By: Patrick Christiano
Happily After Ever, a hilarious new play by Brooklyn native Laura Zlatos, opened at 59E59 Theaters for a limited run through April 16th. The setting is the right time and the right place where the actions unfolds on a candy colored minimalistic set. Molly-Ann Nordin, Jeffrey Brian Adams
In the opening scene two apparent strangers, a boy and a girl, meet at a bus stop and promptly fall for each other with break neck speed. Janet (Molly-Ann Nordin) is superficial yet adorable, and apparently the perfect match for Daren (Jeffrey Brain Adams), a handsome, yet equally superficial young man. They speak to each other in rapid perky exchanges almost completing each other’s thoughts as their courtship quickly culminates in marriage.
As newlyweds Darren and Janet want to build a perfect life together, however when Janet gives birth to a baby with both male and female genitalia, they find themselves in the unlikely position of having to decide the child’s gender or wait and let the child decide. To complicate their challenging new life, they are drawn into a relentless competition with the perfect couple next door, Dharma and Jerry (Marlon Meikle and Brennan Lowery). To muddy the circumstances even further they are forced into dealing with a misunderstood stray dog named Tommy (Jim Anderson) even though the dog is a female. Tommy becomes the family pet and senses Janet’s unhappiness.
Love and fear face off with each other in this witty sitcom-like battle of the sexes, and Janet turns to an all knowing Tommy for support in finding her happily ever after ending. The stylistic staging is beautifully helmed by Sherri Eden Barber and crisply played by the accomplished actors, never missing a beat in an entertaining little gem with a set by Rebecca Lord-Surratt, costumes by Stephanie Levin, and lights by Megan Dallas Estes. Everything merges perfectly on the little stage as 59E59 Theaters.
Happily After Ever runs through April 16 at 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street; 212-279-4200, 59e59.org. Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Photo: Erik Carter