By: Sandi Durell
It’s the era of pitting haves and have-nots in recent off Broadway theater – who can get into college, who has the money, do grades really matter . . . take a look at Admissions and Transfer, as examples. So playwright Anthony Giardina (The City of Conversation) obviously feels the need to get into the education and finance act – how do we interpret equality and class!
Using the clever title Dan Cody’s Yacht (The Great Gatsby – the genesis of the show’s title), Giardina weaves a witty but repetitive tale in a Boston suburb where we get to know affluent dad Kevin, who admits being gay – a splendid Rick Holmes (Junk), a financial wiz who is in conversation with his slacker son’s teacher Cara (Kristen Bush), a struggling single mom with a sense of pride, trying desperately to change the “F” she gave Conor (John Kroft) on his term paper. His facility at wordplay and pressure is unrelenting as he offers to take over Cara’s finances so he can make her real money for her daughter ‘s college education. Daughter Angela (Casey Whyland) is smart; she’s a poet who would love to attend Vassar, but given the fact that they live on the wrong side of the tracks doesn’t help. Kevin’s ulterior motive to promise Cara financial security centers around an upcoming merger of the two school districts: the one on the right side of the tracks (where Conor attends) and the other where Angela attends high school.
Cara is filled with apprehension and suspicion but gives in to attending one of the monthly investment group meetings at Kevin’s upscale home where she meets his been there/done that wealthy friends Geoff (Jordan Lage) and wife Pamela (Meredith Forlenza) along with Alice Tuan (Laura Kai Chen). They are worlds apart.
Kevin’s desire is to maintain his neighborhood as the conversations border on cliché and had he not mentioned he was gay, there even seems to be an apparent romantic spark between himself and Cara that goes nowhere. It’s unclear why Cara would even be swayed by the know-it-all, offensive Kevin who has no subtlety nor tries to disguise his sense of entitlement.
The performances, ably directed by Doug Hughes at Manhattan Theatre Club, are top level, but the entire situation seems unrealistic.
John Lee Beatty has created a well-designed turntable set, lit by Jen Schriever. Roxanna Hope Radja rounds out the cast as Cathy, Cara’s friend.
Photos: Joan Marcus
Dan Cody’s Yacht continues thru July 8 – MTC, 131 West 55 St. NYC