Laura Marks' Bethany, presented by Women's Project Theater and directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, is a twisted tale of survival, love, and going the distance. Lead by Emmy Award winner America Ferrera ("Betty Suarez" on ABC's Ugly Betty) this talented cast consisting of Emily Ackerman, Kristin Griffith, Ken Marks, Tobias Segal, and Myra Lucretia Taylor, helped bring Bethany to life.
This was my first time seeing America on stage and I must say she did a terrific job. As a fan of Ugly Betty, I wondered if I'd be able to see America beyond "Betty." America's talent shined through as she allowed me to leave my memory of "Betty" behind and focus solely on her character "Crystal," a woman who is trying to get her life back on track. Aside from her strong character portrayal, America had good stage presence and projection, which is needed when performing on stage.
Tobias Segal, as drifter "Gary," also gave a very strong performance. His portrayal was so convincing that there were moments where I wasn't sure whose side "Gary" was on. Plagued by mental issues, "Gary" aroused both feelings of empathy and fear, often leading me down a fine line of which one I wanted to feel.
Ken Marks was very enjoyable as "Charlie," the motivational speaker who might be "Crystal's" last hope in getting financially secure. Emily Ackerman's character, "Shannon," provided the much needed laughter as "Crystal's" supervisor at the car dealership they worked at, while Kristin Griffith's "Patricia," left me wanting more from her story line. She played jilted well, but I wanted more. Myra Lucretia Taylor brought a realness to her character "Toni," a social worker trying to help "Crystal" get part of her life in order.
Bethany is a dark drama with humor intermixed. If you are looking for a theatrical piece that is a little different, well acted, and forces you to really pay attention to all its twists and turns, then Bethany is the show for you. Bethany plays at NY City Center, Stage II (131 West 53rd Street, between 6th & 7th Avenue) through February 17. Click here for tickets!