By Jerry Sterner
Directed by Dennis Zacek
Produced by Shattered Globe Theater
At Theater Wit, Chicago
Powerful look at the effects of hostile corporate takeovers
You may remember the 1991 film of Other People’s Money staring Danny DeVito? Shattered Globe Theater, under the smart direction by Dennis Zacek, have a lively and often funny production of Jerry Sterner’s Other People’s Money. Featuring Ben Werling as Larry “The Liquidator” Garfinkle, Other People’s Money is a sly and cynical look at the vultures of Wall Street at work doing hostile takeovers of dying companies. Andrew Jorgenson (Doug McDade) is the loyal old-time CEO of a New England Wire and Cable Company with 1200 employees in a dated industry. The company is solid, diversified, debt -free company. They are just the type of company that ruthless businessman like Garfinkle target as they buy enough stock to take over the company with the intent to liquidate it for profit.
What complicates things is the stubbornness of CEO Andrew Jorgenson and his loyal secretary Bea Sullivan ( Linda Reiter) toward the hostile takeover. When Sullivan’s daughter, herself a Wall Street insider, Kate Sullivan (Abbey Smith) comes up with several strategies to thwart Garfinkle’s attempted takeover, Jorgenson resists in denial that anyone could actually take over his company. When company president, William Coles (Joseph Wiens) wonders about his personal future, we see him do things only for personal gain.
This show is filled with cynical humor and stark realism. We see The Liquidator justify in the name of profits, the destruction of a company despite the social ramifications. We also see the electric love/hate relationship and competition for the future of New England Wire and Cable between Garfinkle and Kate Sullivan.
As we witness the counter strategies, we begin to understand (and cheer for the company) as the obnoxious sexist villain move in for the kill. We question the ethics of his actions as we commiserate with the plight of the company and their employees. The show reminds me of Wall Street the film with Michael Douglas where the quote “Greed is good” came from. Other People’s Money is a well acted affair, especially by Ben Werling as Lawrence Garfinkle. Doug McDade and Abbey Smith offer terrific work also. The script is crisp, smart, and toughly realistic; the production is first -class.
Other People’s Money is a still relevant dramatization of the effects on society from the hostile take ever and destruction of American companies. This show demonstrates that, indeed, greed in NOT good unless you’re a stock holder.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: September 8, 2013
For more info checkout the Other People’s Money’s page at theatreonchicago.com
At Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL, call 773-975-8150, www.theaterwit.org, tickets $30, students $12, $25 for seniors, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission, through October 19, 2013