Review: Julia Sweeney is Older, Wider and Wonderful

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  • Jill Weinlein, Chief Los Angeles Critic

Opening night at the Geffen Playhouse of “Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider” I didn’t recognize the beloved 90s Saturday Night Live superstar, as she walked out onstage dressed in black pants, shirt and shoes.

The friendly comedian who created and brought the androgynous character “Pat” to life on SNL, is older.  Her hair has turned gray and she is a tad wider, however within two minutes, this raw and vulnerable woman sparkles onstage with joy and giddiness performing in the small and intimate Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater.

This one-woman show is the latest installment in the Geffen Playhouse Spotlight Entertainment Series. She first premiered it in April 2018 at The Second City in Chicago. “It’s a dream come true to perform at the Geffen,” she told us.

When I see someone I admired while growing up, grow old, it makes me feel old too. As Sweeney shares in her opening monologue, it’s hard to recognize the woman in the mirror reflecting back at you.

Women in their 40s and beyond will appreciate and relate to Sweeney. She is about to  turn 60 this year and is ok with it. “Going gray, you are now invisible,” she said. “It’s almost like having a Superpower.”

She has a great way of looking into the audience and drawing them into her stand-up, storytelling as she laughs at herself and others in her life. She shares her hilarious take on parenting an adopted daughter named Mulan, her life being married to her Jewish husband Michael, her views on religion and becoming an atheist, her recovery from cervical cancer, views on President Trump, and the freedom of becoming an empty nester.

Even if Sweeney is getting older and wider, in her mind, she feels younger than her true age and is excited about the new chapters in her life. You will walk away feeling hopeful too.

Stage Manager: Bella Luna, Sound Board Operator: Mario Gurrola, Light Board Operator: Shannon Barondeau.

Performance Schedule now through February 17 Tuesday – Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

 The show runs approximately 90 minutes. There will be no intermission.

 Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse

10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024

 Tickets are currently priced at $30 - $60. Available in person at the Geffen Playhouse box office, by phone at 310.208.5454 or online at www.geffenplayhouse.org. Fees may apply. Rush tickets for each day’s performance are made available to the general public 30 minutes before showtime at the box office. $35.00 General / $10 Student