Shoot the Piano Player

Sadly, Greenland is inept throughout. He strains to sing rather than actually singing, plays the piano as though he violently despises the ivories, and acts with more of an exaggerated lisp than a snappy wit. Buddy should be the joke, not Greenland. The audience should be amused by the role, not embarrassed for the actor. To play a bad actress in the film Death Becomes Her, Meryl Streep was hired -- not Pia Zadora. With Pia, as with Greenland, it becomes impossible to ascertain where reality ends and parody begins.

Before the opening curtain, director David Arisco made a subtle sort of apology, explaining that he had been rushed into mounting this production. The lack of attention and time certainly shows, both in stiff staging and uneven pacing that effectively kill any hope of comedy. Arisco also announced that opening night would serve as the show's first performance before a live audience; there were no previews. Note to Arisco: Previews were designed to unmask potential theatrical disasters. Oddly, watching woefully inadequate productions, just like watching great drama, can have a lasting effect. With sublime works, memories are fond and the aftertaste sweet. In the case of Gunmetal Blues, I left with a headache and a sickly sensation I still haven't shaken. During the dog days of a South Florida summer, there's no reason to add to your overall physical discomfort.

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