I Loved Sam Stone
nytheatre.com review by Ed Malin
October 16, 2011
It is the first day of college at a small New England school. Ben (Brett Epstein), who is charming, neurotic, and gay, meets his roommate Sam (David Jackson), who is cute, straight, and blunt. Though very different, they spend time drinking together and Ben comes out to Sam. Ben has only been honest about his sexual identity since the summer. Sam and Ben try out for the school play, where they meet the sexy actress Jordan (Blaire Carson) and Derrick (David Rosenblatt). College is a time of experimentation and personal growth, but while Sam believes he is getting close with Jordan, Ben is all alone. Ben has never had male friends, and is found to be giving more to his roommate than he can reasonably get back. Also, the school of 197 students has only 6 homosexuals—although that number includes Derrick, who makes a pass at Ben later on. Always-confident Sam is in fact destined not to get the girl, so where does that leave Ben?
This is a touching and funny play. Brett Epstein has written and performs in a story that will surely bring you back to college days (or maybe a more tolerant version of yours). The performances by Jackson, Rosenblatt, and Carson are also stellar, each vulnerable in their own special way. Thanks to the nurturing of new plays at The Tank, this piece has found an appreciative audience, who were roaring with laughter for two hours. Director Daniel Durkin also did the set design, which contrasts the completely opposite characters: Ben has an exotic, embroidered coverlet while Sam has a gaudy poster of his favorite pinup girl.