If you’re looking for an exciting and hysterical theater experience, look no further than Studio Theatre of Long Island’s Bayway Arts Center, where the New York metro area premiere of “Grumpy Old Men: The Musical” is currently being performed.
Based on the 1993 movie, the comedy-musical follows John Gustafson and Max Goldman, two neighbors with a decades long feud. John and Max both fell for the same girl decades ago and John eventually married her. Although both are now widowers with kids of their own, they can’t get past the feud. When a beautiful newcomer comes to the small town of Wabasha, Minn., the feud is pushed to new heights as they compete for her affection.
The show has so much heart and is sure to win over theater lovers of all ages. Robert Budnick is hysterical as Grandpa Gustafson, John’s father who tends to say whatever is on his mind, no matter how inappropriate. Kim Dufrenoy is great as Punky Olander, a newcomer to Wabasha who works with her cousin at his store. Punky is a bit out there, but Dufrenoy makes her so loveable and gives her heart. Jack Seabury and Chris Dufrenoy are fantastic as John and Max, respectively. They both fit their characters perfectly and play off of each other in hysterical fashion. Dufrenoy really shines in a song in the second act as Max laments on his and John’s feud and friendship over the years. But the heart of this show lies in all of the townspeople that make up Wabasha, and how even though they are a bit kooky they all love each other. Some of the best and funniest scenes in the show are when gossip is spreading through the town and the townspeople are all reacting to it and further spreading the rumors.
Tamralynn Dorsa and Matt Stashin are also superb as Melanie Norton and Jacob Goldman. Melanie and Jacob are John’s and Max’s adult children who are stuck in the middle of their parents’ feud. Melanie and Jacob have a romance of their own brewing, which was one of my favorite aspects of the show. This show is for anyone who loves small-town stories that feel big, and for people who know love can be found at any age and who are up for some big laughs.
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