La Cieca sat through Terrence McNally‘s latest effort, Dedication, Sunday afternoon, and the best thing she can think to say about it is that this play makes a whole lot of opera librettos look like masterpieces of literature. There’s this husband and wife children’s theater team who are trying to convince a dying grande dame to give them this old playhouse she owns; also along for the ride are the wife’s druggy rock-star daughter and her roadie boyfriend. In the most contrived and unlikely ways possible everyone chooses to unburden themselves of decades-old secrets right there on the stage of the old theater, leading up to a denouement that once and for all proves the Greeks had the right idea keeping violence offstage.
It’s a nice vehicle for Marian Seldes as the flinty billionairess; she has the style and wit to win laughs with the recycled unfunny sitcom gags McNally assigns her. As the Courtney Love daughter, Miriam Shor has terrific attitude and presence but drowns in McNally’s hackneyed soapsuds. That Nathan Lane was willing to open this show in New York playing the thankless and dramatically intert role of “Lou Nuncle” speaks volumes for this actor’s sense of loyalty. Might La Cieca be so impertinent as to suggest that an appropriate act of gratitude to Mr. Lane by Mr. McNally might be to sacrifice to the shredder the next play that turns out as awful as this one?