2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS

by Ted Dykstra & Richard Greenblatt
Directed by Richard Greenblatt
Until December 18th at The Playhouse

by Ed Farolan

This award-winning musical entertainment about a lifetime's obsession with the piano has been overpublicized. The real-life experiences of authors Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt has in this new adaptation two women in the starring roles, and directed by co-author Richard Greenblatt. This supposedly hilarious comedy  (the opening night audience seemed to enjoy it, but I didn't) stars the "critically acclaimed" actors Shari Saunders and Karen Woolridge who portray the two musicians. My question now is why did they get women to portray these two men?

It didn't work for me.  I would have preferred men to portray the men.  Somehow, the script appeared to me vapid because women were playing the roles.  I didn't even find these actors funny, and their jokes were discriminatory.  Lines like "that 8 year old Chinese girl", or in the case of the East European lady they were making fun of, constantly repeating "piss" to mean a piano "piece" was, I felt, hitting below the belt. The script also makes fun of the Italian teacher with corny jokes like "B flat on my back", which caused a few hisses from the audience.

I was totally bored with this show.  I believe the people who were there watching were piano enthusiasts, or were piano students in their younger days, and so did perhaps identify with the anecdotes of the two authors.  In my case, I enjoy listening to classical music, and I did enjoy some of the pieces played, but the acting was poor mostly because the script was boring.  I was just curious to find out why this show was such a big success.  I still don't understand why.  I also don't understand why there was no intermission.  Going back to the "piss" joke, don't we need to use the bathroom and stretch a bit after 45 minutes?  Or are they concerned that people won't come back after intermission, and therefore make us agonize in our seats for 100 minutes?