Last night at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, a little more than halfway through “The Motherf—-r with the Hat” the lights failed to come up after what was meant to be a quick scene change.
The house lights were brought up partway, and someone on the public address system said there would be a brief pause before the intermissionless show would go on.
A minute or so later, the voice on the PA asked “Is there a doctor in the house?” and added that the play would take a ten-minute break.
The show resumed with none of the five actors missing, so we were left to assume that whoever was ill must have been in the audience or the backstage crew.
It turned out that the star, Bobby Cannavale (left), had sustained a cut on his head backstage but you would have never known that he had any physical problems — the actor didn’t miss a beat in his awesome, Tony-nominated performance as the recovering alcoholic and ex-con Jackie.
(The New York Daily News reported today that the actor accidentally hit his head backstage during the scene change and received stitches for the wound following the performance.)
Cannavale gets strong support from Chris Rock, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Annabella Sciorra and Yul Vasquez, but he dominates the Stephen Adly Guirgis play about addiction and recovery.
The actor has been impressive before on film and on stage — he was terrific in the 2005 revival of “Hurly Burly” — but “Hat” moves him up the stage ladder several notches. The energy, the humor and the pathos of Jackie – who learns the limits of AA and “sponsorship” — powers Guirgis’ distinctive mix of comedy and tragedy.
The play is the product of a downtown troupe — LABrinth Theater Company — which is making its Broadway debut and giving a jolt of profane originality to the Great White Way.
And Bobby Cannavale deserves a “show must go on” award for the work he did Wednesday night.
“The Motherf—-r with a Hat” is set to end its limited run July 17 and shouldn’t be missed. Last night, I was able to score two good half-price tickets at the TKTS booth in Duffy Square.