Laughter on the 23rd Floor | Athenaeum Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Laughter on the 23rd Floor Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 29 2014

Neil Simon has said he got a great education in the early 1950s, working as a junior writer on Sid Caesar's classic TV series Your Show of Shows. With this 1993 play, Simon pays tribute to his alma mater. Caesar is represented by Max Prince, a stressed-out comic genius who punches walls and pops horse tranquilizers as he battles NBC suits for the integrity of his show. Simon himself appears in the form of narrator Lucas Brickman. And other significant figures turn up in similarly thin disguises. Like most memoirists, Simon wants to cover a lot, and so the script wanders a bit. Is it about Prince's war with the network? The McCarthy-era blacklist? Lucas's professional coming of age? The answer is a vague yes, and director David Belew doesn't make it more specific in his staging for Eclectic Full Contact Theatre. Nor does any cast member draw enough focus to make a difference—though Michael Woods is amusingly shell-shocked as Prince. —Tony Adler

Price: $25

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