Theatrical references are thrown around like beautiful fun confetti in MCC Theater‘s hilarious and surprisingly meaningful new play, Which Way to the Stage. They fly in and out with a smart force, zinging to the heart of the matter, before ricocheting around to hit another theatrical target dead center with aplomb. It’s epic and zazzy dialogue, written with a clever insider spark, shot out with such wild and insightful abandonment that we are left speechless. Playwright Ana Nogueira (Empathitrax) knows her stuff, finding fight, fun, and meaningful fire while just standing outside the stage door of Broadway’s If/Then waiting and hoping.
Standing tight, the two fragile and imperfect characters that we meet in that first deliciously written scene, circa 2015, are the duo, Jeff and Judy, played to perfection by Max Jenkins (CSC’s Unnatural Acts) and Sas Goldberg (Broadway/RTC’s Significant Other; MCC’s Moscow Moscow…). They inhabit the roles so completely that one wonders if they are the actual playwrights of this smart comedy, as they squabble about theatrical history and performances with almost a harsh glee. They end each other’s sentences like they are family, meant to stick together through thick or thin, even when they disagree. They wait together, stretching their limbs and verbiage, while unpacking all the discomforts in their lives, particularly the fears and panic that live inside the audition room and in their performances. All this while holding their breath, hoping that they might finally get an autograph from If/Then‘s mega-musical theatre star, Idina Menzel, something that some rain deprived them so many moons ago.