It's also changed. The intermission is gone, as he notes. (Jim didn't change a word; he just cut Zero's first act exit, turning the piece into a 90 minute tour de force.)
Bringing such an iconoclastic, bigger-than-life personality as Zero Mostel to life is no easy feat, but Jim Brochu, in his one man show, Zero Hour, thoroughly captures the essence of Mostel the comedian, actor, and painter.
Now that we've moved to the Actor's Temple, which is like coming home, since it's where we did The Big Voice, Zero really fits the environment. It's Old School Theater. One of the last landmark hold-outs to another generation and history of New York Stage. (Stained glass windows to Sophie Tucker and Joe E. Lewis!).
Jim knew from the beginning that he was not going to do a show that tried to reproduce Zero's greatest bits. He's not an impersonator and all you would get, all due respect to Jimmy's talents as a comedian, Second Best Zero. You can't outdo Zero. If you could outdo Zero, there'd be no reason to write a play about him. But what audiences have all said -- and this includes some of Zero's most devoted and closest friends -- is what Stu says at the end of his review:
Brochu, a large man himself, just like Mostel, is constantly in motion on the small stage at the Actor’s Temple Theater, an actual synagogue that rents out its sanctuary space part of the week as an Off-Broadway theater.
The back-story of Forum as well as his recollections of Fiddler on the Roof are just a small part of Zero Hour. There is no singing or dancing. The production is really about the Zero Mostel the public never knew—the suffering and tortured artist who, in reality, just wanted to be a painter.
Jim Brochu, who also wrote the show, eerily conjures up Mostel in both speech and girth. Friends in real life, Brochu serves himself well by not trying to recreate memorable moments from Mostel’s past that could easily turn into parody or self-serving aggrandizement. Instead, he keeps the audience enraptured with personal stories that captivate, enthrall, and charm.Being a small show, even though we've been running since November, there are still reviewers who are just now discovering Zero Hour. It's also nice to hear them analyze it a bit and realize just what a little miracle Jim has pulled off. You really do feel like you're in the room with Zero. It's magic.