Review: Say 'I Do' To TIL DEATH DO US PART...YOU FIRST!

Peter Fogel's solo show returns to Florida after Off-Broadway run

By: Jan. 23, 2023
Review: Say 'I Do' To TIL DEATH DO US PART...YOU FIRST!

Peter Fogel is no stranger to comedy. He has worked on numerous projects for stage and screen, including Comedy Strip Live, Comedy on the Road, Married With Children, Unhappily Ever After, Chicago Sons (with Jason Bateman), and Men Behaving Badly! (with Rob Schneider). Fogel is best known for starring in the national tour of Steve Solomon's solo show My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm In Therapy!

Despite his many successes as a writer and performer, the 59-year-old bachelor struggled with commitment. After being dumped by his girlfriend on Valentine's Day, Fogel responded the only way he knew how: by creating the solo show Til Death Do Us Part...You First! This show recently finished a two-performance return engagement at the Boca Black Box Center for the Arts.

Directed by Academy Award-nominee Chazz Palminteri (Bullets Over Broadway, A Bronx Tale), Til Death Do Us Part...You First! is a tour-de-force performance that reminds audiences of the ups and downs of love and marriage. Throughout the evening, Fogel is forced to revisit his past relationships and confront his flaws. The comedian's anecdotes are accompanied by various multimedia slides of his relatives, friends, and ex-lovers.

Til Death Do Us Part...You First! made its world premiere in 2017 at the Boca Black Box before touring throughout the United States. After multiple rewrites during the COVID-19 pandemic, this show ran for three performances Off-Broadway at the Triad Theater.

This 90-minute monologue has a unique framing device that structures its narrative. At the top of the show, Fogel receives a greeting card from Palminteri, who agrees to direct the solo show on the condition that Fogel tells a truthful and honest story about his previous relationships. Periodically, Fogel has visions where he listens to Palminteri's voice, which was prerecorded. During these de-facto therapy sessions, Fogel reacts organically as he actively listens to the director's wise words.

A powerhouse on stage, Fogel captivates his audience with wacky character voices and bold gestures. In one instance, Fogel plays his nonagenarian neighbors Herb and Helene, a married couple begrudgingly celebrating 75 years of marriage. Whether imitating Herb choking on a pastrami sandwich or embodying Helene's brash old-lady yell, Fogel delivers his lines with gusto and heart.

Another memorable moment involved Fogel interacting with his stepmother at the dinner table. In this scene, she grills him for being single and having a career in comedy. All the dialogue in this scene is sung in an operatic and melodramatic manner. No matter how off-key or outlandish he sounds, Fogel remains committed to the action and storytelling, resulting in uproarious belly laughs.

Til Death Do Us Part...You First! is a show that combines fast-paced Catskills-style comedy with a grounded sense of pathos. Even behind Fogel's mask of self-deprecating humor, audiences can see a man on a journey to find acceptance. If you have a friend or relative in the Lonely Hearts Club, tickets to this show will be the ultimate Valentine's Day gift.

Til Death Do Us Part...You First! will be presented in Punta Gorda at the Charlotte Players Monday, January 30 and in Bradenton at the Manatee Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, February 14 (Valentine's Day) at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. For tickets or more information, please visit https://www.tildeathdousparttheplay.com.



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