According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Jackie Hoffman: Chanukah at Joe’s Pub," by Matt Windman

Upon being told that Nicole Kidman is a character actress, the outrageous comedian Jackie Hoffman makes the following conclusion: “If she’s a character actress, I’m deformed.”

Ms. Hoffman was commiserating over the fact that she was not asked to be a part of the recent “Bewitched” movie. Her “Chanukah at Joe’s Pub” is an hour-long cabaret show seething with unabashed anti-sentimentality, dark humor, and shameless personality.

Upon taking the stage, she breaks into a long medley of Chanukah songs, most of which are in Hebrew. She then proceeds to lead us through the angry, sarcastic details of her life since she left the cast of Broadway’s “Hairspray.”

Still, there are moments when Hoffman descends too deeply into tastelessness. In the “What Was I Diagnosed With This Year” segment, she literally sings a love song to her fibroid tumor. And as a climax, Death (played by David Rakoff) reveals to her that she will never become famous, thus remaining “the poor man’s Bette Midler.”

Needless to say, Radio City is unlikely to produce a “Chanukah Spectacular” anytime soon. But until that day arrives, Jackie Hoffman is providing an irreverent, delightful holiday gift meant only for the adult crowd.

Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street. 212-239-6200. $25. Sat 7 & 9pm, Mon 7:30 & 9:30pm.

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