Lawrence Harbison, The Playfixer, brings you up to date with what’s hot and what’s not in New York. This week, Larry reports on ALL NEW PEOPLE, THE SILVER TASSIE, THE JUDY SHOW and THE PATSY.

Many of the reviews for Zach Braff’s All New People, currently at Second Stage, have to varying degrees excoriated Second Stage for presenting such a “lightweight” comedy. The play is about a distraught man who wants to kill himself. Apparently, Off Broadway theatres are required to produce plays which make the audience want to kill themselves.

The play takes place in a beach house on Cape Cod and begins with a man named Charlie trying to hang himself – when a young woman, a real estate agent, comes in to check on the house before the arrival of potential renters. She’s British, in this country illegally, hoping to figure out a way to stay here permanently. Then Myron, the local fire chief arrives. He’s also the local drug dealer and in love with the Brit chick. Finally, a cute young blonde named Kim arrives. She’s an “escort,” sent out to the Cape by Charlie’s buddy, the fabulously wealthy guy who owns the house, to cheer Charlie up. It’s party time!

Film interludes give us the back story of each of the characters. The Brit babe was involved in something shady back home (what, we find out later); Myron used to be a high school drama teacher but he got fired for doing drugs with his students; the hooker is raising money to promote her music career; Charlie, an air traffic controller, got distracted on the job and was responsible for a plane crash which killed six people.

Director Peter Dubois does a fine job, and the actors are excellent. Best are David Wilson Barnes as Myron and Anna Camp, who is charming as well as babe-alicious as Kim. All New People is a lot of fun.

The Silver Tassie, at the Gerald Lynch Theatre at John Jay College, part of the Lincoln Center Festival, which has just closed, was a chore to sit through. The play, by Sean O’Casey, is rarely produced. Now I understand why. It’s a World War I drama about Irish doughboys which alternates between realism and expressionism, an awkward mix which just doesn’t work. The production was by the Druid Theatre Co., directed by that great director Gerry Hynes; but even she couldn’t make it work. I doubt if anyone could. Also, the Irish accents were so thick that much of the play was unintelligible, though this may have been due partially to poor acoustics.

The Silver Tassie was a real stinker.

The Judy Show, at the DR2 Theatre is an autobiographical one-woman show written by Ms. Gold and Kate Moira Ryan, wherein Gold plays herself, a Jewish lesbian stand-up comic. She talks about her life and career, and enacts various pitches she has made to TV executives over the years, in hopes of interesting them in various ideas she has had for a TV series called “The Judy Show.” In fact, The Judy Show seems like an extended pitch itself. Sometimes Ms. Gold is quite funny; most of the time, she is merely engaging.

The Judy Show is a pleasant evening, but not exactly what I would call must-see theatre.

The Patsy (at the Duke Theatre), on the other hand, is quirky and wonderful. The eccentric actor David Greenspan performs all the roles in this obscure, justly-forgotten comediy from the 1920s by Barry Conners about a middle-class family with nothing more pressing to contend with than which daughter is going to marry which fella. Greenspan, who usually speaks in falsetto, here exhibits a surprising vocal range and is both funny and quite touching as he creates this portrait of American life in a less cynical era than our own. His performance is a triumph, and not to be missed.

ALL NEW PEOPLE. Second Stage, 305 W. 43rd St.

TICKETS: 212-246-4422

THE SILVER TASSIE. Gerald Lynch Theatre at John Jay College. Closed

THE JUDY SHOW. DR2 Theatre, 103 E. 15th St.

TICKETS: www.telecharge.com or 212-239-6200

THE PATSY. Duke Theatre, 229, W. 42nd St.

TICKETS: 646-223-3010

For discount tickets for groups of ten or more, contact Carol Ostrow Productions & Group Sales. Phone: 212-265-8500. E-Mail: ostrow1776@aol.com.

“It requires a certain largeness of spirit to give generous appreciation to large achievements. A society with a crabbed spirit and a cynical urge to discount and devalue will find that one day, when it needs to draw upon the reservoirs of excellence, the reservoirs have run dry.”

— George F. Will

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who actually does strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

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