Friday, November 30, 2012

Dead Accounts @ Music Box Theatre

What happens when someone dies and no one keeps track of the money that is just sitting in their bank account? What happens to all that money? It just sits there, no one touches it, no one looks for it and no one keeps track of it. This account simply turns into a "dead account" and the money just sits there in the bank. Teresa Rebeck’s new play Dead Accounts explains what happens when someone gets their hand on those dead accounts.

Jack (Norbert Leo Butz) returns home to Cincinnati out of nowhere and leaves his sister Lorna (Katie Holms) and Barbara (Jayne Houdyshell) wondering why he has left his life in New York City. When Jack gets home Lorna suspects something because he is acting kind of strange and all of a sudden has all of this money. Jack informs his old friend Phil (Josh Hamilton) that him and his wife Jenny (Judy Greer) are getting a divorce, Phil tells Lorna and Lorna calls Jenny to give her apologies for the divorce. The next morning Jenny shows up to Cincinnati and explains to Jack’s family that Jack has done something outrageous and demands that he fixes what he has done.

Norbert Leo Butz (Catch Me If You Can) leads the cast as the suddenly rich and high strung Jack. Butz lights up the stage with his high energy and lively sense of humor. He truly brought light to the character and kept the audience drawn in for the entire time he was on stage. Katie Holms (All My Sons) played the underappreciated and realistic little sister Lorna. Unfortunately, Holms could not match Butz’s energy and let her character fall flat. There was no emotion behind her character, all the lines were there and she understood where the emotion was supposed to be but she just seemed empty when she delivered her lines. Making her Broadway debut was Judy Greer (television's Arrested Development) as the uptight, rude, cynical wife of Jack, Jenny. Greer was truly wonderful, it’s never easy to switch from doing so much TV and film to go to the stage, the acting technique is completely different. On stage the actor has to over exaggerate every emotion and every movement, whereas on TV they can tone it done a bit. Being such a TV and Film veteran, Greer has some TV and Film acting tendencies but overall she really brought her character to life. Josh Hamilton (Proof) portrayed the timid and shy friend Phil. Hamilton was a delight to watch and really made the audience feel for him and fall in love with his character. Last, but not least, was Jayne Houdyshell (Follies) as the worried and loving mother, Barbara. Hougyshell put so much warmth in her performance, great choice to round out this already talented cast.

Teresa Rebeck (Seminar) has done it once again everybody. This woman is storming Broadway and TV with her outstanding plays and Dead Accounts is no exception to that fact. There was just enough drama and comedy to go around. Although the script was fantastic, Rebeck left a ton of things open in the end and left the audience yearning for a third act, instead the audience was left very confused by the ending that she did provide. John O’Brian (Catch Me If You Can) was the director of this great play who truly understood the material and conveyed it perfectly to his actors but left this review perplexed as to why he let us watch the scene changes. David Rockwell (Elf) was responsible for the scenic design. Rockwell payed extreme attention to detail from the ceramic plates right down to the linoleum floors, really made the audience feel like they were in a kitchen in the mid-west. The light design was done by David Weiner (Grace), unfortunately his design fell flat, creating a ton of unnecessary shadows and sometimes made it difficult to stay in the scenes.  

So what happens when someone gets their hands on a Dead Account? Is it anyone’s money anymore? Does the bank own it now? Is it considered stealing if someone does take it? If it’s no one’s money any more why does it matter, right? Find out what happens at the Music Box Theatre until February 24.

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