Lucky Guy, Lucky Audience

Lucky Guy, Lucky Audience

Not surprisingly Nora Ephron’s Broadway valentine to tabloid journalism, Lucky Guy, starring Tom Hanks, is attracting the fourth estate. Seen taking a busman’s holiday at Wednesday’s preview performance were Sue Simmons, former news anchor at WNBC in NYC (we miss you, Sue!); Ellis Henican, Newsday columnist, radio host and political analyst on Fox News; and Hal Rubenstein, fashion director of InStyle, attending with his husband, David Nickle, fittingly on the first day the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. An embargo has been placed on critics’ reviews of Lucky Guy until after opening night (Apr. 1). But, not to let the cat out of the bag, Tom Hanks as Mike McAlary is a revelation. Who knew? Or am I being naïve? To put his performance in perspective, here’s the latest sound bite from Alec Baldwin on this season’s Shia LaBeouf debacle (LeBeouf exited the cast of Baldwin’s play, Orphans, under a cloud a few days into rehearsals). Talking to Vulture, Baldwin had this to say about movie stars doing live theater: “… there are people who are film actors who have a great legacy in the theater. Some of the greatest movie stars had really serious theater careers and still do. And many film actors, though, who are purely film actors, they’re kind of like celebrity chefs, you know what I mean? You hand them the ingredients, and they whip it up, and they cook it, and they put it on a plate, and they want a round of applause. In the theater, we don’t just cook the food and serve it. You go out in the garden and you plant the seeds and you grow it. You know, it’s a really very, very long, slow, deliberate—it’s the opposite of film acting. It’s a much more intensive and kind of thoughtful process. And there are people who that’s just not their thing.” Several points: Remember Hanks’ movie That Thing You Do! (1996), which he directed and starred in? Theater is now Hanks’ thing. And to continue Baldwin’s culinary imagery, his performance in Lucky Guy is well-done. He’s harvesting his garden and firing up the grill eight performances a week. Welcome to Broadway, Mr. Hanks. Will you put your Tony Award between your two Oscars?