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Encounters with René:
Lynne Goes to
New York City

Sly Fox
Thursday, May 13 performance

by Lynne Fuller

My dad and I met at the Philadelphia Airport as we were to return to Pennsylvania for a family responsibility. We were looking forward to touring the "Big Apple" for the next two days, before seeing René in Sly Fox. Tuesday night we stayed in Pennsylvania at the Hampton Inn Bensalem. Hotel rates in Manhattan are exorbitant and I try to stay in NYC for only the nights that would be best used. Theatre tickets are also expensive. The TKTS booth in the middle of Times Square and at the South Street Seaport can save you a lot of money. A lot of plays, including Sly Fox, were selling at a substantial discount when we were there, but there was a big line.

We drove into NYC Wednesday morning with the rest of the morning crush. It took us two hours to get through the Lincoln Tunnel and then my dad and I encountered Manhattan traffic at its worst. Finally arriving in Times Square, we threaded our way around trying to find the Doubletree Suites Times Square. I expected the marquee for the hotel to be big, but one thing I'd forgotten is that everything in Times Square is big. Finally we found the hotel and dropped our bags off and parked. We couldn't check in yet so we walked past the Barrymore on the way to the Grey Line Tour Depot. Before leaving home we had browsed the Internet to see how to do the most things in the little time we had. Dad and I chose to take the combination Grey Line tour that includes loops around Downtown, Uptown, and Brooklyn with hop on/hop off privileges, the Nighttime NYC Lights tour, and the New York City Pass that gets you into all kinds of places. One of the great things about this tour is you can ride on top of the double-decker bus and really feel you're seeing everything as you pass it. Being as it was unseasonably warm, riding up top was especially nice with the wind in our faces. The off/on privilege on the loops is great because you combine transportation and sightseeing on the same trip.

Our two days of sightseeing were wonderful, but too busy to describe in detail here. Then on Thursday after dinner we walked over to the Barrymore Theatre about 7:15 and watched some of the actors arrive and give autographs to some people (who were probably selling the items on eBay).

Sly Fox was great and the theatre was beautiful. The audience was only two-thirds full and I felt the audience was subdued. My dad and I thought it was a lot of fun and at times roared with laughter. The gentleman next to us, with his wife (I think he was a Midwesterner), thought it was a "hoot." Dreyfuss and Stoltz were better than I expected, so I guess they have settled into their roles after what, I understand, was a rocky start. I think that Bronson Pinchot's quirky shakes and jerks didn't really fit in with the rest of the cast. Bob Dishy was excellent.

René was almost unrecognizable, but his performance was amazing. The scene in Crouch's office was hilarious. You know the one I'm speaking about, with the "Madam." I guess the part that is being called "Crouch discovers he hasn't won" was where he issues an expletive, which did send the house into uproarious laughter. René must have "thighs of steel," as he remained crouched throughout the whole play. His curtain call at the end of the play was great. He entered from off stage in the crouch and then stood erect with a flourish before taking his bow.

Then came the moment I'd been looking forward to for a while. I had arranged through his fan club to meet René after the show. We waited for a few minutes and watched as Bob Dishy and Elizabeth Berkley left. Unfortunately, René was only able to say "Hello" for a minute, as he needed to talk to some other people as well. I really appreciated him taking the time he had available, though. Human nature is to always want more of a good thing, so I felt that it was unfortunate that he needed to talk with someone else. Oh, well! There were several things I didn't get to say that I wish I could have. (As a side note: he sure looks thin. Someone needs to feed him soon. I know he did it for the role-and it works-but wow, it makes him looks like he has an eating disorder). My dad said he looked thin, but healthy. We left so René could see his other party.

Afterwards, Dad dragged me to Times Square and our hotel. I didn't want to leave NYC yet. I decided to go back to outside the theatre to see what other actors might come out to the waiting throng and Nick Wyman and Peter Scolari did. Peter Scolari seems like a really nice guy. He was posing for pictures and granting autographs. I just took a couple of pictures and thanked him. He said, "Sure, thank you!" touched my arm, and I watched as he walked across the street. Funny, but I always thought when seeing Bosom Buddies with Tom Hanks and him that he should be the one to hit it "Big."

My feeling of New York is that I don't know if I'd like to live there, but I would like to visit more often. The last time I was there was in 1996. I think one needs more than two days, perhaps three or four. There is a lot to see there and to try to do too much in such a short time is quite wearing.

I do want René to know how much I appreciated the time he could spend with us. I told him when I was leaving, "See you soon." Perhaps next time I can talk longer with him.

May 20 performance

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