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The Talk of the Town at The Oak Room

- Backstage with the Playwrights

The Peccadillo Theater Company
(Brett Singer & Associates, LLC)
Production of
The Talk of the Town
The Oak Room
Algonquin Hotel
Barbara McGurn, Press
Book, Lyrics, and Music by
Ginny Redington & Tom Dawes
Dan Wackerman, Artistic Director
Kevin Kennedy, Managing Director
Kristin Maloney as Dorothy Parker
Jeffrey Biering as George S. Kaufman
Chris Weikel as Robert Benchley
Rob Seitelman as Alexander Woollcott
Adam MacDonald as Robert Sherwood
Donna Coney Island as Edna Ferber
Stephen Wilde as Marc Connelly
Mark Janas, Music Director/Conductor, on Piano
Justin Depuydt, on Keyboard
Mercedes Ellington, Movement Consultant
Michael Gianakos, Asst. Director, Stage Manager
Chris Jones, Set and Lighting Design
Amy C. Bradshaw, Costume Design
Colleen McTigue, Asst. Costume Design
Jeffrey Biering, Arrangements/Orchestrations
Dick Larson, Graphic Design
William M. Peterson, PhD, Dramaturge
Tim Hurley, General Manager

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 12, 2005

The Peccadillo Theater Company, based in Greenwich Village, includes some of the most humorous, effervescent actors/singers I’ve seen in some time, and, to experience this ensemble in their Algonquin Hotel venue, home of the venerable Round Table, the actual setting of this two-act story cabaret, is a priceless opportunity. The Oak Room, the original home of the Algonquin Round Table (then the Pergola Room) with its obvious wooden interior, set in the classiest lobby in town, comes alive every Sunday and Monday eves with seven characters and two pianists in 17 different scenes, all around an upright piano and electric keyboard, the round table, a few chairs, and a few props.

The New Yorker, for which all the characters wrote, is a minor focus of the proceedings, compared to relationships between characters, rapid and racy repartee, and raunchy, but relatively restrained behavior. Some of the plot twists include financial fatigue, pride and perseverance, testy theater critics, remorse and romance, collective collaboration, literary games, literary lore, and literary success. Unrequited love is an underlying theme between Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley, and additional themes include androgynous sex, surreptitious flirtation, and uselessness of war.

Actors are blessed with vocal vivacity and physical presence in song and dance routines, replete with vaudevillian timing. Acoustics are perfect, and wine and food are available at all times, in keeping with the bubbly mood. High points include Parker’s (Kristin Maloney) The Faces that We Wear, Benchley’s (Chris Weikel) The Man I Might Have Been, Edna Ferber’s (Donna Coney Island) Sink or Swim, Woolcott, Connelly, and Kaufman’s (Rob Seitelman, Stephen Wilde, Jeffrey Biering) I’m All Out of Words, and Sherwood (Adam MacDonald) and the Roundtablers’ Robbie Sherwood’s Merry Band of Friends.

A CD of the show is available at the Algonquin front desk, and I recommend that you quickly catch the show, while it’s in its original literary venue. Kudos to The Peccadillo Theater Company, and kudos to the Algonquin Round Table. Check the Algonquin Website for Nightly or Brunch Cabaret and Talk of the Town dates and details.

Talk of the Town' Cast at the Algonquin Hotel's Famed Round Table
Photo courtesy of Tom Dawes

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