If laughter ever became a crime, this show would do hard time. It's a loving and detailed homage to the deft comics who honed their timing, mugging, and crowd-control skills in the raucous resorts of the Catskill Mountains. I caught the show in February at Miami Beach's immense Jackie Gleason Theatre, where almost everyone in the blue-haired, social-security-spending matinee crowd cheered each Catskill in-joke, from the slightest allusion to upstate New York truck-stop diners to crude tales about eating habits at spas like Grossinger's, Kutcher's, and the Concord. Winner of the 1992 Outer Critics' Circle Award and fresh from a year-and-a-half run at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, this delightful concoction stars three vintage Catskill-bred comics--Freddie Roman, Mal Z. Lawrence, and Dick Capri--as well as Louise DuArt, a comer who brings equal opportunity to the joke business. Your standard stand-up, the material touches on topics that still convulse Catskill crowds--marital miseries, obnoxious relatives, bad driving, and dietary challenges (including that classic contradiction, "The food here is lousy--and such small portions!"), all sprinkled with pungent Yiddish interjections that need no translation. Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe, 902-1500. Opens Monday, December 27, 7:30 PM. Through January 1: Tuesday, 7:30 PM; Wednesday, 2 and 7:30 PM; Thursday, 7:30 PM; Friday-Saturday, 8 PM; New Year's Eve show, $32-$77; other performances, $22-$42.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Martha Swope.