I wish I had Bobby Goldman’s faith that New York is filled with attractive, charming, emotionally stable older men looking for relationships. In “Curvy Widow,” Ms. Goldman and Drew Brody’s energetic one-act musical, which opened on Thursday at the Westside Theater, there’s a guy like that around every corner — right next to some enormous idiots. Otherwise the title character, Bobby (Nancy Opel), would have no story.
Ms. Opel, a personable Broadway veteran (and a Tony Award nominee for “Urinetown”), plays an affluent, confident 50-ish New Yorker whose husband dies at the beginning of the show — in the middle of the first number, in fact. He was a famous writer, and she owns a construction company, which is the sort of uncommented-upon oddity you get when you base a script on real life. (Ms. Goldman’s biography lists her as a “contractor,” and her husband was James Goldman, the stage and screenwriter — “Follies,” “The Lion in Winter” — who died in 1998.)
Bobby charges the funeral to a credit card (“You mean I could get miles?” she says in wonder), then, calling herself Curvy Widow on dating websites, rejoins the singles world. She finds contemporary photography (a flurry of off-putting penis close-ups), timeless truisms (married men aren’t available on holidays) and biological complications (painful postmenopausal intercourse, which inadvisedly receives a lengthy musical number, “Gynecologist Tango”).
The story, directed by Peter Flynn, seems headed for a classic happy ending or an updated version of “An Unmarried Woman” (victory in self-actualization), and neither promises much satisfaction. Mr. Brody’s music and lyrics are pleasant but insight-free (“Do I drink coffee?/ Do I eat fruit?,” then “Tonight I sleep alone”). Ms. Goldman’s book is often witty but decidedly self-congratulatory. After a couple of comic embarrassments (one man cuts their date short to spend more time with his dog), things go annoyingly well for Bobby. She buys and renovates a spectacular downtown loft to escape her Park Avenue memories. Masses of men click on her profile. One suitor is nicknamed Per Se, for the wildly expensive restaurant he invites her to.
The three actors (Ken Land, Alan Muraoka and Christopher Shyer) who play all the male characters (doctors, dates, waiters, a ghost in a dressing gown) deliver some entertaining group numbers. As the obligatory circle of female friends, Andrea Bianchi, Elizabeth Ward Land and Aisha de Haas are given less interesting things to do. But then, Ms. Opel’s Bobby wouldn’t want to share the spotlight.
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