Jim Brochu Gives His Regards to Broadway in His One-Man Show @ Barrington Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

September 23rd, 2014, 1:00 pm by Sara
Jim Brochu and his cast of “character men.”

Jim Brochu and his cast of “character men.”

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: “Character Man” at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield is a wonderfully funny and touching evening of unforgettable theatrical memories. Jim Brochu may not be the first actor to draw on the famous and near-famous he has rubbed shoulders with during a long and rich life to create an evening’s entertainment, but he is certainly one of the best. As he explains at the outset, playing a “character man” means you are an essential part of any play, even though people are not likely to remember your name.

Gail M. Burns: Jack Gilford, Bert Lahr, Lou Jacobi, Zero Mostel, Jack Albertson, Phil Silvers, Charles Nelson Reilly… Indeed, while I recognized many of the names Brochu mentioned – and their faces as they appeared on a screen upstage – I am hard pressed to place his mentor, David Burns (obviously no relation), even though his face was shown at various ages throughout the show. But Burns was Brochu’s dear friend and enabler – his entree into the fascinating and frustrating world of show business.

Larry: For an hour and a half he certainly keeps the Barrington Stage audience spellbound as he rattles off anecdotes and stories about his father, his co-stars, and his beginnings as an orange drink seller in lobbies at intermission. The period he focuses on most effectively is the one in which I was a stage door Johnny myself. But while I was outside with a program and a pen he was running to get corned beef sandwiches from a deli for Cyril Ritchard, Australian stage, screen and television actor, and director. Ritchard is probably best remembered today for his performance as Captain Hook in the Mary Martin musical production of Peter Pan.

Gail: I can just taste that orange drink, Larry. It was watery with strong overtones of cardboard, and it was wildly overpriced, but you HAD to buy one when you went to the theatre in New York. I suspect now that I, like Brochu, could no longer afford one, let alone a Broadway ticket, but the very mention of that beverage brings back memories to anyone who has ever darkened a Manhattan theatre.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.


LIVE: “Zero Hour” @ Barrington Stage Company [Gailsez]

May 27th, 2011, 2:30 pm by Sara
`Jim Brochu as Zero Mostel (photo by Stan Barouh)

Jim Brochu as Zero Mostel (photo by Stan Barouh)

There are three questions here:
1) Is Jim Brochu’s monodrama “Zero Hour” good theatre?
2) Do you come away knowing more about the life of Zero Mostel?
3) Is Brochu’s performance a passable imitation of this fascinating man?

The answer to the first question is a resounding “Yes!” and on that basis alone I recommend that you get tickets now. This is a very funny and enlightening show and Brochu, who would appear to be the director as well as the playwright and sole performer, throws himself into his role with wit and energy. Brochu received the 2010 Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance and a Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor in a Play for “Zero Hour,” which ran 14 months and played 238 performances off-Broadway. It is a treat to have it here in the Berkshires!

The second question is much harder to answer for the reason explained in the quotation below from Jared Brown’s biography of Mostel:

Click here to read the rest at Gailsez.

Larry Murray’s review at Berkshire On Stage
Michael Eck’s review at The Times Union
B.A. Nilsson’s review at Metroland
Jeffrey Borak’s review at The Berkshire Eagle
Bob Goepfert’s review at The Troy Record

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