new lover, a double Pulitzer Prize-winning professor from Columbia University, Eleanor (Kecia Lewis).

The two enter just in time to bring much-needed brassy-broad energy to a comedy that has begun to meander. And continues to do so as Malick does what everyone does in this play — that is to launch into a monologue while the others sit rapt, listening as if it were the Panic Broadcast of 1938.

Michael’s partner, Austin (Luke Macfarlane), arrives directly from the scene of a mass shooting at the LGBTQ center where Eddie often volunteers. The tragedy ignites passion but no action from the ensemble. It is here that an interesting possibility arises about a group of wealthy and influential people rendered impotent, trapped in a form of stasis in the face of calamity. And it’s here that Big Night might have become a razor-sharp satire along the lines of Luis Bunuel’s Exterminating Angel, in which bourgeois dinner guests find themselves mysteriously unable to leave a gathering at a lavish mansion. Instead, the play keeps hurtling forward with more monologues and no end in sight.

If these and other issues are addressed in subsequent drafts, hopefully veteran director Walter Bobbie’s work with his cast can be fine-tuned. A 2007 Tony winner for Chicago, Bobbie’s timing with the actors often brings added punch to Rudnick’s best lines. But just as often his actors are rooted to the carpet like floor lamps, listening to yet another discursive expository passage. If character comes out of action, Rudnick’s characters take no action. Their vague contours are only exacerbated by unfocused direction, hamstringing an otherwise solid cast.

Big Night plays without intermission with a running time of roughly 90 minutes, but with little plot or pacing it feels longer. Writing about Jeffrey for The New York Times, Stephen Holden compared Rudnick to Oscar Wilde. That might have been an overstatement, but one of Michael’s lines late in the play comes pretty close: “There’s nothing worse than a human being, nothing. And once in a very long while, nothing better.” It proves that Rudnick still has it. Hopefully we’ll see more of it in his next show, the musical adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada with a score by Elton John.

Venue: Kirk Douglas Theatre, Los Angeles
Cast: Wendie Malick, Max Jenkins, Luke Macfarlane, Tom Phelan, Brian Hutchison, Kecia Lewis
Director: Walter Bobbie
Playwright: Paul Rudnick
Set designer: John Lee Beatty
Costume designer: William Ivey Long
Lighting designer: Ken Billington
Music and sound designer: Karl Fredrik Lundberg
Presented by Center Theatre Group

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Los Angeles Theater Review: BIG NIGHT (Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City)


Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: BIG NIGHT (Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City)


Paul Rudnick’s bright new comedy takes place on Oscar night. Michael (Brian Hutchison) is a journeyman actor with a career and life-changing Best Supporting Actor nomination. After years of steady theater work and occasional television guest shots, he is on the verge of becoming a star. His trans nephew Eddie (Tom Phelan) hopes when Michael wins (not if, but when) he will use the platform to lambaste Hollywood for its treatment of actors and characters who fall within the alphabet soup of LGBTQ—you can add more letters according to your generational orientation.

Everyone has his, her, or their own opinions, including his agent Cary (Max Jenkins), partner Austin (Luke Mcfarlane), mother Esther (Wendie Malick), and new friend Eleanor (Kecia Lewis). At first, it appears the play will stay focused on Michael’s acceptance-speech dilemma, but Rudnick has a lot more he wants to explore. Before the night is over, violence and hatred transform his deft comedy of manners into something deeper, though happily, no less funny.

Oh, and another little thing happens: A star is born. Max Jenkins. From the moment this theater and television veteran steps onto the stage in his shiny tuxedo pumps, he commands our attention, paralleling the play’s Cinderella story of a working actor coming into his own. His sly wit, gleeful underplaying, and unexpected moments of pathos are astonishing. Rudnick and director Walter Bobbie give Jenkins free rein to turn this “shallow” agent into the emotional heart of the show. Look beneath all his fake show-biz tinsel and glitter and what do you find? The true show-biz tinsel and glitter within.

Wendie Malick, of course, is already a star. But if she weren’t, it would take little more than the cool insouciance with which she wears her William Ivey Long evening gown to turn her into one. Her Esther calls herself a Jewish mother, but if so, she’s the wittiest, smartest, sexiest Jewish mother the world has ever seen. Esther arrives to Michael’s big night with a smashing surprise of her own (no spoilers here) and a warm heart that belies her droll one-liners.

As Michael, Brian Hutchinson has a difficult task. The character is so grateful for his career, so in love with his handsome activist partner, so lovely to his nephew and his mother, and so welcoming to everyone he meets, that he runs the risk of becoming a bit dull—like Sidney Poitier’s “Good Negro” in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Hutchinson is an actor of range and color, who steers well away from making Michael into the “Good Homosexual,” but Rudnick could afford to give the character some darker notes.

Explosive, hilarious moments from Kecia Lewis pop up along the way, and her timing is beautiful. (So is her William Ivey Long evening gown.) Luke Mcfarlane and Tom Phelan are equally effective. Much was made in the press during Phelan’s run on ABC’s The Fosters about the actor’s real-life trans identity. Visibility is wonderful, but talent is what matters most, and Phelan has it to spare.

Director Walter Bobbie has a flair for light comedy, and he easily balances the emotional moments, never letting the pendulum swing too far one way or the other. For my money, Bobbie is theater. And theatre. His decades of experience inform every single choice he makes with his actors and designers. John Lee Beatty’s hotel suite set is a brilliant, towering, expensive wonder—so luxe it’s almost ugly. As already noted, William Ivey Long knows his way around an evening gown. His formal wear for the four male characters is less flashy, but just as impactful in subtler ways.

Rudnick is a comic pointillist who would have been happily at home in another era, taking his rightful place alongside the likes of Noël Coward and Philip Barry. What makes him modern and relevant, though, is his ability to find human connection in our culture’s vanities, pretensions, and obsession with celebrity. Even Libby Gelman-Waxner has a heart of gold. And I love that Rudnick is so sneaky. Here he comes with a glittering new commercial comedy. Some people might not notice that among its six-member cast, not one character is a straight white male. Change doesn’t have to wear its importance on its sleeve. Rudnick is sublimely confident in his own voice, his own humor, and his own way of seeing the world. With Big Night,he is at the top of his game.

photos by Craig Schwartz

Big Night
Kirk Douglas Theatre
9820 Washington Blvd in Culver City
ends on October 8, 2017
for tickets, call 213.628.2772 or visit CTG

Source: Stage and Cinema

Review Paul Rudnick’s ‘Big Night’: Comedy and crisis in the awards machine of Hollywood


In a posh Beverly Hills hotel suite overflowing with gift baskets, Michael, the central character of Paul Rudnick’s tentative new comedy, “Big Night,” is anxiously primping for what may be the most important evening of his life.

A dedicated gay actor whose career has balanced Shakespeare in the provinces with “Law & Order” guest spots, Michael (played with amiable earnestness by Brian Hutchison) is up for an Oscar for supporting actor. Heading off to the ceremony that will decide his Hollywood future, he wonders what expression he should feign if he loses to Matt Damon. But he’s informed by his young and excitable new agent, Cary (Max Jenkins), that he has a good shot at winning. Somehow this only makes him more nervous.

The play, which opened Saturday at the Kirk Douglas Theatre under the direction of Walter Bobbie, recalls in its bantering setup one of the playlets in Neil Simon’s “California Suite,” the one that looks in on a visiting couple from London as they prepare for the wife’s own big night and then cope with the bitter marital aftermath after returning from the Academy Awards empty-handed.

But Rudnick, the author of the plays “I Hate Hamlet,” “Jeffrey” and “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,” the screenplay “In & Out” and countless New Yorker humor columns, populates his five-star suite more densely. This ostentatious room with an entrancing L.A. view becomes an LGBTQ microcosm as visitors arrive full of congratulations, special requests and dizzying surprises.

The first to show up is Michael’s transgender nephew, Eddie (Tom Phelan), who’s majoring in queer studies at UCLA with “a thesis concentration in non-binary gender expression.” He wants Michael to use his platform to make a statement about Hollywood’s lack of diversity and “historic abuse” of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally and pansexual” people.

Cary, who’s out and proud himself, respects Eddie’s alphabet of political commitments but advises Michael not to shoot himself in the foot just as his career is about to take off. He’s working on a lucrative multi-movie deal. The producers of “Star Wars” want to cast Michael, who, turns out, has a thing for light sabers. This is no time for criticizing the academy.

By this point, Michael’s mother, Esther (Wendie Malick), has shown up dressed to the nines with breaking news of her own. I don’t want to give too much away, but Esther is traveling with a new friend, Eleanor (Kecia Lewis), an African American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who brings some intersectionality to the political debate Michael would rather not be having.

Eleanor inquires what pronouns Eddie prefers. (“I’m fine with he, they, hir, zir, or zee,” he answers.) Eddie asks Eleanor whether she prefers “black, African American or person of color.” (“Dealer’s choice” is her freewheeling reply). Rudnick could probably have spun an entire play lovingly satirizing this kind of politically correct social etiquette, but he recognizes that homophobia and hate crimes are more pressing concerns.

“Big Night” takes a serious turn when Michael discovers the reason his lover, Austin (Luke Macfarlane), is unaccountably late. The situation Rudnick constructs is all too plausible in an age when mass violence and displays of intolerance are regularly in the news, but the change in dramatic register isn’t smoothly pulled off.

The characters react to information that shocks and upsets but doesn’t have the power to upend them. Scenarios remain theatrical hypotheticals. The mood grows somber, but the comedy doesn’t allow the consequences of what occurs to sink in. Unreality reigns.

“Big Night” plays like a speculative humor essay on urgent themes. The interplay of perspectives is lively, but the characterizations are “types” led more by laugh lines than by psychology. The playwriting makes it hard to believe in the world inside this hotel suite, which (as designed by John Lee Beatty) seems more Las Vegas than Beverly Hills.

Comedy, as practiced by Molière, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, provides a forum for the bandying of difficult and dangerous ideas. Realism needn’t be the priority, but Bobbie’s production plays against genre, keeping the zaniness on an unnecessarily low flame.

“Big Night” doesn’t accelerate like a farce. There are curious lulls in which the actors appear stranded, waiting for rescue from Rudnick’s inexhaustible wit after something more dramatically meaningful fails to show up.

On the plus side, there’s Malick in a gorgeous evening dress (the magic of costume designer William Ivey Long) looking impossibly young and doing her best to turn the stereotype of the Jewish mother into something contemporary and original. Yes, she foists food at her loved ones in moments of crisis. And no, she never stops worrying about careers, grades, designer discounts and awards. But she plays Esther first and foremost as a woman with her own desires, needs and convictions.

If the play forces upon the character sentimental speeches that say nothing, the fault lies with the playwright, who doesn’t know how to resolve a situation that even his own characters have lost faith in.

Rudnick ought to write to his own strengths. More camp from Jenkins’ Cary wouldn’t be amiss.

Cary, who grew up in Beverly Hills wanting to be an agent, recalls his bar mitzvah at the Hotel Bel-Air “with calla lilies, a vegan buffet and twin Soviet gymnasts from Cirque du Soleil.” The theme? “The films of Jennifer Aniston,” he answers, defensively clarifying in the next beat, “The early films!”

“Big Night” may be earnest in patches, not entirely convincing and a bit thin, but Rudnick hasn’t lost his talent to amuse. The play is funny even when it stumbles and stalls.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

‘Big Night’

Where: Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City

When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays; ends Oct 8 (call for exceptions)

Tickets: $25 to $70 (subject to change)

Info: (213) 628-2772 or www.centertheatregroup.org

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes (no intermission).

Source: Los Angeles Times

“Rock Paper Dead” @ Nightmares Film Festival 2017


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Paul Rudnick flounders Big-Time in Big Night, a World Premiere comedy-melodrama likely to prove a Big Letdown to fans hoping for more of the same hearts-and-minds-changing comedic magic that made Jeffrey and In & Out such crowd-pleasing delights.

It’s Academy Award night and Best Supporting Actor nominee Michael Stratford (Brian Hutchison) is about to head over to the Dolby Theatre and quite possibly accept an Oscar as pay-off for years spent either toiling regional theater or snagging an occasional TV guest spot or movie bit.

Not only is this a big night for Michael, it’s a big one too for his firecracker of a new agent Cary (Max Jenkins), who’s so gay he’s got fifteen pairs of eyeglass frames (and he doesn’t even wear glasses); for his political activist boyfriend Austin (Luke Macfarlane), about to arrive at Michael’s deluxe Beverly Hills hotel suite from a stop at the Gay Center’s LGBT youth Oscar party; for his trans nephew Eddie née Erica (Tom Phelan), a UCLA queer studies major raised in the most traditional of homes; and for his mother Esther, who we know must be absolutely fabulous if for no reason but that she’s played by Wendie Malick.

Sill, from the start there are indications that Rudnick in political activist mode won’t be the writer we’ve come to know and love for his ability to poke fun at contemporary gays (whether the out-and-proud Jeffrey or Kevin Kline’s In & Out closet case) without ever becoming strident and preachy.

It turns out that Michael’s biggest Oscar competition tonight is a cisgender actor playing a transgender serial killer (if this seems very 1991 Silence Of The Lambs, it’s not the only time audiences may find themselves feeling they’re watching something written a quarter-century ago) and Eddie, selfish if well-meaning little prick that he is, wants Uncle Michael to use his Oscar speech platform (because there’s apparently little doubt he’s going to win) to lambast the Academy for its long history of homophobia!

(I’m guessing that it’s around this time that those of the non-progressive persuasion will find themselves heading for the exit rather than stick around for more of what they’ll surely see as Rudnick’s “gay agenda,” and they may not be the only ones.)

Esther’s arrival does manage to perk things up a bit, as does the surprise she springs on her son, which is that walking the red carpet by her side tonight will be her college prof Eleanor (Kecia Lewis), the merry widow’s Pulitzer-prize winning African-American lesbian lover!

But that’s nothing compared to the cataclysmic event that follows Esther’s announcement, a game-changer takes Rudnick’s comedy into stark dramatic territory (a genre most definitely not the writer’s forte) from which there is no recovery, a tonal shift not helped by the fact that the words coming out of Rudnick’s characters’ mouths are talking points and sound bites, and before you know it, Big Night has sunk quicker than Titanic.

Director Walter Bobbie and his cast do what they can with the material, Jenkins proving a particularly sassy delight as Jack McFarland clone Cary, and it’s a treat seeing Malick play a character with more depth than those she’s normally given. Hutchison, Lewis, and Phelan, on the other hand, are hobbled by their characters’ clichés, and Macfarlane, entering when he does midway, never gets to play more than anguished.

At the very least, Big Night looks absolutely fabulous as designed by a team of Broadway greats. John Lee Beatty’s gorgeous set looks to have been transported directly from the Beverly Hills Hotel, William Ivey Long’s costumes are stunners, Ken Billington’s lighting dazzles, and Karl Fredrik Lundeberg adds amusing/dramatic sound effects and some nifty original music.

Brooke Baldwin is production stage manager. Lindsay Allbaugh is associate producer. Casting is by James Calleri, CSA and Paul Davis, CSA.

Paul Rudnick fans hoping for more of what made us fall for his previous hits will be sorely disappointed by Big Night. Big Flop is more like it.

Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Through October 8. Tuesdays through Fridays at 8:00. Saturdays at 2:00 and 8:00. Sundays at 1:00 and 6:30. Reservations: 213 628-2772

–Steven Stanley
September 16, 2017
Photos: Craig Schwartz

Source: Stage Scene LA

[PHOTO GALLERY] New photos from the backstage of “The Night Shift” season 4

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Photo Gallery > Tv Series > The Night Shift > Season 4 > Backstage

[PHOTO GALLERY] Updated galleries from “Killjoys” season 3 episodes 9 and 10

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Photo Gallery > Tv Series > Killjoys > Season 3 > Promotional Stills > 3×09 Reckoning Ball- Promo Stills
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