By Edward Kliszus
Love Online at the Laurie Beechman Theatre portrayed a gentle, passionate look at online dating for individuals recently cast into a search for a loving relationship. We soon discovered that while our couple loved and lost, they earned insightful wisdom from their travails.
Some humor is gleaned from experiences with newfangled online dating apps, but from the onset, dominant themes are love, heartache, nostalgia, and the hope associated with new relationships – all beautifully expressed. We also sense yearning and how one might question their self-confidence when delving back into dating.
The show began with pianist/music director Gerry Dieffenbach masterfully performing an overture of songs from the American Songbook. This set the stage for what was to be a sojourn through romantic themes and the concomitant complexities and rewards of starting anew.
Diane Love and Jay Nickerson begin with a playful conversation as they ascended to the stage from the back of the audience. Love possessed a kind, sagacious, and tender tone as she sang and bantered with Nickerson. Nickerson responded in kind as he sang and spoke. At times, Nickerson utilized a charming half-singing/half-speaking technique like that of Rex Harrison in his film characterization of Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (1964). Audrey Hepburn co-starred as Eliza Doolittle. I recall the film’s delightful romantic tensions and wondered if Nickerson employed that singing style to evoke the references. Two individuals sitting nearby mused similarly.
Love and Nickerson showed that through song and dramatic dialogue, they can share a rich range of emotions, visual references, and places with us. A sampling of the songs they performed illustrate this idea and includes Burt Bacharach’s “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” Stephen Sondheim’s “We’re Gonna Be All Right,” and “The Road You Didn’t Take,” “Everybody Has the Right to Be Wrong,” by Sammy Kahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, Jerry Herman’s intensely gorgeous and heartbreaking “I Won’t Send Roses,” and “Kiss Her Now,” the hopeful “The Second Time Around,” by Sammy Kahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, and the charming and nostalgic “Two Sleepy People” by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser.
Love Online was a musical journey enhanced by some of the finest written songs. It was performed by two enchanting, empathetic, and erudite individuals who understand life, heartache, and love. Love and Nickerson took our hands and hearts, drew from their inner psyches, and shared times, worlds, and lives. It was storytelling at its best. The messages are universal.
There’s one performance left on November 2, so don’t hesitate, as the October performance was sold out.
The York Theatre Company presents
Diane Love and Jay Nickerson in
Love Online at the Laurie Beechman Theatre
407 West 42nd St.
New York NY
Conceived and scripted by Diane Love
Music direction by Gerry Dieffenbach
Directed by Joseph Hayward
Producing Artistic Director James Morgan
Executive Director Evans Haile
Runtime 70 minutes.
Tickets are available at https://www.westbankcafe.com/laurie-beechman-theatre.
Ticket-issuing inquiries may be sent to email@example.com.