Florida Stage Plaza Theater
Conceived, written and starring Brad Zimmerman
Should Make Mama Proud
A packed house at the Palm Beaches Theatre in Manalapan, Florida thoroughly enjoyed Brad Zimmerman’s performance. What enhances his one-man show — played with neither props nor music — is the neat frame that embraces his stand-up comedy routine. Sprinkling clever anecdotal material, this skilled storyteller describes his downhill slide from childhood triumphs — including athletic prowess and acting recognition — to an adult life which failed to live up to earlier expectations. Much is original as well as bittersweet.
His delivery is as skilled as his material is honest. Seeking success on the New York stage, Zimmerman spent 29 (yes, 29!) frustrating years as a waiter. He also had a TV part in “The Sopranos” and was the opening act for a number of entertainers — George Carlin, Brad Garrett, Dennis Miller, Julio Iglesias, and Joan Rivers. However, while stardom eluded him, nothing was lost in his time as a waiter. The experience provided him with ample — often-hilarious — material, brought to a head in this delightfully humorous one-man show.
When diners say they are in a hurry, he responds, “So go!” When they flail hands and call out, “Waiter,” he points a finger in response with the word, “Customer.”
When not describing the restaurant, he shifts to his quintessential Jewish mother. When her friends brag of sons with million dollar homes and large cars, she attempts to match them with the words: “If all goes well, Brad is buying a bookcase.” When he asked her how she liked the name of the play, her positive response only offered one suggested change: “My Son the Waiter, A Mother’s Tragedy.” If ever lemons were transformed into lemonade it is here in the examination and culling of his biography.
It is impossible to replicate “Zimmie’s” patter, which covers not only the high or (low) lights of his life but also moves on to clever jibes about the world around him. Certainly, the nine years he worked on the script paid off. The well-honed performance spent two years off Broadway as well as touring the whole country from coast to coast. Let’s hope it comes to Chicago!
Beverly Friend, PHD
Member American Theater Critics Assn.
Palm Beaches Theatre, 250 South Ocean Blvd, Manalapan, FL, 888-264-1788.Tickets $40-65), Thursday and Friday 2 and 7:30 pm, Friday 7:30 pm. Sunday 2 pm. through March 27. Run time 90 minutes without intermission.
MY SON THE WAITER IS COMING TO THE NORTH SHORE CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS