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Alone Together

Infos zum Theaterstück:
Probeaufführungen:  ab 08.10.84,  15 Stück
Datum des Eröffnungsabends:  21.10.84
Datum der Schlussaufführung:  12.01.85 (nach
                                    insg. 97 Vorstellungen)
Infos zu diesem Bericht:
Stadt: New York City
Theater: Music Box Theatre
Quelle der Kopfangaben: Internet Broadway Database

Kritik von Frank Rich (The New York Times) am 22.10.84:
With "Alone Together," his new play at the Music Box, the writer Lawrence Roman returns to Broadway for the first time since his 1960 hit, "Under the Yum-Yum Tree." Although Broadway has changed a great deal during the quarter century since then, Mr. Roman has not. "Alone Together" recalls those long- running, latter-day domestic farces, such as "Never Too Late" and "The Impossible Years," that became obsolete once audiences discovered that television situation comedies offered the same goods for free.
Mr. Roman's sitcom is so antediluvian that he might have titled it "My Three Sons Revisited" instead of sullying the good name of a perfectly lovely Arthur Schwartz-Howard Dietz song. He tells us of three young- adult sons who suddenly return to their parents' Los Angeles home after experiencing some hard knocks in the tough real world outside. The parents, who had been looking forward to solitary togetherness after 30 years of child rearing, spend two acts trying to push their progeny out of the nest for good. They succeed only after Dad (Kevin McCarthy), heretofore a dunderhead, delivers a lecture that proves that father really does know best.
Both Dad and Mom (Janis Paige) blame their children's regressional behavior on Dr. Spock and the permissive excesses of that "dumb time," the 1960's. Aside from this message, only a judicious sprinkling of four-letter words (almost exclusively given to the female characters) and the two-hour-plus running time distinguish "Alone Together " from a black-and-white rerun. Even so, Mr. Roman has problems stretching the play to a full evening: he relies so heavily on phoned-in developments that the installation of all the required phone equipment becomes a major plot twist in its own right in Act I.
At times the playwright seems to assume that Broadway theatergoers are even less sophisticated than a Nielsen household. He painstakingly explains that M.I.T. stands for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and provides not one but two lines further identifying the school as "the most prestigious university in the country." We're also asked to believe that the son (Don Howard) who's fled from M.I.T., a mathematician, would set the house on fire with a scientific experiment - and that another son would have developed an accent as thick as J. R. Ewing's after only a few years of living in Texas. For spice, Mr. Roman throws in a scantily clad bombshell of a coed who, in the time-honored sitcom fashion, proves to have the morals of a nun.

For all its vulgarity, "Alone Together" is too sincere to be offensive: the author genuinely aspires to say something about parents and children, however witlessly. The stars, who haven't been away from Broadway quite as long as Mr. Roman has, deserve better. It's embarrassing to watch Mr. McCarthy, an often elegant actor, and the chipper, handsome Miss Paige grope about on a fur rug to attempt some "high-decibel intercourse" just before their first prodigal son storms back home. Worse, these two veterans must act with a supporting cast that, with the exception of Mr. Howard, seems to have been recruited from a dinner theater production of "L'il Abner."
The director, Arnold Mittelman, has allowed two distinguished designers, Jane Greenwood (costumes) and Arden Fingerhut (lighting), to get away with exceptionally slovenly work. Karl Eigsti, whose scenic representation of an appliance-laden West Los Angeles dream house provides two levels of slamming doors, emulates the set employed by the third-rate sex farce in "Noises Off" - only in "Alone Together," the tacky design is not intended as a parody. When Miss Paige's Mom accuses her sons of "laying out all their suffering like so much Tupperware," Mr. Roman is, for once, telling us the unexaggerated truth.

Alone Together
By: Lawrence Roman
Directed by: Arnold Mittelman
At the Music Box Theatre,  239 W. 45th St.,  New York,  NY.

Kevin McCarthy ...... George Butler
Janis Paige ........... Helene Butler
Dennis Drake ......... Keith Butler
Alexandra Gersten ... Janie Johnson
Don Howard ........... Michael Butler
Kevin O'Rourke ....... Elliott Butler

George Guidall (George Butler),  Tudi Wiggins (Helene Butler)
William Fichtner (Elliott Butler, Keith Butler, Michael Butler),   Mary Ellen Stuart (Janie Johnson)