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Curvy Widow

a World Premiere
by Bobby Goldman

COMPANY : Alliance Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Hertz Stage [WEBSITE]
ID# 2556

SHOWING : November 16, 2007 - December 16, 2007



Cybill Shepherd stars in this one-woman show about a woman (of a certain age) re-entering the Dating pool via the Internet. This production is the opening of a National Tour.

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No One Was Having a Good Time
by Dedalus
Sunday, December 2, 2007
At one point in “Curvy Widow,” the monologue written by Bobby Goldman and starring Cybill Shepherd, the nameless heroine describes her Internet Dating as an aggravating experience in which “no one was having a good time.” I found this ironic, since at no time in this play did I have a good time, or, if I am any judge of audience reaction, did anyone else. Ms. Shepherd, herself, gave the impression of wanting to be "anywhere but here."

I’ve always seen Ms. Shepherd as an underrated actress. I loved her sit-com, and even liked some of her early (and harshly criticized) performances in such movies as “Daisy Miller.” I’ve found her to be a very funny comedienne who let her own personality bring fresh air to what could be stale material.

Here, though, she is just plain awful. She moves from blocked position to blocked position with little or no motivation, and drones out the monologue, constantly dropping ends of sentences in that “I’m reading to you” style that sounds nothing like a person talking, and drains any such “reading” of energy or credibility. At no time in this production did I ever believe she was a real person talking to us. Every line, every sentence was a monochrome monotony, with little variance in volume or intensity. It made the ninety minutes of play drag unmercifully.

Because of this, I found it very difficult to judge the quality of the play itself. An autobiographical rumination of author Bobby Goldman’s real experiences in the Internet dating scene, it seemed as if there may be some potential here. Some lines and observations sounded as if they could be funny, but the lackluster delivery drained them of any humor. Instead, I was left with a “been-there seen-that” compilation of bad date stories. Structurally, there’s no attempt made to justify the character’s presence here telling us this. She’s not even given a name other than her “Curvy Widow” online “handle.” And why, oh why, would you write in off-stage costume changes for a monologue? It just stops the show dead in its tracks. (Of course, with its already slow pace, stock-still wasn’t that much of a change.) They play finally ended with some pseudo-inspirational drivel about being true to yourself that was pointless, since the character started out being rather true to herself.

On a technical level, the show is given the full “Hollywood” treatment. The set is a stylized interior, with the walls shaped like computer keyboards and monitors. Onto the walls are projected nice images that are sometimes animated, and always provide a nice underscore to the scene. Even in the non-projection moments, the lighting catches the shapes nicely, making interesting designs and shadows.

In the final analysis, though, this is a rather pointless vanity production. Ms. Goldman mistakenly believes her banal experiences are interesting enough to share. Ms. Shepherd, while still attractive, obviously needs a stronger directing hand to bring out her strengths, and maybe the monologue format is too much of a stretch for her. I commend the effort and the desire to expand her “area of comfort,” and I wish her well as she takes this show around the country. But, at this point, I don’t believe she’s ready to share it with us.

And, I couldn’t help feeling a bit resentful that she chose Atlanta as a “first date” until she found a city she could treat as “Mr. Right.”

-- Brad Rudy (

Afternote: The "Buzz" at the Alliance is that after opening night, Ms. Shepherd "found her footing" and came alive on stage. One person even expressed surprise at how "far she'd come since opening night." That's a shame, since I cannot muster the motivation to give her a second chance. But, that's the report. take it as you will. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Wouldn't it be funny... by Okely Dokely
if Cybill Shepherd commented on this review, and got all belligerent and defensive and blasted the hell out of you? That'd be funny if not even Cybill Shepherd could resist getting wrapped up in drama.
Darn! by Dedalus
I guess this means I'm not getting a Christmas Card from her this year.

An interesting thought -- Many of my fellow opening night ushers had seen the show in previews and were commenting on "how far it still has to go." Last Friday, at the "Christmas Carol" opening (which, by the way, I heartily recommend as you'll see if Theatre Buzz ever posts my review), many of the same people were griping about the AJC review, which said pretty much what they had been saying. It sounds like a case of "Let somebody else say what I think so I don't have to take responsibility for it." Is that too political an interpretation?

-- Have a safe week!
Your Review of Christmas Carol... by Jay Sherman
was in the Theatrebuzz newsletter I got on Tuesday.


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