That’s the device by which young would-be Broadway genius Henry Blume (Josh Lefkowitz) snares the trust of a film producer’s daughter (Maureen Rohn) in Sam Forman’s ultra-contemporary comedy, “The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall.”
The daughter connects Henry with a composer (Alexander Strain) who plans to turn the movie into a musical, but needs a book writer. The composer, a “tortured genius” type from an eminent entertainment dynasty, admires Henry’s love of Allen and ill-advised frankness, and the pair plan to work together.
In doing so, Henry betrays his perpetually stoned writing partner, Will (Matt Anderson), and his girlfriend of 12 years, Annie (Tessa Klein), a struggling actress with whom he hasn’t slept since “the invention of Twitter.”
Directed by Shirley Serotsky, this world premiere features a winning cast and uncovers the mundanely seedy aspects of showbiz. Lefkowitz manages to keep Henry likeable, though, even as he attempts to cheat on his girlfriend and claw his way to stardom.
In a play that references insanely popular social networking devices and the current president, it might be Henry’s struggle to succeed that feels the freshest of all.
» Washington DC Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW; through May 24; $30-$55; 800-494-8497. (Dupont Circle)
Written by Express contributor Erin Trompeter
Photo by Stan Barouh/Theater J