Location: Laura Pels Theatre,
Website: Official Roundabout Theatre site
Starring: Michael Therriault, Michael Boatman
My Review: With The Tin Pan Alley Rag, the Roundabout Theatre closes an unbelievably lackluster season with not exactly a whimper, but definitely not a bang. And as a testament to how lackluster the season truly was, I couldn’t care less.
The Tin Pan Alley Rag tells the story of a fictitious meeting between two of music’s greatest artists; Irving Berlin and Scott Joplin. Some time around the turn of the century, a late-20-something
Michael Therriault handles the role of Irving Berlin ably, though at times seems to overdo the “nervous Jew” shtick, and it feels like you’re watching someone impersonating Woody Allen impersonating
One of the main reasons I enjoy live theater so much is because at a really good production, you eventually get sucked into it and it no longer feels like you’re watching people on a stage; it either feels like you’re observing real life unfolding, or like you’re actually a part of the action. But that moment never came at The Tin Pan Alley Rag. I never once lost myself in a moment and always felt like I was watching actors putting on a show. Every movement seems too labored, every syllable over-enunciated, every flashback and song too orchestrated. I wouldn’t call it a bad play, but it felt like a good college production, where you want to congratulate the cast and crew afterward for putting forth such an eager effort. And while this is acceptable for college productions, it’s not what I’m looking for in professional theater.
Bottom Line: The Tin Pan Alley Rag is as mediocre as mediocre theater can get, with the few highlights being in the performance of