Reasons To Be Happy

Neil Labute + Reasons To Be Happy
Friday, October 21 st, 2016 at 00:10 am Dr. Joy Browne
Director (s):
Neil Labute
Jenna Fischer, Leslie Bibb, Josh Hamilton, Fred Weller
Off-Broadway, Celebs on Stage, Comedy

Neil Labute’s latest is Reasons to Be Happy, and either you love Neil Labute or you don’t; although I’m not sure why I say that because I’m probably somewhere in the middle. This has a great cast in it, and is somewhat of a continuation of his play he did 4-5 years ago called Reasons to Be Pretty. This has got Josh Hamilton as Greg, Jenna Fischer as Steph, Leslie Bibb as Carlie, and Fred Weller as Kent, so if you’ve seen Reasons to Be Pretty, you’ll recognize Greg, Steph, Carly, and Kent, who have interchanging relationships. In this one, the opening scene opens very much the same way Pretty did, although Pretty opened in bed and this opens in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s, with two exes who are having at each other. I’m not going to tell you too much about it, because it’s much more fun to discover it. If you’ve seen Neil Labute in the past you’ll think you’ve seen this before, but you haven’t; you’ve just seen the characters and one of the sets before, which is very memorable. I think Josh Hamilton has such a sweetness to him so that the persona of Greg is more befuddled than mean. I had the sense the character was completely selfish and self involved in the first one, and in this one he’s a bit selfish and self involved, but gentler; or maybe it’s just that they’re cheating a little bit more in the casting and Josh Hamilton is just a more lovable character. This is probably one of my favorites of the Neil Labute works about men and women, and the misunderstandings that they have and how they work it out. Four stars.

Joy Meter