Nov 16, 2022

One-Person Shows Being Readied for Fall (Or Obscurity)

The question is will that “one person” also be the audience count?

By Ed Goldman

As a theatre staple, the one-person show dates back to even before there were staples. Permit me to digress.

According to the website, “Before staplers came along, we had tried just about everything, from sewing and gluing to clamping and skewering. Around 1200 C.E., though, an industrious group of medieval academics became the first to adhere pages using ribbon and wax, and while that practice has long since fallen by the wayside, they were also the first to bind them at the upper-left corner, as we do today.”

Edgy Cartoon

Casting Doubt

Okay, I get it.  The preceding is not why you clicked READ MORE when The Goldman State email arrived in your in-box this morning, so let’s give you your money’s worth. (And yes, I realize the column is free to subscribers. Our business model is based on volume.)

When you think of one-person shows, the late, great Hal Holbrook as the later, even-greater Mark Twain may come to mind. Or the recently departed Christopher Plummer as the long-gone John Barrymore. Or the still-on-time Holland Taylor as the late Texas Governor Ann Richards. You should, however, try to forget the late TV spy Robert Vaughn’s regrettable turn as the eternal Harry S Truman in “Give ’em Hell, Harry,” which should have been subtitled The Man From Kitchen. (Need I add that Vaughn’s audiences cried “Uncle!”?)

What you’re grasping intuitively is that compared to colossally expensive stage shows with large casts—like “Wicked,” “Hamilton” or the current Broadway smash “The Hugh Jack Man” (that may not be the correct title but I’ll bet you it’s why nearly everyone’s going to see it)—one-person shows are a lot cheaper to produce and can therefore provide backers with immense profits.

The challenge is to find a “one-person” subject sufficiently interesting to audiences of many persons, as well as an actor with sufficient drawing power.

With this in mind, and at long last, here are one-person shows doing out of-town tryouts this summer in New Haven, Connecticut; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts, Dinosaur, Colorado; Bangs, Texas, and our personal fave, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico (note: all are real towns. Except Boston):     

  • “Seth Rogen Is Johnny Depp: A Crisis of Dimples”
  • “Rosebud: My Life as a Spoiler-Alert Sled,” featuring, on alternate nights, the Keebler Elves
  • “Kevin Spacey: I Am The Usual Suspect”
  • “Seth Rogen Is Bill Cosby!”
  • Hillary Clinton as “Bill Clinton: Passing the Sell-by Date in American Life”
  • “Vladimir Putin: I Look Like the Male Organ in a Suit,” starring Henry Kissinger
  • “I Wonder Who’s Kissinger Now,” with Vladimir Putin  
  • “Go to Hell, Harvey!” Yes, Hollywood parasite Harvey Weinstein has taped a one-(semi)person show from the Correctional Treatment Center of the Twin Towers jail in downtown Los Angeles. He’s there awaiting trial on 11 charges of rape and sexual assault and has even been caught smuggling in Milk Duds (the previous 21 words are completely true, dear reader). So, canny humanoid that he is, Harv decided he may as well make a few bucks on it. He’s hired an all-convict video crew to record his every utterance. He believes if he can get the show nominated for an Oscar—look, he managed to get Gwyneth Paltrow a statuette for playing a woman playing a guy in “Shakespeare in Love”—the judge, jurors and his victims might give him a pass. Perhaps even a get-out-of-jail-free card. Hollywood forgives its violent bullies, after all, as I was just saying to Will Smith and Mel Gibson as they fought over who’d get to park my car. It got ugly when one of them began wielding a stapler.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw

As a nation, and as business leaders, it’s important to proudly recognize the sacrifices of military veterans and their families in our corporate families.

Golden Pacific Bank, a division of SoFi Bank, is closed on Veteran’s Day, a federal holiday set aside to honor and celebrate military veterans. Through the month of November, SoFi Bank celebrates “National Veterans and Military Families Month.”

Veterans, thank you for your service—and so much more. But how can we better observe Veterans Day and National Veterans and Military Families month beyond making that simple statement?

SoFi asked some of its staff who were veterans what they thought others should know about vets. A common response was to not be afraid to ask questions about their service and experiences as a vet.

When my father was saluted by fellow vets as they carefully carried him from his deathbed, I was dumbstruck. I didn’t know that side of my father—we never discussed it. I still don’t know exactly what he did. Something secret but probably important.

I’ve since then initiated chats with vets—and learned more about what the sacrifices were and how they changed world events. When you seek out discussions with vets, and feel their palpable pride, you start to sense the importance of what they do.

On a vacation last year, I felt a special and lingering sense of awe when visiting the Normandy Beach Banks of D-Day in France. It made me realize that I freeze up when I want to demonstrate my gratitude, especially since I never served.

So let me say thank you to all of our vets, their families, and all those who make sacrifices for my safety and well-being. You are our national heroes. And thank you to the businesses that take the time to recognize and thank those vets in our midst. It’s such an easy thing to do for people who did such difficult things for us.

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