“Enter Laughing” at Bay Street Theater: A Gem of a Musical

Enter Laughing, The Musical, showing now through September 4at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, is screamingly funny, but also relatable in its hilarity. Set in the 1930s, the musical tells the story of hapless David Kolowitz, a young shop boy from the Bronx who dreams of being a leading man on stage while facing mounting pressures from his girlfriend, boss, best friend, acting coach and parents, all of whom are skeptical about his career plans. His parents want him to be a pharmacist, but he dreams of the theatre.

Chock full of “old-school funny,” physical comedy and “Jewish humor,” the show will certainly keep audiences laughing. However, audience members can relate, because everyone has a dream, and many people face outside pressures related to those dreams. Josh Grisetti (Broadway Bound), who plays the character of David, said, “As an actor, we all went through this at some point, so we get to go back and re-live it.”

At a “speed-dating” type event in which I was able to interview the actors and director of the play, they all emphasized how wonderful the cast was and how much chemistry they had together. Director Stuart Ross (Forever Plaid, Radiant Baby) noted how much fun he has had with the play, and said how the personal nuances that each actor brought to their character makes the play what it is. “I get to wake up and go to work and laugh for eight hours a day,” he said. “It’s great.” Ross can’t wait for the audience to experience Enter Laughing, and to see “the best cast in the world” at work.

Actor Richard Kind’s exhaustive list of credits includes a run at Bay Street last summer in David Mamet’s Romance (Kind’s third Bay Street appearance). He will have a featured role in the forthcoming HBO series Luck, in which he plays a jockey’s agent. Kind said in an interview that he is playing a supporting role in Enter Laughing, “a good role, an important role,” but the real star is Grisetti. “It’s a star-making role, he’s such a funny actor, a great singer, so talented in every area, unbelievable.”

According to Kind, the York Theater in Manhattan launched a revival of Enter Laughing that knocked critics’ socks off. “The play is genius, and I mean genius at being what it is. It’s not a huge, enormous diamond. It’s a nice diamond set off with two sapphires. Stunning perfection, a gem of a show. Charming, fun and smart. I LOVE this play.”

The show has previously been produced off-Broadway and will be brought to Broadway after its stint at Bay Street. It is written by the legendary Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof, Zorba), with music and lyrics by Stan Daniels (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Taxi”). Enter Laughing is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by 12-time Emmy Award-winner Carl Reiner (Ocean’s Eleven). Music direction is by Phil Reno (Promises, Promises and The Drowsy Chaperone). The musical features a cast of Broadway and television favorites including Grisetti, Jill Eikenberry (L.A. LawInto The Woods), Richard Kind (The Producers, Spin City), Kate Shindle (Wonderland) and Michael Tucker (L.A. Law). Don’t miss this fun, exciting performance that is sure to leave you laughing!

Tickets for Enter Laughing, The Musical are available at the Bay Street Theatre Box Office, at 631-725-9500 or www.baystreet.org. A limited number of “Pay What You Can” tickets will be available for the August 9 preview date after 2 pm at the Box Office. Performances are Tuesday – Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. with matinees Wednesdays at 2 p.m. (8/17, 8/24, 8/31) and Saturdays at 4 p.m. (8/20, 8/27). Tickets are $65-$75. The show runs through September 4.

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