Enter Laughing Stocks
Enter Laughing, The Musical proved to be one of the biggest hits in the history of New York City’s York Theatre Company, with audiences being delighted for months with Joseph Stein and Stan Daniels’ adaptation of Stein’s play, based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Carl Reiner, about a 1930s shop boy from the Bronx who pursues his dream of becoming a leading man on stage — all the while facing mounting pressures from his despondent girlfriend, dismissive boss, distracted best friend, disgusted acting coach, and disapproving parents.
The show, which may soon hit Broadway, is now getting a run from August 9 to September 4 at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, featuring a mix of the York cast — including Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, Josh Grisetti, and Emily Shoolin — along with Broadway veterans Richard Kind and Kate Shindle. TheaterMania recently spoke with Kind, Shoolin, and Tucker about the show.
THEATERMANIA: What are the benefits to doing the show out here in Sag Harbor as opposed to doing it again in the city?
MICHAEL TUCKER: The beach, weather, fresh corn, fresh tomatoes.
EMILY SHOOLIN: A grill in your backyard. A backyard.
TM: You guys have such a large cast, and it’s a relatively small stage here at Bay Street. How are you managing?
ES: It’s bigger than the York. We always like to joke that when you’re putting on your makeup there, if you go to move your arm to put on blush you’re hitting someone in the back.
TM: Are the people out here different than in New York City?
MT: I don’t think I’ve ever been treated as well as I’ve been treated by the people at Bay Street. They really care about our output.
RICHARD KIND: Is that true? Because I’m on the board here and I take pride in that. Look, this is my fourth time coming back here. This is a phenomenal theater. They attempt to do not exactly what Williamstown does, but not exactly what Long Island Music Theater does either. I think this is as close to the middle of the road as you get. I always say we probably won’t do Chekhov here, but we won’t do Hello, Dolly! either.
TM: Michael, I hear you’re a great dancer! Did you train in dance technique, or are you naturally good?
MT: I was born that way. I do a number with Ray DeMattis and it’s one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my life. I really enjoy it.
ES: It’s such a great number — so much so that I have a scene right after it, and I hate going on stage right afterwards. I’m always thinking, “Oh God, nothing’s going to top that.” Back at the York, Josh and I would always sit backstage just watching eagerly, like we had never seen it before.
TM: Richard, what can you tell us about your dancing abilities?
RK: I do not dance much. I don’t sing that much. But I say a lot of words.
TM: Do you think this is going to be as big a hit as it was in New York?
RK: I would get tickets early, because I think the word of mouth on this thing is going to be so strong. It’s true that that not everybody knows Joe Stein, even though he wrote Fiddler on the Roof. Not everybody knows Stan Daniels, although he was responsible for Taxi and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Carl Reiner, they’ll know. But this is a show audiences should know! And I guarantee you a show that is more enjoyable and more satisfying than 40 percent of the musicals now on Broadway. And you don’t have to pay Broadway prices!