'Frankie and Johnny In the Clair De Lune' was written by Terrence McNally. This romantic comedy is appropriate for audience members over the age of 16 as it contains some adult situations and nudity. But unlike many shows today, the adult content is not erroneous. The show seems to start out on an ordinary note with a predictable plot line, but the powerful writing of McNally puts the show a head above its competitors.
The show centers on the two title characters, Frankie, a waitress and failed actress, and Johnny, the cook who works with her. They are both middle-aged and homely. Both have been hurt in past relationships and are looking for a mysterious fix to all of those afflictions. The problems are ordinary, but the details pull the show into the extraordinary. The fact that the show is based on problems we all face, or will face, draws the audience into the story. They become enthralled because they can imagine themselves as the title characters.
As is to be expected, fate brings Frankie and Johnny together. Both characters endured hardships in life and it is this common past that brings their futures together. Johnny's belief that they can build something greater than what they have now is the only thing that holds the pair together. Though the nature of the relationship is not evident at first, the audience suspects the road it soon will take. Frankie seems to want Johnny as only a fling, but Johnny spends much of the play trying to convince her that they can have more. Johnny hounds her day and night as she continues to reject him. By the end of the first act, though, a real connection is made.
Whether the show is staged in an extravagant Broadway theatre with well-known actors, like Edie Falco as Frankie and Stanley Tucci as Johnny, or lesser-known performers, the show brings out emotion in audiences every night. The show runs about two hours and fifteen minutes, all of it enthralling. 'Frankie and Johnny' has been performed at famous Broadway venues as well as other legendary theatres. The summer of 2004, 'Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune' was featured at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.
Though sets vary, most of the show takes place in a Manhattan apartment. The show relies more on dialogue than action. Tickets sold out to the first performances of the show when it debuted on June 2, 1987 in an off-Broadway theatre in New York City. The Manhattan Theatre Club provided the stage. The first season was directed by Paul Benedict and starred Kathy Bates and F. Murray Abraham. The impressive performances spurred the movement that took 'Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune' to the heights it has reached today.
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