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Whoopi

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Times have changed, but Whoopi Goldberg becomes more and more herself every year. (A banner outside the Lyceum blares that she’s not just Whoopi but WHOOPI WHOOPI WHOOPI.) Her persona now trumps all roles: In Star Trek, she was Space Whoopi. In Sister Act, she was Holy Whoopi. She was even Slim-Fast Whoopi, until she got canned for Stand-up Whoopi’s cussing. So that’s where her show begins, as Broadway Whoopi revisits the first of six characters she introduced in ’84: a drug addict who lashes at George Bush. This should be hilarious, but it’s all Pet Goat leftovers. Whoopi doesn’t so much act as accent, moving on to a very funny riff on menopause in a southern lilt, then to a dull romantic tale from a mumbly disabled woman, then to a teen-pregnancy story delivered as a surfer girl. These bits had some shock value two decades ago, but now they play like TV vehicles. Whoopi always does a spot-on Whoopi, but she pales next to chameleons like Anna Deavere Smith and Sarah Jones. Next time, she should learn from Elaine Stritch and just be herself.

Whoopi
by Whoopi Goldberg
At the Lyceum Theatre


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