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Manhattan Theatre Club Presents "The Portuguese Kid" at New York City Center
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Manhattan Theatre Club Presents "The Portuguese Kid" at New York City Center

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Manhattan Theatre Club

The Portuguese Kid

Written and Directed by John Patrick Shanley

Manhattan Theatre Club
NY City Center Stage I
West 55th Street, Btw. 6th and 7th Avenues

Artistic Director, Lynne Meadow
Executive Producer, Barry Grove

Jason Alexander, Pico Alexander
Aimee Carrero, Sherie Rene Scott, Mary Testa

Scenic Design: John Lee Beatty
Costume Design: William Ivey Long
Lighting Design: Peter Kaczorowski
Original Music and Sound Design: Obadiah Eaves
Production Stage Manager: James Fitzsimmons
Casting: Caparelliotis Casting
& Kelly Gillespie
General Manager: Florie Seery
Press: Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Director of Artistic Operations: Amy Gilkes Loe
Director of Marketing: Debra Waxman-Pilla
Director of Development: Lynne Randall
Director of Production: Joshua Helman
Director of Play Development: Elizabeth Rothman
Line Producer: Nicki Hunter
General Manager, The Portuguese Kid: Lindsey Sag

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 11, 2017 Matinee

Manhattan Theatre Club’s production of John Patrick Shanley’s new play, The Portuguese Kid, made for an amusing and satisfying fall afternoon at the theater. Thanks to the splendidly charismatic casting of Jason Alexander as Barry Dragonetti, a low on ethics lawyer, Sherie Rene Scott as newly widowed Atalanta Lagana, who’s long been in lust for Barry, and the always entertaining Mary Testa as Mrs. Dragonetti, Barry’s protective and omnipresent mother, there was raucous laughter emanating from New York City Center throughout the one-act dialogue. Pico Alexander as Freddy Imbrossi, the gorgeous, but sometimes criminal lover of Atalanta, and Aimee Carrero as Patty Dragonetti, the crass, coarse, immature wife of Barry, perfectly fill out the intimate cast. For years, Atalanta tells Barry, she called out his name, when intimate with her now deceased husband, and Barry tells Atalanta that he had his own problems with her husband, in that he hired other lawyers, a betrayal of friendship. Told in the nasal twang and outbursts of Atalanta and Barry, the stage was set, early on, for surprisingly breezy, comical camp. Speaking of camp, Ms. Testa is a master at vaudevillian facial and hip gestures, and, with her imposing persona in polyester, she did not disappoint.

Four scenes take place in Barry’s law office (with Atalanta), Atalanta’s bedroom (with Pico), Barry’s home, and Atalanta’s home. Mr. Shanley directs his own play, and he maximizes his one-liners, offstage, like Gleason did, onstage, in The Honeymooners. The characters are intentionally outlandish and cartoonish for maximum effect. But, I should note that two stars of this show are the renowned designers, John Lee Beatty, sets, and William Ivey Long, costumes. The garden picnic scene on Barry’s patio was visually enticing. Peter Kaczorowski, lighting, and Obadiah Eaves, sound and original music, gave the play warm panache. This is a play that college theater groups could easily mount to hone comedic acting skills. It could also be seen on the small screen to cheer up the masses, as an antidote to angry newscasts. Kudos to all.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at