Clever Little Lies’ Tony-Winning Playwright Joe DiPietro Ponders the Comedies That Got Away
December 7th, 2015
by Joe DiPietro
The new off-Broadway comedy from Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro, Clever Little Lies, provides a perfect night out for theatre fans—you'll go from hearty laughs to seriously feeling moved. Also, as the holidays approach, it's pretty much the ideal show to bring mom to.
Photo by Matthew Murphy
Which, of course, should come as no surprise when you consider that DiPietro is the man who created Memphis, All Shook Up, I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Toxic Avenger and The Second Mrs. Wilson.
Photo by Joan Marcus, T. Charles Erickson & Carol Rosegg
Below, BroadwayBox talks to the scribe about the five Broadway shows he most wishes he could go back in time and see the original productions of.
Since Clever Little Lies is a comedy, I thought I’d time-travel back to 5 comedies .
Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple (Plymouth Theatre, 1965 )
A huge hit starring Walter Matthau and Art Carney. The show that established Neil Simon’s as America’s funniest playwright. Though it’s still delightful today, imagine how much funnier it would’ve been if you had walked into the theatre knowing little about its plot or characters.
George Kaufman’s The Butter and Egg Man (Longacre Theatre, 1925)
I’m a huge fan of George Kaufman comedies, but this rarely revived play is probably my favorite. It contains many of Kaufman’s favorite devices—a naïve rube, backstage characters, snappy dialogue.
Guy Bolton, PG Wodehouse and George & Ira Gershwin’s Oh, Kay! (Imperial Theatre, 1926)
My Gershwin musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It, was based on this 1920’s saga of bootleggers, chorus girls and playboys. I would love to have seen how the original jokes work (did people really laugh at such corny lines?) and to have heard that score in all its orchestral glory.
Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Billy Rose Theatre, 1962)
Not truly a comedy, but still riotously funny. If you locked a bunch of playwrights in a room (please don’t) this would probably be the consensus choice for the best American play ever written. The shock of that dialogue alone must have been exhilarating.
Andrew Bergman’s Social Security (Barrymore Theatre, 1986)
Mainly to see the star of Clever Little Lies, the great Marlo Thomas, romp around a Broadway stage under Mike Nichol’s direction. Marlo is a theatrical force of nature and I kick myself for having missed this one.
See Marlo Thomas and the rest of the superb cast in Joe DiPietro’s acclaimed new comedy ‘Clever Little Lies’ at off-Broadway’s Westside Theatre through March 20, 2016.