“A Catered Affair” Does San Diego


When he was in the original cast of “Hairspray,” on Broadway, Harvey Fierstein (pictured here at far left) used to drive some of the cast and crew crazy with his over-acting — and this in a role that is designed for mugging. So I am happy to report what my spies in San Diego are saying about Fierstein’s performance in the new musical “A Catered Affair,” which is playing a pre-Broadway engagement at the Old Globe. My minions assure me that, for once, the tic-prone Fierstein’s acting does not suggest a man with a skin rash. True, he does play the supporting role of an uncle amidst a family’s wedding jitters in the Bronx in the 1950s, rather than the matronly role Bette Davis had in the 1956 movie source material. But Harvey could steal focus in a room full of kids and cocker spaniels. Since he wrote the show’s book, he has more invested in the show doing well. For a relatively quiet piece like this, with a simple production by John Doyle, it will be an uphill battle on Broadway. Despite the musical’s lack of dance numbers (or much movement of any kind), my spies had a good time. I’m sensing, though, that they thought “A Catered Affair” was wonderful in the way that attracts an audience of New Yorkers and drama queens rather than in a way that speaks to the tourist trade.

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