FOR THE LOVE OF TIFFANY
nytheatre.com review by Robert Kent
Matthew Brookshire and Thomas Mizer's whimsical new musical,
For the Love of Tiffany, begins with a scene from the
made-for-TV movie "Turn Another Cheek: The Tiffany Jenkins Story
Starring Tiffany Jenkins as Tiffany Jenkins." Portrayed
sportingly by Nancy Opel (Urinetown), Tiffany Jenkins is
well-known to viewers of Wifetime, a cable channel devoted to
melodramas starring actresses of a certain ilk (i.e., Joan van
Ark and Valerie Bertinelli). To her rivals, Ms. Jenkins is a
"poor man's Stephanie Zimbalist" (that's an insult, I think). To
her fans, however, she's a small-screen legend whose credits
include the tearjerkers "Flat on My Back" and "Hands to God: An
August 15, 2003
With lyricist Amanda Green and composer Curtis Moore, Brookshire and Mizer have concocted a flawed, yet entertaining musical that lovingly mocks "television for women." Brookshire's lively direction and Jen Bender's colorful costumes add energy to a script that cleverly re-imagines plot elements from almost every direct-to-cable film ever made.
The wonderfully outlandish story follows Stephanie (Marnie Nicolella), a milquetoast receptionist at Shawshank Realty who considers herself Tiffany Jenkins' biggest fan. Soon, Stephanie and Tiffany's lives intertwine. The women get caught in a big-bucks real-estate scam that could land Stephanie in prison and cause Tiffany's financial ruin. Also part of the scheme are Stezen (Jonathan Dokuchitz), a handsome realtor with amnesia; Trevor McBain (Dokuchitz), Tiffany's mute, mysterious husband; Gretchen (Amanda Green), Tiffany's triple-amputee maid; Clay (Jeremy Peter Johnson), Tiffany's incredibly hunky gardener; and others.
Surprisingly, Green and Moore's tunes end up being the show's weakest link. Several songs fail to match the script's broad, irreverent tone. For example "'Twas the Night Before Prison," a supposed parody of an earnest 11 o'clock ballad becomes exactly what it aims to satirize. Others, including "It's Over, Stephanie" and "Real Estate Broker," would be best if left on the cutting room floor.
Despite a few musical misses, Green and Moore do hit their stride with two knockout showtunes, the often-reprised anthem "Let America Come" and "Half of Me," which are richly performed by Opel and the charismatic Dokuchitz, respectively.
Although For the Love of Tiffany is not yet ready for prime-time, it's surely more fun than a night at home watching such Wifetime fare as "Lindsay Wagner in 'Bars Around My Heart'" or "Richard Chamberlain in 'Stranger with My Face.'"