BWW Review: LONG GONE DADDY at Mile Square Theatre
Remember that moment your spouse said he or she wanted a baby? Maybe you were at a Springsteen concert in amazing acquired seats. Perhaps the thought of parenthood sent you scrambling, wondering if you wanted kids or could even parent, reflecting on your own childhood and father. Joseph Gallo's one-man journey balances parenthood, marriage and the Boss at Hoboken's jewel of a theater - Mile Square Theater.
Gallo (playwright in residence and author of a previous monologue about an Italian family - My Italy Story) recounts his journey in a strong, moving, assured production directed by Chris O'Connor. This is an unsparing, honest, funny story of coming to terms with being a son, father, husband. Springsteen is a supporting character with his song meanings propelling major life decisions for Gallo and wife while also providing rituals that as he beautifully puts it "give the illusion that life goes on forever."
Everyone can relate to this winning story and production - backed by first-rate projections by Joey Moro and warm lighting by Matthew J. Fick - Gallo enacts a tale of fear of parenthood while sketching moments with his own adoptive father. The scenes shift quickly from Hoboken, the city, and childhood - each captured in photographic projects and a Hoboken sign. Gallo recounts piercingly acute moments: a gift drum set as a means to momentarily open conversation between father and son and guy friend's saying you'll know when you've earned the dad stripes. His delivery is straightforward, compelling, and honest. It's a bit like sitting with a new friend and instantly feeling that lifelong connection that comes with brute honesty.
Gallo - highly relatable - strides the stage confidently, telling his story, occasionally acting as his wife and friend. His engaging manner weaves a powerful tale of coming to terms with suddenly being a single income family and stay at home dad; the newness and endless repetition that comes with new borns (50% love fest, 40% back breaking, 10% boring) through toddlerhood. Along the way, he loses a home, strives to bond with fellow dads, and seeks the "Zeus energy" of an older dad's acknowledgement of the younger one's effort and claim to dadness. There are plenty of pointed, humorous, and beautifully captured moments of a life well told in this polished evening of theater.
The production runs through August 7th and is well worth your time to spend an hour or so with Gallo and family. You can see the production at Hoboken's jewel of a theater - Mile Square Theatre. More information is available at milesquaretheatre.org