American Buffalo

Broadway, Play

Theatre: Belasco Theatre

BOTTOM LINE: the revival of David Mamet's American Buffalo, starring John Leguizamo, Cedric the Entertainer and Haley Joel Osmet, opened this week. It's also closing this week. Although dismal ticket sales are cited as the reason the production is ending just as it's barely begun, it's here through Sunday and worth seeing if you get a chance.

Zak saw American Buffalo last night. Here's what he has to say about it...

I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed the most recent revival of David Mamet's American Buffalo at the Belasco Theatre. It was a really fast paced, solid production of one of Mamet's classic plays. I know Mamet's work isn't for everyone, but I really loved this production. It's raw, gritty, kick ass theatre. It's three guys sitting around talking about a rare coin heist and working out the uneasy dynamic of their friendship. It's guy's guy's theatre at it's best. It examines the complicated terrain of male friendship in a very real manner, which is a topic that is often not explored in American Drama. And apparently, based on the abrupt closing notice, that isn't for everyone. Which is a damn shame.

John Lequizamo was absolutely fantastic. It was a joy to watch his performance. Famous for appearing in such films as Moulin Rouge, Ice Age, Summer of Sam, Romeo + Juliet, and To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar, I forgot that he got his start on the stage and studied acting with Lee Strassberg at NYU. He truly is a gifted actor, and I hope that this excellent, albeit short lived, appearance on Broadway will catapult his film career to the next level. Seriously, put this guy in a great part that is worthy of his talent. Appearing along side Lequizamo is Academy Award Nominee, Haley Joel Osment from The Sixth Sense. After a long absence from the spotlight, Osment is adequate in his portrayal of a young junkie, but not in the same league as his costars. Rounding out the cast is Cedric the Entertainer. That's right. The comic probably most famous for his hysterical performance on The Kings of Comedy makes his Broadway debut with this ill-fated production. And you know what, he's pretty damn good. I was shocked. I was expecting him to be terrible, but he really steps up to the plate. It appears as if there is a legitimate actor waiting to burst out of this stand-up comic's shell and it's pretty sad that more people are not going to get to see it. All in all, a pretty good night at the theatre. A sad case of another Broadway casualty based on the current economic crisis. I think this play would have found its audience if given the time. Go see it before it's too late!

(American Buffalo plays through Sunday, November 23rd at the Belasco Theatre, 111 West 44th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. Look for cheap tickets at TKTS or buy the cheapest seats and move forward...assuming there will be room in the theatre to do so.)