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Off Broadway

A Class Act When The Subject Speaks Volumes

A Class Act When The Subject Speaks Volumes
Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte, David Marantz, Jenny Strassburg, Nick Plakias

Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte, David Marantz, Jenny Strassburg, Nick Plakias

A Class Act, by New Jersey class action attorney turned playwright Norman Shabel, is a boardroom drama that feels like “Ellen Brockovich” without the suspense or Julia Roberts. A Class Act, opened tonight at New World Stages despite the heavy thunderstorms. This play takes a look at what happens when a chemical company dumps cancer-causing waste into the water supply and the way class action lawsuits are set forth. In a conference room two high-powered law firm associates (Stephen Bradbury and Matthew DeCapua), join up with a high power lawyer Edward Duchamp (Lou Liberatore) who’s already won a class action suit against the same company in California. Combining the trio have come to bring a class action lawsuit, on behalf of the thousands of people injured nation wide. As the female pit bull lawyer on the team (Jenny Strassburg) is asked to bring illegal blackmail against the opposing team, the lawyer for the company (Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte) objects. The high players of the chemical company (David Marantz and Nick Plakias) only care about the fiscal bottom line, not the millions of lives they have condemned to an agonizing death.

Matthew DeCapua, Lou Liberatore, Stephen Bradbury, Nick Plakias, Jenny Strassburg, David Marantz

Matthew DeCapua, Lou Liberatore, Stephen Bradbury, Nick Plakias, Jenny Strassburg, David Marantz

Jenny Strassburg, Lou Liberatore

Jenny Strassburg, Lou Liberatore

As peoples lives are put on the line, nobody really wins except the lawyers involved. This play makes that evident. The lawyers always make their cut of the action, as the class action participants get pennies that don’t even cover their medical expenses.

Though A Class Act has a lot to offer, it plays like a law brief with the language stilted and long winded, unless you are a lawyer. Even though the show is 100 minutes it seems longer. We care about the unseen victims, not the characters onstage and that is never a good thing. Only the last 15 minutes really cut deep into the soul of the piece, but by then it just seems manipulated. This is the kind of play that would make a better film.

Matthew DeCapua, Jenny Strassburg

Matthew DeCapua, Jenny Strassburg

The cast is uneven with Matthew DeCapua and Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte coming off with the most sympathetic of characters.

Josh Iacovelli’s scenic designs are well done and Christopher Scott’s direction could use some fine tuning.

What A Class Act does is open the doorway for discussion. As a country we need to see these atrocities, get mad, wake up and speak out. We also need to find solutions, which is easier said than done.

A Class Act: New World Stage, 340 West 50th St. Monday @ 7, Saturday @ 8, Sunday @ 3:, until Sept. 4th.

Off Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. Currently she has a screenplay in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She was the Broadway Informer on the all access cable TV Show “The New Yorkers,” soon to be “The Tourist Channel.” email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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