Two years ago, my friend Meghan and I saw “Love, Loss and What I Wore” off Broadway and loved it. So when I heard that Theatre in the Round would be performing it, I told my friend Sarah to pick a day because we were going (Meghan has since abandoned me for the wonderful city of Seattle). Anyone who’s anyone has performed in the show in NYC – Kristin Chenowith, Jane Lynch, Rita Wilson, to name a few, and Dawn Wells was in the show I saw. In a nutshell, the play is a collection of stories about clothing and accessories worn by women throughout their lives and the memories associated with them. Based on the book by Ilene Beckerman, the stage show is by sisters Nora and Delia Ephron.
In the off Broadway production, the women wear black and spend most of the show sitting and reading the stories, but as the Theatre in the Round is, well, round, I wondered how they would go about performing to each section of the audience. To my pleasant surprise, the lovely cast comprised of Jean Wolff, Rachael Davies, Rachel Austin, Courtney Miner and Laura Zabel act out each scene, complete with costume changes and it was incredible. In the role of Gingy, who serves as the matriarch of the show, Wolff is spot on as a Jewish New Yorker, complete with accent and carriage. The rest of the cast performs various roles, and I am so impressed by how effortlessly they change accents, costumes and stage entrances. The clothing spans decades and styles, from Madonna to peasant shirts to cowboy boots.
Throughout the show, there are groups of what I would call rapid fire stories where there’s a topic and then the characters throw out one or two lines about each topic. Theatre in the Round presents these as therapy sessions which is perfect, complete with Gingy setting a box of tissues in the center before announcing the topic, such as Your First Bra. But of course, no tissues are needed to discuss Wearing Black.
I laughed for the majority of the show, if only for how much I could relate to the stories being portrayed. The show also touches on serious topics such as divorce, rape and breast cancer, however. The sincerity with which Davies and Zabel married each other as a same-sex couple had tears streaming down my face. Austin commands the stage during the search for the perfect purse, and by far my favorite Miner scene is Heels… Or Think?
This was my first visit to Theatre in the Round and I will definitely be back. I appreciate that their website has restaurant and parking recommendations and Love, Loss and What I Wore is a high quality show; the $22 ticket prices is more than worth it. This play is perfect for sisters, moms, girlfriends, really just women in general and it ends Sunday, May 18th, so get out there this weekend and see it. You will not regret it.