Is the World Ready? Jackie Hoffman’s Back and 54 Below’s Got Her
By: Ellis Nassour
Summer blahs? A little too much sun ‘n sand at Fire Island? The Good Wife, who’s been very, very bad, is in reruns; and you’re can’t be bothered with the scripted antics of Big Brother? Even Celebrity Wife Swap? There’s an alternative: the wild ‘n wooly, bitter and bittersweet Jackie Hoffman, who appearing in her new show, Old Woman, New Material at 54 Below three more Sundays – July 14, 21, and 28 – at 9:30 P.M.
Hoffman says, "I’m thrilled to be back in the Theatre District delighting audiences venting and kvetching without having to perform eight times a week!" She’s referring to not so long ago and the hit musical The Addams Family, which had ticketbuyers ROTF and critics rolling over their PCs.
The new show has plenty of the trademark Hoffman snark, with the always PG-17 hilarious and consummate curmudgeon "singing" and telling it like it is when it comes to all those Annie orphans and rowdy Matilda tots; and our beloved Mayor and his various campaigns to help the common good, not the least of which is the rollout of Citi’s bike share program [Can you adjust those seats? Had a flat yet?].
Hoffman is hot, hot, hot. Well, it is July and the temps are reaching 100. But she’s just rolled off a slew of mattresses at the gala one-night-only fundraiser for the Transport Group as restless Princess Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress.
In Old Woman, New Material, Hoffman opens with her spot-on and often X-rated declarations. She has no specific theme. "You want a theme?" she jokes. "I’ll give you a theme. There’s no work. I need the money!"
Her riotous stand-up covers observations about everything and everyone – such as the iPhone addicted, addled generation, and the getting "pulled, tucked, and lifted" craze.
The First Lady of Musical Theatre Patti LuPone doesn’t escape her venom or facially-contorting expressions. Even JH’s surely beloved 91-year-old mother can’t as JH relates taking her to see Oscar winner Helen Hunt expose her all in The Sessions.
There’re original songs and interpretations of Broadway classics, such as "I’m Still Here," which she instantly declassics. You can bet your bottom dollar, Sondheim never heard this rendition, where the sun doesn’t exactly come out tomorrow.
Has anyone noticed that when JH is slashing tunes to shreds and attempting to sustain those high notes that she sounds amazingly like The Merm. Just not quite in key.
Local Queens-born Hoffman made her first impact in Chicago working eight years with famed Second City comedy improv group, where she earned a Joseph Jefferson Award, the Windy City’s theater equivalent of the Tony. She took home another Jeff later with Amy and David Sedaris’ slyly-titled play One Woman Shoe. [Amy S. was a Second City mate of JH’s.] No slouch when it comes to drama, she co-starred at San Diego’s Old Globe in Wendy Wasserstein’s The Sisters Rosensweig. In 2001, she tackled a slew of roles in the Sedaris’ comedy, The Book of Liz, and was honored with an Obie.
On Broadway, Hoffman became a household word in some households in major featured roles in Hairspray and Xanadu. She expanded her fan base with solo shows at Joe’s Pub, appearances in movies, and numerous guest spots on series TV.
She’s the recipient of Time Out NY’s Outstanding Achievement Award, a Bistro Award, and a MAC for Best Female Standup. Her priceless comedy album, Jackie Hoffman Live at Joe’s Pub is available at www.psclassics.com.
To prepare yourself for the gales of laughter at Jackie Hoffman: Old Woman, New Material, enjoy the slew of videos at www.54Below.com.
The cover for Old Woman, New Material , directed by Michael Schiralli (JH’s Jackie Five-Oh, The Kvetching Continues) with keyboard accompaniment by Will Van Dyke (The Addams Family, Wicked), is $35-$45 with $25 food/beverage minimum. Purchase online at www.TicketWeb.com or call (866) 468-7619 [service fees apply]; or reserve by calling 54 Below, (646) 476-3551. For day-of tickets, call 54 Below after 4 P.M.itre D’ & Reservations: (646) 476-3551