BWW Review: Jackie Hoffman Exudes Versatility in MEMOIRCITA!
Bold and brassy? Yes. Loud and raucous? At times! But... Jackie Hoffman is terribly, terribly talented and self-deprecating. Let's add juicy and mirthful! In her one-woman show Memoircita!, which played three performances at LGBT's Renberg Theatre this past weekend, Hoffman doled out more dish than gay audiences could ever dream of ... about her unhappy life, checkered career, whacky view of the world, and of course not excluding working with the brilliant and condescending Jessica Lange on Feud: Bette and Joan on fxtv. Her diary Memoircita! was the highlight.
Although best known for this Emmy nominated performance as Mamacita, Joan Crawford's maid in Feud, Hoffman has also established herself on Broadway - her latest musical Charlie and the Chololate Factory - and has made several noteworthy appearances at Joe's Pub in New York recording her one-woman show for a top-selling cd. She has also excelled at voice-over work, which showed here especially in her exaggerated display of the screaming whiny children in the audiences of Chocolate Factory.
The diary and Broadway shows dominated the hour, but her first big laughs of the evening came up top, as she sang "We Are Not Going to Talk About HIM" with a projection of Trump popping up behind. The evening was "about me!" Later when mentioning Hello Dolly and Better Midler's performance, she quipped, "But let's not talk about her. Is she here? I could play Dolly!" With tongue in cheek she mentioned 'the incident' that has caused her to burn career bridges, the fact that on Emmy night after losing the Emmy in her category Best Featured Actress in a Movie or Special to Laura Dern, she tweeted "Dammit! It's rigged!" Big Little Lies for which Dern won had been winning all night. "It's topical; it's about domestic abuse. But, I played ... an abused domestic!" She also slammed Hollywood's clonish take on beauty and its patronizing stand on diversity. "Here are an African American, a Latino, and an Asian side by side, all cast in this film. We must be doing something right."
Director Michael Schiralli also co-wrote the humorously biting script with Hoffman, and her musical director Bobby Peaco at the piano helped her compose the clever songs. Along with the opener, she sang parodies like "Pulled, Tucked and Lifted", and took originals like "Little Girls" from Annie, "Before the Parade Passes By" from Dolly and "Pure Imagination", adding her own edgy observations about the world; children - "I hate them." and drugs - she takes them for rheumatoid arthritis... and to help her get through Feud's long shoot. One hilarious tribute to Barbra Streisand consisted of singing just one word, "Don't..." Hoffman owns a powerful belty singing voice and has quite a range.
Overall, it was a fun, entertaining show. It was the perfect length, and despite the jabs, tasteful. In one hour the comedienne talked, sang and ran the gammit from a to z, keeping the material topical, enjoyable and clean. Hopefully Jackie Hoffman will not have to wait "until Andrea Martin dies", but will continue to work and quickly take her place among today's gifted standup artists.