Friday, June 7, 2013

Theater: Extra, extra--Lucky Guy is New York tabloid journalism brought to life

 Text and photo by George Molé

For me, growing up in New York, the day was never complete without spending a little time with the great Gotham tabloid newspapers, the Daily News and the Post. And the highlight of the papers was always the columnists, condensing the crazy life of the city into 700-word mini-novels. Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin were the kings, of course, but I'm old enough to remember Bill Reel and Beth Fallon, and many other good ones.

So no way was I missing Lucky Guy, the Broadway play written by Nora Ephron--and running for a very limited time at the Broadhurst Theater--about the life of the columnist Mike McAlary. I never thought McAlary was the equal of Hamill or Breslin as a writer--those guys could write a sentence that sounded like they composed it on a bar napkin at closing time, yet would be running through your head three weeks later. But McAlary was a good reporter who was always entertaining, focused on important cop issues--and broke the Louima story, one of the biggest police scandals ever.

I saw Lucky Guy two weeks ago, and it doesn't disappoint. Ephron's dialogue captures the color and wit of New York journalism, and Hanks portrays McAlary as an ambitious and immature--but good-hearted and talented--guy that you can't help but like. Maura Tierney is brilliant as McAlary's wife--if Tierney's funny, strong and supportive family woman is an accurate portrayal, McAlary was indeed lucky.

I'm rooting for Lucky Guy to win as many Tonys as possible this Sunday--I can't imagine that any of the other nominees could equal it in writing or performance. And since I'll probably be working right outside Radio City Music Hall when the awards ceremony is going on, I'll be in a strong rooting position.

Tierney and Hanks (center) with other cast members at May 25, 2013 performance.

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