I just finished reading the excerpt from Ava Gardner’s memoir in Vanity Fair about her years with Sinatra. Well, playwright Willard Manus certainly gets all the facts right in this intriguing if melodramatic short play. It’s never boring, but somehow they still didn’t ring true to me as human beings. Ava says they drank and fought and made love and that’s pretty much what they do here. We are flies on the wall enjoying this glimpse into their love nest. It’s a series of snapshot scenes, starting with Frank’s depression over his failing career, through Ava’s wild success in films, then Frank’s decision to try for the role of Maggio in “From Here to Eternity,” their tempestuous marriage, her month’s long shoot in Africa, their infidelities, etc. Rico Simonini gets the Hoboken-kid gruff manner right on and Stefany Northcutt is able to suggest the exquisite beauty and seductive manner of a screen goddess. Bridging the scenes are Sinatra love ballads that underscore the emotions in the play.
Morna Murphy Martell, theater critic for NOTBORNYESTERDAY and theatrespokenhere.blogspot.com.