Jeff Smith 12:01 p.m., March 29
Old Wicked Songs
Stephen Hoffman's a burnt-out piano prodigy at age 25. He's come to Vienna (in 1986) to study under the great Schiller. But first, like a Zen neophyte, he must learn humility from Josef Mashkan, who vows to "knock the wind out" of the "arrogant kid," and whose teaching credentials are shaky. Jon Marans's loose, sporadic drama is a marvelous vehicle for Tom Zohar and Robert Grossman at the North Coast Rep. Except for a haunting tour of Dachau, you can pretty much tell where the play's headed. But as Stephen and Josef explore the joys and sorrows of Schumann's Dichterliebe, they display multiple talents. Zohar (who performs a tour de force medley of snippets from Bach to Beethoven on the piano), moves Stephen from a rigid, by-the-numbers imitator to a passionate being, in art and life. Josef wears a mask as well, and Grossman strips it away with a humorous, touching portrayal. Director David Ellenstein keeps the focus always apt, and Jeff Mockus's sound design enriches every scene.
Worth a try.
When: Ongoing until Sunday, May 31, 2009
- Sundays, 2pm & 7pm
- Thursdays, 8pm
- Fridays, 8pm
- Saturdays, 2pm & 8pm