Review: ‘Two’s a Crowd’ at 59E59 Theaters

By Jonathan Spira on 12 August 2019
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It’s not uncommon, even in better hotels, for two guests to be assigned to the same room.  It is somewhat rare that the two guests end up in that room at the same time, and it’s almost unheard of that the two decide to share the room.  The latter is the premise of the comedy musical ‘Two’s a Crowd,” starring comedienne Rita Rudner, who wrote the book with her husband, Martin Bergman.  Wendy is a 60-something Cleveland wedding planner who finds herself in a hotel room in Las Vegas after discovering that her husband cheated on her.

Once Wendy arrives in her mid-century modern hotel room, she finds that someone else has gotten there first.  Tom (Robert Yacko), a self-described“poker-playing, dirt-biking electrician-philosopher” who is proneto quotingMarcus Aurelius, has already unpacked and Wendy summons the hotel’s perky manager (Kelly Holden Bashar, in one of several roles), only to find out that the hotel is fully booked and the unlikely pair will have to share the room.

Wendy, it turns out, is the epitome of the diamond guest that every hotel manager knows and fears: “We were told a bed would be here in less than five minutes an hour ago. I need to complain.“

The show is a mixture of middle-aged angst and romantic comedy.  Wendy makes fun of Tom’s uncouth demeanor and he pokes fun at her age, which seems to vary from 59 to 63 depending on the moment.  The room service waiter, Brian Lohmann (in one of several roles), proves her equal when she orders a steak “medium to medium well,” asking if she’d like her coffee “medium to medium well,”  and the solo by the housekeeper, Lili (Bashar), “Lili’s Lament,” is a true show-stopper in which she decries the “revolting” condition in which people leave their guest rooms and wonders if she is cleaning up after humans or if Godzilla is to blame.

Wendy also hasn’t quite become acclimated to the 21st century and smartphone apps, which leads to the best lines in the show:  “Everything’s a silly word nowadays. Google, Yelp, Yahoo. Those used to be things people said when they were having a stroke.”

Politics also makes a quick appearance, when Tom complains that “your needs, of course, trump everybody else’s,” to which Wendy snaps back, “Please don’t say ‘trump.’”

Jason Freddy, who wrote the music and lyrics, leads the band and interjects himself into the show as a musical narrator at various points. The mid-century set by Terresa Ann Bookwalter is perfect for the premise.

The result is a pleasant and frequently funny two hours of clever repartee and an interesting if not intriguing plot that left the audience in stitches.

THE DETAILS

Two’s a Crowd
59E59 Theaters
59 East 59th Street
New York, N.Y. 10022
Runtime: 1 hour, 45 minutes
www.59e59.org

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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