My Pal Izzy, Sisterscene, Alberta, Canada/New York, NY. Orange venue, 55 minutes, $10. (Discounts: Seniors, students, Fringe artists and volunteers, flappers.) (Note: The show actually lasts about 50 minutes.)
By Elizabeth Maupin
Elizabeth Maupin on Theater
Melanie Gall offers a sweet-tempered look at a time long past in My Pal Izzy, a valentine to songwriter Irving Berlin from his apparently fictional friend Rebecca Rosenstein (the title character in his song “Becky’s Got a Job in a Musical Show.”
In My Pal Izzy, Gall highlights the milestones in Berlin’s life — born Israel Isidore Baline in Russia in 1888, emigrated at 5, started writing songs as a teenager to help support himself and his family, changed his name to Berlin after a typo on the sheet music for his first song.
Gall has a thin but pretty voice, and she makes an appealing ingenue as she sings a dozen of Berlin’s early, lesser-known songs. It’s too bad she’s not performing in a smaller venue, where she could be closer to her audience, and that she and her director haven’t been able to master a host of minor technical problems (too many props on the dressing table, too much untamed hair for Gall to mess with as she sings). Gall made light of a persistent cough during one early performance, but a simple glass of water onstage would have done the trick — and allowed audiences to enjoy an amiable, old-fashioned show.
Monday May 23, 10:30 p.m.
Tuesday May 24, 9:05 p.m.
Thursday May 26, 5:45 p.m.
Sunday May 29, 2:40 p.m.