Sweatin' to the Hackneyed

Lenny can't resist driving home the point of every scene in his would-be musical as though Lou were a blockhead who couldn't figure out that one lonely fatty needs "to learn how to love herself." In return Lou gives Lenny such shallow pieces of advice as "You need to show the ongoing torment of these people every day of their life." Sometimes it's hard to tell whether they're discussing a musical or a group therapy session.

In fact, because Lenny presents himself as a guy desperately "chasing a dream" (a phrase he utters ad nauseum), it's sometimes difficult to know who needs self-esteem more, Lenny or the people he's singing about. Is there a future for The Last Supper? Thanks to Tom Giamario's low-rent set, which features both bookshelves and posters of Broadway shows amateurishly painted on the walls, one thing is sure -- the current production of The Last Supper is not going to make a lasting impression.

At least not at the theater. How it works on the viewer's stomach is another thing altogether. All that saccharine talk about food craving can be contagious. If you're wondering what kind of business the concession stand does during the intermission of a show that is obsessed with large thighs, on the night I attended few declined the spread of bagels, cream cheese, and cake waiting for them in the lobby. At one point Lenny wonders, "Once you give up hope, whaddya got left?" In the case of this show, you got a few good songs, a few crumbs of cake, and the comforting glow from the light inside your refrigerator.

The Last Supper.
Book, music, and lyrics by Artie Butler and Earl Brown. With Artie Butler and the recorded voices of Milton Berle, Lou Zorich, Ilene Graff, and Ed Ames. Through July 19. Hollywood Playhouse, 2640 Washington Ave. Hollywood, 305-919-3731 or 888-317-4846.

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