“Image,” the new play by Jack Rushen currently playing at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival at the 14th Street Y Theatre, examines the behind the scenes activities of the unscrupulous publicist/manager Corbett as he deals with the drug overdose of one of his top clients. Gianna, his teenage singing sensation, lies near death in the ICU of Cedars-Sinai hospital. He recruits one of his surreptitious and devious employees Andrea, who can “sell ice to an Eskimo,” to convince Nicole, Gianna’s kooky, troubled, new age mother who is sequestered in the hospital chapel, to sign a contract for a book deal and other various lucrative options that would include her daughter.
The script is well crafted and sustains curiosity and tension, but is flawed by some implausible events that surround the plot. Although the constructive criticism of elaborating on these events may be of benefit, they would also reveal too much information necessitating a spoiler alert. The themes of moral ethics, greed, fame, and deception are all powerful tools used in constructing believable characters. There are enough twists and turns to keep the suspense at a comfortable level.
Director Gregory Fletcher keeps a good pace and keeps his cast appearing somewhat spontaneous which facilitates the lengthy periods of two-character dialogue. Some type of internal interruption could certainly aid those protracted conversations without sacrificing any anticipation. The cast presents authentic characters that ring true to the Hollywood debauchery. Jack Garrity turns in a sleazy Corbett and does what he can to emphasize his repugnant practices and callous behavior but needs more support from the script to provide better depth even though his character appears shallow. Anne-Marie Cusson blends intelligence and ingenuity into the survival tactics of Andrea, always willing to employ high risk to achieve success. Lisa Bosnar is solid yet flippant as Nicole the unstable mother, still healing from wounds of the past and fervently battling to save herself and her daughter.
Mr. Rushen just needs to pay a bit more attention to detail in order to produce a more convincing script that deals with ageless issues involved with the entertainment industry. He has an interesting concept that examines who people really are versus their “Image.” What must be sacrificed for fame and fortune?
All performances of the Broadway Bound Festival run at the 14th Street Y Theatre (344 East 14th Street). For further information about the BWB Festival, the schedule of performances, and to purchase tickets at $25.00 - $50.00 (VIP), please visit https://www.broadwayboundfestival.com/. Running time for “Image” is 90 minutes without intermission.
Photo: Lisa Bostnar and Anne-Marie Cusson.