What plays right is “The Play That Goes Wrong.” I laugh at nothing. My husband was a comedian. But nothing — unless you consider Kanye West designing wardrobe or Anthony Weiner running for mayor — nothing is as fall-down funny.
Now in 12 countries, it was born as a one-act hoot in London’s Old Red Lion pub with more at the big bar than on its little stage. It grew, opened at the Lyceum and just last week our Yanks replaced their Brits.
Onstage, an actor hangs a painting. It falls. It falls exactly that same instant at every performance seven times a week in front of a packed audience screaming in surprise. Another character flops through a window. We hear a loud crash.
How all that happens? Backstage I’ve watched the happenings happen. The painting’s on a magnet. On cue, the magnet gets troubled. The painting flops. Falling noisily out a window? Offstage, two connected boards clap together loudly. A “slap stick.” It’s how the term began.
An army lives backstage. The commander, sitting at a desk facing four monitors with zoom lenses plus side ports for earphones, headphones, telephone, pencils, pens, coffee cup, a mike, a stopwatch, a signal button, is stage manager Matt DiCarlo, who says: “There’s no time even for me to pee.”
It’s 11 backstage crew, three per prop, 16 get triggered backstage, dozens and dozens are handheld, all pre-listed, pre-set, checked nightly. Forty-five minutes beforehand every effect’s pretested and its backup plan choreographed. Troops frozen in readiness stand by. When DiCarlo pushes his button and shouts “Go,” a fire crackles, an elevator does its thing and all hell breaks loose.
Go. Enjoy it. Know, because of you, stage manager DiCarlo, minutely following his script, will not be able to pee.
She’s making her own mark
Kathryn Garfunkel’s done Feinstein’s, Birdland, the Triad, Broadway, TV, been singing “since I was born,” did her act Sunday at the Cutting Room, got rebooked for Oct. 1 and she’s also Art Garfunkel’s wife.
“I was modeling. Doing print work. Dating a guitarist who played in a subway station and dumped me so who knows where I’d have ended up. I met Art. He asked what kind of guys I like. I liked musicians. We’re married 24 years, and I love him madly.
“Basically, I take care of children. Our little 11-year-old, Beau, plays the harp beautifully. It was his father and brother’s idea. He accompanies me. He’s very gifted.
“I’ve sung all over the…