BWW Reviews: ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST FANS with Dooley and Holzman at GSP Is Wonderful
Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman are the comedy team who are currently starring in One of Your Biggest Fans at George Street Playhouse (GSP)j through February 23rd. And, this real-life team has been married for 30 years. Yet, this collaboration is a new one for them; the first full length play that they wrote and are performing together. Metropolitan area audiences should treasure an opportunity to see this show.
Holzman has received many accolades for her writing projects that include thirtysomething and My So Called Life. She co-wrote Wicked along with composer, Stephen Schwartz and recently teamed up with her daughter, Savannah Dooley, to create the critically acclaimed series, Huge.
Dooley is known to many as "America's Dad." His on screen kids have included Julia Roberts, Molly Ringwald and many more. His film credits include Breaking Away, Sixteen Candles and the musical Hairspray.
One of Your Biggest Fans explores the relationships and connections between four characters; Frank, a long-time soap opera star who plays Dr. Dan; Emily, his thoughtful partner; Heather, a self-conscious, frumpy soap opera fan and Edgar, Heather's cranky, elderly father who lives in a care facility.
The plot is actually timely. Daytime television dramas are being cancelled and are no longer the popular phenomenon that once captivated audiences. The first scene has Emily coaching Frank on his lines as Dr. Dan. A convoluted dialogue, well known to "soaps" is being practiced and foreshadows a downturn in Frank's career. When Emily suggests that Frank make some changes in his life including doing some acting beyond his daytime drama part, he is typically unwilling to listen and asks, "What if I can't do anything but Dr. Dan?"
But, it is the life of Dr. Dan that brings Heather closer to her father, Edgar. When she visits him at his care facility on Fathers Day, they realize that they are both soap opera fans.
Holzman and Dooley have captivating performances, as they each assume two very different roles and they make character changes seamlessly. Dooley's skill as an actor is well realized in the show, he doesn't miss a beat and the audience is very responsive to his humorous anecdotes. The two women played by Holzman are so dissimilar that the change in demeanor is stunning.
Dooley and Holzman have crafted dialogues that are genuine, touching and often comical. They have cleverly brought the plot full circle as Frank finds an unexpected association to Heather. One of Your Biggest Fans presents some meaningful questions about how people communicate, who they take for granted, and how life can become static. It also presents a statement about unpredictable opportunities and gives real hope for positive and surprising futures.
George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue in the heart of New Brunswick's dining and entertainment district easily accessible by public transportation or by car. For tickets to One of Your Biggest Fans and their other upcoming shows, visit www.GSPonline.org or call (732) 846-2895.
Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson