Thursday, July 06, 2006

IN Magazine: Star Returns as Zero Mostel

The first articles about Jim hit the press yesterday. IN Magazine, which is a gay publication is online with its article entitled, "Star Returns as Zero Mostel." By Christopher Cappiello:

Actor/writer Jim Brochu won a best musical Ovation Award last year for writing The Big Voice: God or Merman and also snagged a best actor nomination for the same show. Brochu returns to the L.A. stage in July with Zero Hour, his original solo show portraying larger-than-life Broadway legend Zero Mostel.

Mostel is best remembered for originating the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, but he also won Tony Awards for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. Film fans may know him as the original Max Bialystock opposite Gene Wilder in The Producers—Mel Brooks’ 1960s film that spawned the musical sensation.

Zero Hour is set in 1977, at the end of the oversized musical star’s life. Audiences meet Mostel in his Chelsea art studio in Manhattan, where Brochu reminds us that Mostel considered himself a painter who supported his art by doing theater. The play includes memories of Mostel’s impoverished childhood on New York’s Lower East Side, his early career in stand-up comedy, and his eventual Broadway superstardom. Zero Hour takes place as Mostel is preparing for the Philadelphia pre-Broadway tryout of a new musical called The Merchant, based on Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Mostel ultimately performed one preview in Philadelphia before dying of a heart attack at the age of 62.

The big shoes (and pants!) of Mostel are a good fit for the large and loud Brochu. He wrote and starred in The Big Voice with his real-life partner of many years, Steve Schalchlin. The two-man musical traced both gay men’s paths through the treacherous terrain of their respective childhood religious upbringing: Schalchlin’s Southern Baptist roots and Brochu’s Brooklyn Catholicism. The pair also penned the multi-award-winning musical The Last Session, about a pop singer living with AIDS who decides to schedule one last recording session before planning suicide.

West Coast Jewish Theatre presents Zero Hour from July 5-Aug. 13 at the Egyptian Arena Theatre, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., in Hollywood. For tickets and more information, call (323) 595-4849 or visit www.westcoastjewishtheatre.org.

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