Mom Theatre Blogger: STEVE: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

Photo credit: Monique Carboni

Photo credit: Monique Carboni

Stevens abound as a running name gag in this funny, heartfelt show by newcomer playwright Mark Gerrard who adeptly tackles the subjects of enduring friendship, sexting, infidelity, aging, and other quandaries of life and death, mixed in with a multitude of pop cultural/theatre references that will tickle any Broadway (particularly Sondheim) lover.

The New Group is presenting the world premiere of Steve, directed with creativity and competence by Cynthia Nixon. The likable actors emerge singing piano-side, prior to the start of the show, and end the play singing, depicting what appears to be a comfortable camaraderie both on and off stage….even if strategically set up by Nixon.

The production features a well-honed cast including Ashlie Atkinson, Mario Cantone, Jerry Dixon, Francisco Pryor Garat, Malcolm Gets and Matt McGrath. Steven (McGrath), a failed Broadway chorus boy turned stay-­at-­home dad, celebrates yet another midlife birthday with his gay besties and is riddled with fear and uncertainty. Is Stephen, his partner of 14 years, faithful?  Why is his best gal pal, an overweight lesbian, and the egg donor of his son, facing an untimely death due to cancer? And what has his own life amounted to?

None of these are questions we haven’t heard posed before, but McGrath asks them with an ache in his heart, and as inquiring minds, we all at some point in our lives yearn for the answers to life’s big questions, even if we don’t vocalize it.  We especially feel his emotional pain as he is asking these questions on the deathbed of Carrie, who herself earlier chronicled, in a dream sequence, the highs and lows of her life including breaking up with her girlfriend, having many sexual conquests, writing a blog that may get turned into a movie that she will never get to see, etc.

Nixon artfully mixes the tragic with the comedy.  She sensitively stages a tender and humorous seaside scene with McGrath clutching the urn with his friend’s ashes, as he works to rekindle his failed relationship, while others are hooking up in the woods.  In another scene, we see Getts on the phone with his mother, as he receives rapid-fire sexting messages from Dixon, who is graphically proposing a three way….and the messages are projected on the minimalist wall of the set, which goes on a bit too long, but is clever and well-executed.

This production features Scenic Design by Allen Moyer, Costume Design by Tom Broecker  Lighting Design by Eric Southern, Sound Design by David Van Tieghem, and Projection Design by Olivia Sebesky. Music Coordinator is Seth Rudetsky , Valerie A. Peterson is the Production Stage Manager.

For anyone who treasures their friendships, especially with the passage of time, Steve explores, with raw honesty and spiffy dialogue, the value of having a history with people who ultimately have your back, yet hold nothing back.  That’s a tough and precious combination to find.

Steve, 90 minutes with no intermission, is playing a limited Off-­Broadway engagement run through December 27 at The Pershing Square Signature Center (The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre, 480 West 42nd Street).  Visit

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  1. One Response to “Mom Theatre Blogger: STEVE: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman”

  2. The review is so well-written.

    By Rochelle Shapiro on Nov 25, 2015