Note from the Editor: We loved Dead Accounts, but please be aware that the show contains strong language. If you are planning to attend with your family, we would recommend this show for high-school aged children and older.
The holidays bring families together. And I’d argue that no one knows this better than New Yorkers. We’re either welcoming loved ones into tiny, cramped spaces some might call “apartments,” or we’re venturing beyond the reaches of the MTA back to our hometown for some R&R. In Dead Accounts, which opens tonight at the Music Box Theatre, the characters don’t come together for a holiday, but the banter and excitement that ensues when a long-gone, successful New York banker returns to his childhood home in Cincinnati, was like watching my family’s Thanksgiving get-together right on stage.
Norbert Leo Butz plays Jack, who shows up late at night to his family home in Cincinnati with a bag full of Graeter’s ice cream, and buys way too many pizzas in the second act (but you’ll have to see the show in order to find out exactly why). After spending this past Thanksgiving weekend with my family here in New York, and discussing with my mother all the treats we will have when I go to my childhood home in Vermont later this month, I couldn’t help but see the themes in Dead Accounts that we can all relate to (and I promise, it goes beyond yummy food). There is a scene in the second act when Lorna, played by Katie Holmes, worries she has turned into her mother. In another scene, Lorna and Jack remember a situation at their church when they were younger. They find it hilarious but their mother Barbara, played by Jayne Houdyshell, does not.
When families come together for a happy (or sad) time there is food, there is often lots of talking over one another (with my family and the Dead Accounts family at least), and there is always some laughter about a silly situation in the past that makes the gathering meaningful. While watching Dead Accounts, though I am one of the “east coasters” that gets regularly dogged by this Midwest family, I began thinking that really many families are the same, especially this time of year, and I kind of felt at home with Jack, Lorna, and Barbara even though I’d just met them.
Happy opening to the team of Dead Accounts!
See you at the theatre,