By David Walters

It’s a wild and wonderful ride! A delightful modern-day farce about movie star worship, kidnapping, fandom, the anxiety of teens, the horror of school, parents, and desperately searching for self, sure to put a smile on your face.

It’s 2004, socially rejected at school, neglected at home with an absent father and a Xanax’d mom, teen Shelby Hinkley is founder, president, and activities director of the 299-member online North American/Antarctic branch of the Tobey Maguire Fan Club and is an emotional and physical boiled-over pot of messy hormones. Her answer to all her problems? Kidnap Tobey Maguire, chain him up in the basement of her South Dakota home, wait until Stockholm Syndrome kicks in, and then marry him. Sounds good, right?

What she comes to realize is that the Tobey on screen, the one she’s been fantisizing about by keeping a Tobeypedia, and kissing the Tiger Beat pictures plastered to the walls of her bedroom. is not the Tobey she has in chains as he points out at one point. “Come on, do I look like that? (he doesn’t) Face it, I’m just some random guy in your basement.”

Tessa Albertson’s rendition of the whacked-out 14 1/2-year-old, dances on the taught tightrope string of manic insanity and endearment, repulsing us and simultaneously drawing us in at the same time. Not an easy feat. The play rests on her shoulders and she carries it with ease. A dynamite performance.

Scott Thomas as the famous star brings a clear bewilderment to his predicament and slowly reveals the chain-smoking, uncircumcised, alcoholic, with a potty mouth mess that is behind the facade. There’s a moment of him dressed in the Spidey outfit where he steps out of the play and interacts with the audience that is handled with aplomb and is what makes true live theater.

Janae Robinson is not just a third wheel, but is just as much a major part of this production playing realtor Brenda Dee Cankles, the Tobey Maguire Poster, Tobey’s manager, Shelby’s Mom, and
Paparazzi. She steals her scenes which only strengthens the farce being played out before us.

Director Tyler Struble really gets this play and makes it move giving the audience the feeling hanging on the rope for dear life as you’re skiing on the snowy street being dragged behind crazy uncle Max’s Chevy Nova and not knowing if you’re hearts stopped because you’re having fun, or you’re just scared to death you’re about to slam right into a light pole, or both.

No death here (well almost). just great fun, a rollick. Well worth seeing.


I’m Gonna Marry You Tobey Maguire was written by Samantha Hurley and directed by Tyler Struble.

Starring: Tessa Albertson, Scott Thomas, and Janae Robinson.

Scenic AND Costume Design by Rodrigo Martinez Hernandez, Lighting Design by Matt Lazarus, and Sound Design by Nina Field.

Now through Saturday, July 29, 2023 at the cell theater (338 West 23rd). Tickets here.

100 minutes with no intermission


As always, this is just one person’s opinion in a world filled with them.