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Steve The Battle of Steve’s

Steve The Battle of Steve’s
Francisco Pryor Garat, Matt McGrath ,Ashlie Atkinson,Monique Carboni

Francisco Pryor Garat, Matt McGrath and Ashlie Atkinson in STEVE, a new play by Mark Gerrard, directed by Cynthia Nixon. This world premiere production by The New Group plays a limited Off-Broadway engagement November 3 – December 27. PHOTO CREDIT: Monique Carboni.

In an age where we are inundated with gay plays and infidelity, Mark Gerrard’s Steve is the best of the bunch. This witty, satirical comedic drama has heart. Under the wonderful layered direction by Cynthia Nixon, we care about these people especially Carrie (Ashlie Atkinson), Steve (Matt McGrath) and Matt (Mario Cantone).

Before the show starts off Carrie, Steve and Matt are singing show tunes (Steven Sondheim) around a piano played by Stephen (Malcolm Gets). It seems the four of them in their youth worked at a piano bar. After hearing them sing I know why none of them made it in show business. Energetic, appealing but not that great.

When the show does start Stephen (Gets) and Carrie (Atkinson)(looking like Steven Van Sant) are at a table waiting for the rest of their party to arrive to celebrate Stephen’s 47th birthday. We learn Carrie has Cancer and the two are long time friends. Steven (McGrath), arrives as does his best friend, Matt  (Cantone) and Matt’s boyfriend, Brian (Jerry Dixon). Matt and Brian are messing with a trainer named Steve. This happy group is none too happy for it seems Stephen and Brian have been sexting and Steven feels betrayed. To complicate matters the Argentinian waiter Esteban (Francisco Pryor Garat) is flirting.

The longtime “perfect” partnership of the two Steve’s is complicated by a eight year old child Zack. Parenting it seems does not stop the promiscuity, even if it is only a fantasy. Steven more than upset at Stephen’s betrayal sleeps with Esteban making the betrayal real, which ends up separating the couple as Carrie slowly passes. The scene of Carrie’s death is rather moving. As Carrie’s funeral happens the separated friends end up together on Fire Island to begin again? Heal? Move on?

The cast is well suited and is fun to watch. Ms. Nixon’s direction is smart and layered. Mr. Gerrard’s play is a little on the light side but at least for once this subject does not border on preachy.

In a day where AIDS is still a memory, gays are still fighting for their rights and everyone is just trying to figure out where they fit in, this play allows you to see the complications in a light hearted way. For that I appreciate this work.

Steve: New Group, Signature Center, 480 West 42 St. until Dec. 27.

Entertainment

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, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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