Sunday, July 27, 2003

Those Seven Little Words (Playhouse Square Center)

‘THOSE SEVEN LITTLE WORDS’ entertains at Kennedy's

“If you’re here tonight you’re gay, know someone who is gay or are my family.” With that statement Cleveland comedian and diva, Greta Rothman, opened her one-woman show, ‘THOSE SEVEN LITTLE WORDS.” It recounts her dating and mating attempts on the local scene, as well as in New York. Rothman recently returned to the area after trying her hand at hooking a husband and starting an entertainment career in the Big Apple.

The seven little words? They are “I love you, so you’re probably gay.” They account for why Rothman is still unmarried. They also account for why she put together a show which consists of eleven songs and an equal number of funny comic shticks about her relational life.

Rothman was raised in University Heights. Her high school prom date was gay, the guys she feel in love with during her teen years were gay, her best friends in New York were gay. The Jewish Rothman even recounts that when she followed her mother’s advice and went to a synagogue on the upper west side in Manhattan, and found so many “gorgeous men” that she pined to return the next week, she found out that the men had only been there because it was gay pride weekend. Oi!

Rothman, who prefers that she be called a “flame dame” rather than a “fag hag” or a “fruit fly,” which are terms to describe straight woman who love gay men, has a fine singing voice. She sings with meaning rather than just mouthing words, which makes her songs both understandable and engulfing. Her voice was especially well used in the Cy Coleman song “No Man Left For Me.” The theme song was delightfully sung. “She Loves Me,” sung with backup singer Eric Alan, showed nice blending. “Sisters,” sung with her other backup, Mike Caraffi was a cute idea and nicely done. Both Alan and Caraffi need to loosen up on stage to match Rothman’s naturalness.

The musicians, Charles Eversole and Greta’s brother, Andrew Rothman, were excellent, though Eversole’s synthesizer was often too overpowering for the small size of the theatre. The duo also sang backup in several songs.

Most of the musical selections for the one-running -joke show were appropriate, fitting well with the comedy. “The Rose,” a Bette Middler song which was selected to end the show, however, seemed out of place. “Someday My Prince Will Come” would have been a more appropriate ending considering Ms. Rothman’s stated desire to continue her quest to find the right man.

Kennedy’s does not lend itself to the intimacy needed for this show, especially as the seating is configured. Rather than setting up the theatre so that the audience surrounded the performer the decision was made to run the seating the length of the bowling alley shaped space. Adding tables in front of the seats made for difficult viewing and pushed the audience even farther away. Consideration should be given to alerting the stage/seating arrangement.

Capsule Judgement: This is a show which will delight a certain theatre-going set. Someone with liberal leanings, those who are gay or know someone who is gay, or those wanting to hear of a fun search for “mister right,” that continues to garner “mister wrong,” will enjoy themselves.
P.S. If you know a nice STRAIGHT Jewish man, about 30-something, looking for a talented comedian and singer for a wife, Greta’s mother would love to hear from you.