Tony Danza's Letterz 2 2Pac: an Evening with Tony Danza

solo performance · ape x productions · world premiere · one person show · United States of America

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Review by DAMIEN LUVARA

June 06, 2016 certified reviewer

What I liked

Knowing a thing or 2 about playing Tony Danza I was excited to see someone else do it for a change. Not sure what to expect I settled into my seat and began drinking scotch. In the spirit of Tony Danza I should have been drinking martinis, but I thought the shaker would have been too distracting to Mr. Benaquist. The performance began and I was instantly transfixed by the writing and direction. This isn’t Tony from his “Taxi” years, this is an older, more refined, fatherly Tony. The exact Tony you would expect to write letters to Tupac Shakur, offering guidance and whatever else Mr. Danza was thinking that day. The show itself is engaging, there was never a moment while watching this show where as an audience member I checked out (which would have been easy given all the scotch). Instead, Benaquist turns in an earnest, heart felt, comedic performance. Was it the best Tony I’ve ever seen? Probably not….but then again I’m most likely pretty biased. Winky face. A wonderful show none the less. Kudos to Mr. Benaquist for doing such an outstanding job carrying the Danza torch!

What I didn't like

Mr. Benaquist should never dance to hip-hop. That made me uncomfortable. I know he has to, but this guy was definitely never in Digital Underground. I applaud him for attempting the Humpty Dance, but in the end leave the dancing to the pros and keep writing great pieces of theatre.

My overall impression

Well executed piece of theatre, the writing is the star here and Mr. Benaquist but a vehicle for his own mastery of the written word.

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