If you hadn’t figured out by the second act who the audience was for Mario Cantone’s one-man Broadway show, the impersonation requests would have tipped you off. “Elaine Stritch!” someone called from the orchestra; “Barbra Streisand!” came from the balcony.
Surprisingly, Cantone does not talk about his popular recurrent role on Sex and the City, nor does he recount his recent Broadway work in The Violet Hour and Assassins. And since talking shop to Agnes Moorehead fans is what Cantone does best, it’s a pity he’s diversified. The stand-up portion of the show is abysmal, with jokes about cabdrivers who speak foreign languages and smell bad. (And Michael Jackson—are you ready?—has had a lot of plastic surgery.) Much of Cantone’s material about his colorful family also feels forced, right up to and including an odd plug for estrogen therapy. But it’s impossible to deny that Cantone does top-notch impressions, and he gets around to plenty: Judy, Liza, Cher, Bette Davis (after the stroke), Julia Child, and Shelley Winters, to name just a few. It’s like Forbidden Broadway: Master Class.