Speech & Debate by Stephen Karam is playing way under underground in the 62 seat Black Box beneath the Laura Pels Theatre on 46th Street. Tickets are only $25 but are worth so much more. It's a sold out show through December 30th but tickets can still be had by checking back for cancellations. Why see it? It's smart, funny and completely compelling play with music. It's about three teenagers, which usually I wouldn't find compelling in the least, but there are reasons that I connected with these three. They are subconsciously searching for a place to belong and fighting their own demons, both internal and external, while pushing the envelope at the same time. It's perfectly cast and I fell in love with the characters and the actors. Susan Blackwell plays a teacher and later a journalist - she isn't in it enough, but leaves an impression. Sarah Steele is ridiculously charming and funny. Jason Fuchs is as intense as any I've seen. Gideon Glick portrays his character to a tee, attempting to be aloof, but wearing his feelings on his sleeve. I could not be happier that I caught this perfect little work.
On my walk through the theatre district to west side transportation uptown, I felt the affects of the stagehands strike. It's the 16th day of the strike today. Times Square was practically a ghost town. It was an eerie and sad feeling for sure. Usually the M10 and M104 buses are full of theatre goers discussing what they've just seen, but last night all lines were practically empty. Talks between the stage hands and producers resume today. Fingers crossed that differences will be resolved.