THE PERFORMERS, David West Read's new comedy, began preview performances on October 23 and opens tonight, November 14th, at the Longacre Theatre (220 W. 48 St.) in New York City.
THE PERFORMERS is a romantic comedy set on the night of the Adult Film Awards. Produced by Robyn Goodman, Scott M. Delman and Amanda Lipitz and directed by Evan Cabnet, The Performers stars Cheyenne Jackson, Ari Graynor, Daniel Breaker and Jenni Barber, and also stars Alicia Silverstone and Henry Winkler.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: "The Performers" offers proof positive that it's possible to talk real dirty and still be the squarest show in town. Even in a season featuring two works by a king of Anglo-Saxon expletives like David Mamet, this comedy by David West Read may well clock the most obscenities per minute of any play on Broadway. Nonetheless Mr. Read's perky account of innocents in porn land, centered on a film awards presentation in Las Vegas, feels like a throwback to the more discreetly risqué entertainments of 40 and 50 years ago. Though its author is only 29, "The Performers" is like an early Neil Simon farcewith an X-rated vocabulary, or a blue-tongued episode of the smirky but sentimental TV series "Love American Style."…Mandrew's wife and sometime co-star, Peeps...is played by Ari Graynor, who turns out to be MR. Jackson's ideal comic match. In endowing cartoon characters, whose punch lines are visible long before they land, with something like sincerity and spontaneity, these two work wonders. Unfortunately, with "The Performers," wonders soon cease.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: Most of the jokes from the new Broadway comedy "The Performers" cannot appear in a family newspaper. The world of adult films doesn't lend itself to cleanliness…The funny thing is that the show has a pure heart and a traditional feel-good message despite the waving of adult toys, simulated sex acts and language that would trigger a seizure in a network censor. Read has somehow found sweetness in porn…Director Evan Cabnet has aimed at, and struck, the tender heart in a script that could easily be performed with more darkness or more cartoony. The great cast - especially a squeaky, muddle-headed Graynor and zesty Winkler - keeps the show giggling.
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: For all the under-served talent in Broadway's The Performers (* *½ out of four), the production boasts one indisputable stroke of casting genius. In David West Read's new play, which opened Wednesday at the Longacre Theatre, Henry Winkler appears as Chuck Wood, an aging porn star given to crowing about his, um, sizable credentials. Thus the actor who, as Fonzie on the '70s TV smash Happy Days, defined effortless cool for a generation of pre-adolescents turns up as a has-been stud trying way too hard to sustain his youthful glory.'