by: Sandi Durell
In the small intimate Theatre C cabaret room at 59e59 Theaters, Virginia Carpolotti, new widow of Ed, hums a lot. She does that when she’s nervous and who wouldn’t be when, after 40 years together she loses him and is suddenly, and surprisingly, saddled with $1M in debt!
Did she not know what she was signing when those papers were shoved in front of her by Ed saying “sign these?” Virginia seems too bright a woman to have let that reality go by. But be that as it may, the 60 minute adaptation based on Jeffrey Hatcher’s play, with book, music and lyrics by the talented Barry Kleinbort, is a magnificent vehicle for a magnificent actress/singer of note as Ms. Fuller travels the emotional gamut of joy and sadness, in song and story, adding all the pathos humor and gusto required.
“13 Things. . .” gives Virginia the opportunity to travel through her years with Ed, from initial meeting and courting beginning at a movieMy Friend Irma Goes West, to her phone conversations with Boca Raton friend Tootie, the lawyer (who was the little boy who delivered her milk), where she takes on all characters. Kleinbort’s songs are a potpourri of emotions and 50s rock style duet “You Are My Happiness,” with musical director Paul Greenwood, is surely a stand on its own song. Kleinbort writes in many musical genres and Fuller’s sprightly take on a Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis novelty gives her, once again, a chance to show off her skills as she takes on the voices and characteristics – – hey laaady!
Ms. Fuller is artfully accompanied by Paul Greenwood,with sensitive direction by Barry Kleinbort on a very small stage comprised of a piano, an easy chair, a lamp, but enough room to allow the exuberant talents of Penny Fuller to float easily through the pain, anguish and memories in this rather challenging, ambitious production.
*Photo: Stephen Sorokoff
“13 Things” continues thru December 30th at 59e59 Theatres and is presented by Harbinger Records and Jamie deRoy, in association with the Acting Company.