Thursday, February 25, 2021

481. 6 RMS RIV VU. From my (unpublished) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE NEW YORK STAGE, 1970-1975

Jane Alexander, Jerry Orbach. (Photos: Friedman-Abeles, Secunda/Zarmati.)
6 RMS RIV VU [Comedy/Marriage/Romance] A: Bob Randall; D: Edwin Sherin; S: William Ritman; C: Ann Roth; L: Marc B. Weiss; P: Alexander H. Cohen and Bernard Delfont; T: Helen Hayes Theatre; 10/17/72-5/19/73 (247)

Jerry Orbach, Jane Alexander.

A moderately successful rom-com that reminded various reviewers of a typical Neil Simon play. It became a regular visitor at stock and dinner theatres for years. Its simple situation involves an attractive man, Paul Friedman (Jerry Orbach), and woman, Anne Miller (Jane Alexander), each married to someone else, who meet while examining an Upper West Side apartment for rent. They get locked in by accident when the super (Joe Ocasio) removes the doorknob, thinking the place empty. Naturally, they fall for each other, but eventually decide to return to their respective spouses.

Jane Alexander, Ron Harper, Jennifer Warren, Jerry Orbach.

The strange title refers to the abbreviated real estate listing of the sort then common in newspapers (six rooms, river view). Bob Randall’s comedy had many funny gag lines, but most critics found it eventually grew tiresome, lacking enough wit and invention to keep the plot’s wheels turning for very long.

Jerry Orbach.

The characters were “unbearably dull” to Douglas Watt, and T.E. Kalem found them, like the play, somewhat undernourished. Cast members included Ron Harper as Anne’s husband, Jennifer Warren as Paul’s wife, and, in the brief role of “Expectant Father,” F. Murray Abraham. The 1974 TV movie starred Carol Burnett and Alan Alda.

Francine Beers, Jerry Orbach.

Despite its slightness, Richard Watts liked the play’s “humor, freshness, and charm,” and Martin Gottfried believed it a “perfectly charming entertainment, sexy, romantic and funny.” For most, Orbach and Alexander provided just the right touches to help the piece keep its head above water for the better part of the season. Clive Barnes captured their contributions:

Mr. Orbach has a strangled grace, a way of hesitating in midthought, and a special awkwardness that could only have been brought on by a severe attack of adolescent acne. He is perfect in this role of an advertising copywriter who is wondering whether there is just a little more to life than advertising copy. And in Jane Alexander he finds the ideal match. Miss Alexander, hiding behind dark glasses and beneath floppy hats on her way to an unlooked‐for middle age, is sensitive, vulnerable and oddly realistic.

Alexander received a Tony nomination, Randall got a Drama Desk Award as Most Promising Playwright, and Jennifer Warren won a Theatre World Award.

Jerry Orbach, Jane Alexander.