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Manhattan Theatre Club Presents "The Cake" at NY City Center Stage I
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Manhattan Theatre Club Presents "The Cake" at NY City Center Stage I

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Manhattan Theatre Club

The Cake

Written by Bekah Brunstetter
Directed by Lynne Meadow

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

Artistic Director, Lynne Meadow
Executive Producer, Barry Grove

Marinda Anderson, Genevieve Angelson
Dan Daily, Debra Jo Rupp

Scenic Design: John Lee Beatty
Costume Design: Tom Broecker
Lighting Design: Philip S. Rosenberg
Original Music and Sound Design: John Gromada
Hair, Wig, & Makeup Design: Tommy Kurzman
Dialect Coach: Deborah Hecht
Production Stage Manager: Stephen Ravet
Casting: Caparelliotis Casting
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
Director of Casting: Nancy Piccione
Line Producer: Nicki Hunter
General Manager, The Cake: Lindsey Sag

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 17, 2019 Matinee

Today’s delightful matinee at Manhattan Theatre Club, with Debra Jo Rupp as Della, co-starring with a cupboard of freshly baked cakes in “The Cake” by Bekah Brunstetter, had me captivated throughout. Thought-provoking dialogue was woven with comedic one-liners and marital skits. Drawing the audience’s eager attention was a socio-political dilemma, as Della’s Sweets bakery in 2019 Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was about to be featured in a television baking contest, but just prior to preparing for that honor, the daughter of Della’s recently deceased friend shows up for a favor. Jen (Genevieve Angelson) is about to be married to a lady we have been watching, who waits at the bakery for an appointment. That lady, Macy (Marinda Anderson), a news-writer, who lives in Brooklyn, is urban and strongminded, and is acclimating to her fiancée’s Southern surroundings. Della and her husband Tim (the always entertaining Dan Daily, so good to see again after the demise of The Pearl Theatre Company) are devoutly religious and believe same-sex marriages are against bible teachings. Della painfully says no to Jen, and Macy works the story through her journalistic contacts.

Della is immediately thrown into turmoil, as Dan is even more stridently opinionated, and in the same moment she tries to seduce Dan with body frosting! to hilarious results, but he is not interested. Della wants love and relationships, but Dan wants Della and her cakes and their life as he knows it. She has energy for change, he has ingrained homeostasis. She watches the baking contest daily, with rapt anticipation, only to receive a call that her spot on the show is cancelled due to her unwillingness to bake a cake for two gay women. To cheer her up at home, Dan even tries enhancing his own body with food, to even more hilarious results, although the wedding day finale is far more subdued.

Bekah Brunstetter is a fine playwright, and I look forward to seeing more of her productions. Lynne Meadow, MTC’s Artistic Director and highly seasoned Director of this play, keeps the dialogue on an even emotional keel, with confectionary humor and mostly flexible feelings throughout the scenes. I would have liked an alternate resolution, but if there were a sequel (please), I am confident that Ms. Brunstetter could develop Della and Tim to more enlightened comfort zones.

John Lee Beatty’s eye-catching set and Tom Broecker’s bake shop aprons and outfits are extremely well conceived. Philip Rosenberg’s warm lighting and John Gromada’s crisp sound and back music are also to perfection. It was wonderful to hear so much laughter these days with so much tension in the news, and the buzz outside the theater was enthusiastic.

Debra Jo Rupp in "The Cake"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Debra Jo Rupp, Genevieve Angelson,
and Marinda Anderson
in "The Cake"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Debra Jo Rupp and Dan Daily
in "The Cake"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

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