Highly Recommended**** Shattered Globe Theatre is now 21 years old- 21 to many means maturity and adulthood. Over these years they have produced many plays in many spaces, but they now have a permanent home at Theater Wit on Belmont and as a true sign of maturity have brought Dennis Zacek into their fold , at least for their launch production of Jerry Sterner’s ‘Other People’s Money”. There are a great number of people who saw the movie version with its great cast and setting and wondered, how can a small company do this play in a 99 seat theater with a cast of five and make it work? To be honest, I myself doubted this could be done, but I knew with Zacek at the helm, it would be worth attending just to see him apply his magic. Needles to say, he did not let me down. In fact, this is a solid production and tells the story in a manner that gets to the heart and soul of what Sterner was talking about- no glitz, no special effects; just the hard facts about people who can , with just the righgt touch change the entire world for those who have invested their lives into building a business.
In this story, a small company, New England Wire and Cable, one that employs most of the town and shows a profit for its stockholders, appears to an greedy businessman Lawrence Garfinkle ( a brilliant interpretation by Ben Werling) who is planning a hostile takeover so he can make millions with no cares about the people who have built this company or the stock owners. he is a specialist at his trade and is known as “Larry the Liquidator’, building up the stock’s value until he gets what he wants and then watching to crumble. Doesn’t sound much like a “romantic comedy” from this, does it, but this cast under the brilliant direction of Zacek brings all the sides to the story and while I do not recall the ending of the film, in this production, I walked away with a smile on my face and some warmth in my heart.
The set ( Andrew Hildner) is what appears to be two offices- one, that of the “company” a nuts and bolts working area and the other, that of “Larry the liquidator” a plush high rent office.W hile they are not really what you might expect, the contrast was there and it served the point without the great expense. Very prudent! The costumes (Sarah Jo White) were pretty plain and simple as well while the sound (Tony Murtishi), lighting (Mac Vaughey) and props ( Vivian Knouse) all added to the final touch of a solid production. This being a story telling experience, it is the story tellers/ the actors who truly make this production work, so let us call them as i saw them;
William (Joseph Wiens) is one of our narrators as he unforlds “his” story. A man who has worked to build up a career that will be forever and will do whatever he can to survive. Andrew Jorgenson ( deftly handled by Doug McDade), the owner of the company who truly cares for his employees, his town and what he has built, Bea Sullivan ( the powerful Linda Reiter) who has spent her adult life working for this company and who since Jorgey’s wife passed has been part of his personal life as well as running his business. These are the players who make up New England Wire and Cable. The only other character is Kate Sullivan ( the adorable and feisty Abby Smith), Bea’s daughter who is now an attorney for a huge investment firm and is brought in to go head to head with “Larry”- she does and the scenes between these two are what makes this production a spicy romantic comedy. The chemistry between Smith and Werling took a bit of time to get where it needed to be, but once it did- it never waned. If you saw the movie and lived it, see this live production- you will love it!
If you saw the movie and loved it- see Shattered Globe’s version and you will love it even more! If you saw the movie and hated it, that’s okay, the play version is much more fun. Oh, by the way, you will still find yourself wanting to stop by Dunkin Donuts after the show, which will continue at Theater Wit, satege two through October 19th with performances as follows:
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the theater box office located at 1229 West Belmont Avenue, by calling 773-975-8150 or online at www.theaterwit.org
There are discounts for students and seniors. There is valet parking, metered and non-metered street parking and if you dine at Coopers, they offer free parking.To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Other People’s Money”
To learn more about what Shattered Globe is up to, visit www.shatteredglobe.org