Sunday, January 9, 2011

Colin Quinn: Long Story Short @ Helen Hayes Theatre

Remember those long-winded history lectures from middle school, high school, or even college, presented by a teacher who belongs in the history books? Now, take that memory, but replace the ancient-looking teacher with former Saturday Night Live star Colin Quinn (seen on Broadway in An Irish Wake and on the big screen in Grown Ups) and you have the laugh-out-loud, hilarious lesson plan called Long Story Short, directed by (television comedian and stand-up) Jerry Seinfeld. Currently performing at the Helen Hayes Theatre, Long Story Short is an original one-man play that hilariously walks audiences through the entire history of the world – from the big band to the present war in Iraq – in just 75 minutes.

From the Greeks, to the Italians, to the French, to the English, to Snooki, funny man Colin Quinn explores how civilization today is not all that different from civilization at the dawn of time. “Americans like two choices, Democrat or Republican, McDonald’s or Burger King. You know who the real troublemaker is? Wendy’s.” This truthful, humorous take on the history of the world is nothing short of genius. Colin Quinn’s overall sense of comedic timing and rhythm keeps audiences laughing throughout the entire performance; Quinn’s part in writing the entire script might also have something to do with the hilarity of the show. The script is broken up into different sections and is perfectly designed to examine various empires that have risen to and fallen from power. The audience is given the opportunity to journey through time and examine the world in which we live. It was smart, funny, and all around entertaining. Jerry Seinfeld (creator and actor of televisions Seinfeld) makes his directorial debut with this piece and does an exceptional job of bringing Quinn’s script to life. He took the time to add details to every single culture, story, and punch line. These elements of acting, writing, and direction were enhanced ever further with wonderful design from David Gallo (Memphis and The Drowsy Chaperone) who provided the scenic and projection design and Howell Binkley (Lombardi and Jersey Boys) who provided the lighting design. The scenic and projection design were beautifully crafted. Featuring ancient steps, a throne, a column, a stage sized map, and a huge projection screen, the set looked like a picture ripped directly from the pages of a history book (that is a really “cool” history book). The projections added to the storytelling with images of all of the different emperors, leaders, people, and of course, a globe that took the audience around the world and back. The lighting design was bright and colorful, and gave the show energy and spunk. Each story had its own color that would fill the stage and this hilarious tale the energy that it needed. Great acting, writing, direction, and design are the reasons why Long Story Short is a Broadway smash!

Do you want to know the reason that the Egyptian pharaohs crashed and burned? Or, the reason that Roman Empire failed? Or, what America would say to Iraq in a bar fight? Well then, you need to head to Colin Quinn’s Long Story Short, now playing on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre through March 5th only! It is the perfect new comedy!

Review By: James Russo & Ryan Oliveti


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