Written by Jim Brochu, who also stars in the new work, Zero Hour is set at Mostel's 28th Street art studio. It is 1977, and the comedic actor is giving one final interview before leaving for the pre-Broadway tryout of The Merchant in Philadelphia. Mostel only played one performance as Shylock before his sudden death; he was 62.
In a statement actor-writer Brochu says, "Zero had a great influence on my life and I was fortunate to get to know him when I was first starting out. His life was filled with great laughter, great drama and great life lessons for all of us. He considered himself primarily an artist who took acting jobs to support his painting. . . . I can think of no other person in show business who had more obstacles to overcome than Zero Mostel. He grew up poor. He survived the blacklist. A bus accident almost took his leg off. But he fought and survived, and then went on . . . to win three Tony Awards."
Zero Hour, according to production notes, "traces Mostel's early days growing up on the lower East Side as the son of Orthodox Jewish immigrant parents, through his rise as a standup comedian from the Borscht Belt into Manhattan's most exclusive supper clubs and from the devastation of the blacklist to his greatest Broadway triumphs, most notably as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof."
With partner/composer Steve Schalchlin, Jim Brochu penned the award-winning musicals The Last Session and The Big Voice: God or Merman? In addition to his theatrical work, Brochu's acting credits also include appearances on "All My Children," "Mary Hartman," "Cheers," "Wings" and "Bram and Alice."
Zero Mostel was nominated for a Tony Award for his work in Ulysses in Nighttown and won Tonys for his performances in Fiddler on the Roof, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Rhinoceros. His other Broadway credits include The Good Soup, Good as Gold, Lunatics and Lovers, Flight Into Egypt, Beggar's Holiday, Concert Varieties, Top-Notchers, Keep 'em Laughing and Cafe Crown. His film credits include "The Front," "Mastermind," "Journey Into Fear," "Fore Play," "Rhinoceros," "Marco," "Once Upon a Scoundrel," "The Hot Rock," "The Great Bank Robbery," "The Producers," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "DuBarry Was a Lady." There are plans to tour Zero Hour before opening in New York in early 2007.
For tickets to the Sept. 28 performance, call (585) 325-4370.