a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

I’ve always thought that whatever unfortunate production found itself mounted at the slightly out-of-the-way Cort Theater on Broadway EAST, a bit, on W.47th St. was always doomed to bomb. I’ve always thought of the Cort as a Flop House.

And when I saw to my dismay that
a)The NEW “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was playing at the Cort, and
b) that it wasn’t a musical, I knew I was in for a bumpy ride. Or rather a bump-less night. I don’t know how I stayed awake.

When the most exciting moment of the (ENDLESS) evening turned out to be the leading man, Cory Walker Smith taking all his clothes off and getting into a bathtub, completely needlessly. Totally gratuitously. But suddenly the talent-free Smith suddenly showed his REAL talents, and I now knew why he was cast in the part. He’s
got the slammin’,scuplted, muscular body and, er, talents, to make up for his lackluster acting skills.

His co-star and leading lady Emilia Clarke, then also needlessly disrobed, and joined him in the bath and the bubbles.

This was supposed to signify…well, whatever it was I didn’t care, by that point.

How bad was “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”? Well, it was soooo bad, that if you were someone who had never had a previous encounter with the works of the late Truman Capote, you’d think “Why the fuss?”

And this production is so dreary, on every level, I don’t think it will still be running by the time I finish typing this sentence.

Already adapted into a musical that never opened, starring Mary Tyler Moore no less in 1966, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is not a flop-proof classic.

Light as air and paper-thin as a novella to start with, the legendary film version starring Audrey Hepburn iconically summed up the social strivings of an era. Hepburn as Holly Golightly was utterly divine and floated on gossamer wings through 1960s Manhattan. She epitomized the struggling, moon-struck yearner in everyone, who comes to New York City. She was the essence of romance. Of dreams striving to be fulfilled. Of someone, who you cared about if her heart was broken, and…well…She made film history.

A generation identified with her. You never forgot her, and “Moon River”! “Moon River” was FROM THIS MOVIE! It won the Oscar for Best Song and Henry Mancini’s dreamy, charming, zany music won Best Score. Audrey Hepburn on that fire-escape strumming her guitar and breaking your heart with “Moon River.” Poignant, haunting, magnificent.

And they have the nerve! The outright GAUL! to have Emilia Clarke attempt a NEW tune-less tune, also strumming a guitar, also on a fire-escape, that was so dirge-like it reminded me of a funeral march. I wanted to escape, the theater, but alas, it was just the first act, and there was much more suffering, dullness and bad acting to be endured for nearly two more narly hours!

Emilia Clarke is a British TV star and I imagine quite photogenic in a close-up. She’s evidently wowed the world in “Game of Thrones” on HBO.(I’ve never seen it.) But whatever the camera reveals of her talents, the stage just emphasizes what she doesn’t have, which is any kind of presence whatsoever.

Could she have been any worse?

No class, no style, no ethereal social butterfly her Holly Golightly, her Holly was like the Maltese Falcon, a fake bird made of lead. The great costume designer Colleen Atwood is also defeated here. Her clothes for Holly at least TRIED to suggest an effervescence. But in fifty shades of grey, which was the predominant color of the dreary slide-projected set, she just faded into the background as some gawky girl tottering around in her mother’s high heels and finery. I was around New York in the ’60s, and believe me it was anything BUT grey!

Warhol’s divine drag star Holly Golightly, 40 years ago, in “Trash” had that demented, delusions of grandeur diva thing going on ALL THE TIME. I kept thinking of the great story about her in real life, when she successfully emptied out the French Ambassador’s wife’s bank account. Then went back again A SECOND TIME and this time the impersonation landed her “in the hooskow” as she put it to me on the Christmas episode of my TV show in 1992.
IOW, Ryker’s Island. I must re-run that show again soon.

This is what this “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was making me think of….And it also made me think of how much like Christopher Isherwood’s Sally Bowles, Capote’s Holly Golightly really was. Did Capote read Isherwood’s”I Am a Camera” of his Berlin stories, and just decide “Oh, I can do better than THAT?” But did he?

And yes, I kept waiting for the band to strike up and the music to begin, but alas, it never did. The actors just “spoke” Oy vay.

And of yes, George Wendt wandered around, in a miniscule part of a bartender, looking embarrassed, like he was looking for the exit.

And the cat! Oh yes! The cat! The cat was great! I really believed she was a cat! And the cat scampered off looking for the exit, just like George Wendt was doing.

And so was I. As soon as I possibly could.


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