by Adam Cohen
Irony is alive and well. She strides the stage, resplendent in a glittery cocktail dress, telling a tale of a changing city and culture. And the stage is the august Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, overlooking Central Park. There, accompanied by a pianist Bobby Peaco, mocking late comers and kvetching wonderfully lies the thoroughly entertaining and engaging Jackie Hoffman.
Hoffman is a veteran of five Broadway shows and a turn off-Broadway in Once Upon a Mattress. And she was a bright spot in all of them – especially Hairspray and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. With a graceful candor, Hoffman lets loose on the age of the audience who witnessed her last main stage turn as Mrs. Teevee.
Her honesty and refreshing take on life in 2018 is breathtaking. Singing about the amenities all the new construction brings to New York, she mocks the need for splendor and over building. A few songs later, she laments the changes to the city with a sailor tourist – gently recalling her turn in “On The Town” – no CBGB, no point in going to Times Square – as landmarks get mauled for mall quality retailers or apartments.
There are no sacred cows in the hands of Hoffman and her co-conspirator writer/director Michael Schrialli. She laments losing the Emmy for “Feud” to Laura Dern in shocking detail with excerpts from her behind the scenes diary about the production.
Not to sound stalkerish, but wherever this bright, engaging, acerbic, performer performs, I will be there. Hopefully not sitting next to a smelly guy who doesn’t get any of the jokes but fake laughs loudly.
Jackie Hoffman, Appel Room at Lincoln Center – January 25, 2018 www.lincolncenter.org