“I'll Eat You Last” at MTC
By Marlene S. Gaylinn
Sue Mengers, the foul-mouthed, chain-smoking Hollywood talent agent is the subject of this two-act, one-woman play by award-winning stage and screenwriter, John Logan. Music Theatre of Connecticut’s production is not only amusing but interesting because its clever dialog rendered by a great actress, Jodi Stevens, illustrates how a young, Jewish immigrant who escaped Nazi Germany without speaking a word of English had the chutzpa to rise to such prominence in her field.
Jodi Stevens, who has a long list of acting credits and Connecticut Critic Circle awards, is fabulous in her portrayal of Sue Mengers. As a real host might do, Mengers graciously invites selected members of the audience right into her luxurious, Beverly Hills home for candy while she reveals her dirty secrets about the stars she helped along her own rise to fame and power -- “...only, please take your shoes off before stepping on my carpet!”
Directed by MTC’s Kevin Conners, it’s the way Stevens tells Mengers’ story along with body language, facial expressions and coarse, contagious laughter that gets you hooked into her list of “Do’s and Don’ts” -- which the agent herself forgot to follow at times.
The most important lesson was Menger’s basic philosophy -- “...when a door closes...look for a window.” When she realized that she was not cut out to be an actress, her window became a small job at the William Morris Agency. Taking advantage of her affiliation with this world-famous organization, she managed to crash receptions for theatre folks and introduced herself as a William Morris representative. When she met up and coming star, Barbra Streisand, and became her agent, their close friendship led to even more contacts.
There are many amusing incidents about how Mengers pushed her clients up the ladder and help make them stars. One time she actually blocked a director’s car in his own driveway until he finally gave in to seeing her client. For the details of these and other stories, open your own window by seeing this wonderful production at MTC in Norwalk.
Plays to March 12, 2017 Tickets: 203-454-3883