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With Seán Martinfield

Seán Martinfield
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me - Much Too Much

By Seán Martinfield

May 12, 2006

MARTIN SHORT: FAME BECOMES ME is a faux-musical-biography sporting a sawed-off collection of derivative songs about songs, a smoke & mirrors script, headlined by a seemingly-desperate comedian who neither sings or dances - but, according to the promos - is headed for the lights of Broadway. Good. Once gone, next in line in this "Best of Broadway" series is the alleged final appearance of the 54-year-old Cathy Rigby in yet another fly-by of PETER PAN. A Broadway production? It closed in 1999. Holding my breath.

MS:FBM opened this Tuesday Night at the Curran Theatre, late. Even avoiding final bows and the now common-place standing ovation - it was long on commitment and short on contentment. It's … cute. It's an over-populated one-man-show supported (sometimes on stilts) by a 5-person / celebrity-impersonation team listed as "The Comedy All Stars". Among these able pretenders is the show's Tony Award winning composer Marc ("Hairspray") Shaiman. Add to its tally of theatrical clichés the built-in-gimmick of a "guest celebrity appearance", ours being a sparring-match interview with the edgy and scruffy Dennis Miller. In his fat-suit guise as "Jiminy Glick", Short's verbose and glandular alter-ego, we and the very cool Miller kept waiting for Short to toss the ball - in the right direction. Timing being everything, Miller blindsided the fumbling Short and - BAM! - outta the park. Ouch. Buddy, beware. Who do you suppose will show up tomorrow?! Certainly not the subscribers vaulting through the doors come Intermission.

"Fame Becomes Me" is two hours of much ado about nothing. Decades ago, in front of a live audience, through 120 non-stop minutes, better material was ground out week after week, year after year for "The Carol Burnett Show". Her scripts and musical production numbers were always bright and serviceable; holding up well even 30 years later in the "Best Of" DVD collections; frothy stuff appropriately tossed and forgotten tomorrow - no nonsense-hype about taking any variation of it to 42nd Street or any hint of moving the company to San Francisco's Kabuki Theatre - originally built to serve the needs of a Live Television Studio - and placing San Francisco on the Entertainment Industry's map. Splat! What a pity.

It's 2006, enter the collaboration of Short & Shaiman through the doors of the Shorenstein-Nederlander Organization.

It seems San Francisco cannot totally rid itself of a very glaring Red Tag: "A Provincial Town". Last month, City organizers proved their residency in a Jerk-Water Town as evidenced in the bumbling fiasco created at Lotta's Fountain for the long-awaited centenary celebration of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Heavy weighted in cut-rate Protocol and clueless in its choice of entertainers presenting America's National Anthem and The City's Official Anthem, golden opportunities for San Francisco's Golden Gate were thrown away with both hands. Fast upon these slippery heels and very lite in their respective loafers, comes this latest offering in the hugely promoted "Best of Broadway" series at the Curran. FAME BECOMES ME is not the best, neither is it of, nor has it been anywhere near Broadway. With one more 11-day try-out stint in Chicago - the mid-way point between our Here and New York's There - a quick glance at the map reveals a most certain truth. For Big League producers and promoters of authentic On Broadway Musicals, San Francisco is not only way-way-outta town, it bats in the minor leagues.

Fame might become the bantam weight Martin Short. But this New York bound turkey is about to be short shrifted - right in the Big Apple.




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