New York Post - 13.03.2020

(Ben Green) #1
New York Post, Friday, March 13, 2020


ith the coronavirus
outbreak, Broadway
is facing its worst
crisis since 9/11. But
it got a lifeline, albeit
a thin one, from Gov. Andrew
Cuomo, who yesterday prohib-
ited gatherings of more than 500
people. That ruling allows Broad-
way producers, whose shows
have been shut down through
April 12, to collect insurance
money. The payments won’t
cover everything — and many
shows may close or not even
open — but as one producer said,
“It’s something.”
As the week began, Broadway
seemed determined to stick to
the old adage, “The show must go
on.” But as the virus — and the
panic — spread, producers were
shocked to see so many theater-
goers clamoring for refunds or
new dates.
After President Trump an-
nounced that he was prohibiting
tourists from Europe to America,
the bottom fell out. Tourists buy
nearly 65 percent of the tickets

Andrew Lloyd Webber tells me
that he has no intention of clos-
ing his musical. There are “huge
plans to remarket and refresh it,”
he says, adding that he plans to
keep it open for another 30 years.
Matthew Broderick and
Sarah Jessica Parker were due
to begin previews today in “Plaza
Suite.” They both got sick with
flu in Boston during the out-of-
town tryout and were under-
standably worried about opening
during the coronavirus outbreak.
(Broderick’s sister was just diag-
nosed with the virus.) But they’re
both troupers and have let it be
known that when Broadway is up
and running again, they’ll be
ready to perform.
At the end of the day, that spirit
is what will save Broadway. Not
only has the Great White Way
weathered 9/11, but it also sur-

Yep, Pete Davidson plays a good troubled stoner

I’m a little worried about Pete Davidson.
Then again, that’s the enduring brand of Davidson,
the proudly unstable “Saturday Night Live” comic
who’s having a moment with a Netflix special, an
upcoming semi-autobiographical Judd Apatow
movie and this dramedy. In “Big Time Adolescence,”
he’s playing, not against type, a witty, underachiev-
ing slacker with a predilection for weed. His charac-
ter, Zeke, is the short-lived high school boyfriend of
Kate (Emily Arlook), whose little brother Mo (Griffin
Gluck) gets so attached to him that the boys stay
friends long after the couple breaks up. But Zeke
also stays, resolutely, a boy, as he ages into his 20s
— and he also, frustratingly for Mo’s parents (Jon
Cryer and Julia Murney), remains Mo’s best friend.
Director-writer Jason Orley (whose directing debut
was Davidson’s comedy special “Alive From New
York”) deploys a gradual shift in tone, as Zeke’s disdain
for anything resembling adult life goes from amusing
to worrisome to just plain sad. What begins as a com-

edy, with Zeke the kind of zany, inappropriate older-
brother figure every socially awkward kid might
dream of, drifts into darker territory. (Your age will be
inversely proportionate to how quickly you start to
find all of this upsetting.) When Zeke comes up with
the bright idea of having Mo sell pot at high school
parties, you know things are headed south.

Gluck (“Locke & Key”) is smart and precocious and a
little square, cut from the Joseph Gordon-Levitt mold.
Mo’s insecurities make him the perfect follower of
Zeke, who may lack for a decent job or the ability to
remain faithful to a girlfriend, but never for confidence.
The musician Machine Gun Kelly shows up as one of
Zeke’s lowlife friends, who seem to be endlessly eating
greasy takeout, drinking crappy beer and playing
video games. What’s for a teen boy not to aspire to?
Davidson expertly plays the role like he’s playing

... well, Pete Davidson, which is how I imagine his
career will go. Having gone public with mental ill-
ness and addiction struggles, he brings a believable
note of pathos to Zeke, whose reaction to a mod-
ernist painting hints at some sophisticated darkness:
Life is “just a bunch of scribbles and d - - ks and
violence, all in a void,” he says. Ultimately, though,
he can’t escape his own juvenile impulses — hence
the title, perhaps. In any case, I’m still going to worry
about Davidson.



movie review

big time
Running time: 90 minutes.
Rated R (drug use,
profanity, sexual
situations). Now playing.
★ ★ ★

Griffin Gluck (left) and Pete Davidson in
“Big Time Adolescence.”

sold on Broadway, especially in
the spring and summer.
Until the coronavirus abates,
very few people will be traveling
anywhere. Actors’ Equity, which
represents Broadway performers,
advocated for a shutdown. An actor
in “Moulin Rouge!” stayed home
with a fever, and everybody back-
stage was fearful of his
condition. It’s not been
determined if he has the
Broadway producers
met Thursday at noon
to decide what to do,
and everybody was
“calm,” a source said.
The producers realized
Broadway had to close,
but believe the industry
can bounce back once
the fear has abated.
Whether some of its new shows
will survive remains to be seen.
A few shows in previews don’t
have enough cash reserves to see
them through this storm. Tracy
Letts’ new play “The Minutes,”
which was to open Sunday, was

rumored to be in trouble. But a
spokesman insists: “ ‘The Min-
utes’ will reopen.”
Martin McDonagh’s
“Hangmen,” which won
great reviews when it
played off-Broadway,
was also in previews
and could find itself in
trouble. But its producer
Robert Fox says: “We
will be looking at the
situation, and if there is
potential to reopen, we
will reopen along with
the other plays that are
in the same situation.”
There were rumors that Broad-
way’s longest running show —
“The Phantom of the Opera” —
may have to close down for good.
After 32 years, it’s dependent on
the tourist trade, which will be
thin for the next few months. But



Hot Ticket


for B’way

The show must not go on!

NYC’s theaters shutter

during coronavirus outbreak

Workers remove signage at the
Booth Theatre, where an usher
was recently diagnosed with
coronavirus. Broadway theaters
will be closed through April 12.
Robert Miller
vived the Great Depression, the
financial crises of the 1970s and
2008, and another virus more
deadly than corona: AIDS.
That one wiped out untold
numbers of theater people.
Broadway will come back, one
press agent says, because “we’re
good at staging comebacks.”
And when it does, I see Patti
LuPone, the star of the upcom-
ing revival of “Company,” Broder-
ick, Parker, Hugh Jackman and
the casts of “Moulin Rouge!,”
“Wicked,” “Dear Evan Hansen”
and “Hamilton” leading the
If only Elaine Stritch could be
there to lead everybody in “I’m
Still Here,” Broadway’s true
anthem, now and forever.
“Len Berman and Michael
Riedel in the Morning” airs
weekdays on WOR Radio 710.
Free download pdf