John Gray's Mars Changes Atmosphere

News   John Gray's Mars Changes Atmosphere
 
John Gray has altered the format of his Broadway show, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, adapted from his best-selling book of the same title. He has dropped the nightly panel of celebrity guests, according to spokesperson David Ellner, and will continue the project as a one-man show, part monologue, part talk show, part improv.

John Gray has altered the format of his Broadway show, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, adapted from his best-selling book of the same title. He has dropped the nightly panel of celebrity guests, according to spokesperson David Ellner, and will continue the project as a one-man show, part monologue, part talk show, part improv.

The hybrid is being peformed through Feb. 2 at the Gershwin Theatre.

Gray had planned to augment each seminar-style performance with appearances by celebrity guest couples. Among those booked (and now cancelled) were Linda Dano, of the soap opera "Another World"; USA "Up All Night" kitsch goddess Rhonda Shear, and Playbill On-Line columnist Peter Filichia.

After an opening night that featured a panel line-up including model Frederique, Cindy Adams and jokester husband, Joey (an octogenarian who, according to spokesperson David Ellner, got the biggest laughs of the night with his politically incorrect japes about the battle of the sexes), Gray used the post-show cocktail party to ask the audience, informally, their thoughts on the celebrity panel. After getting the sense that audience members were paying to hear him and get his message, and that the panel was entertaining but extraneous, Gray made the decision to drop the panel from the show.

At the Tuesday, Jan. 28 performance, Gray spoke about Mars/Venus relationships for the first 90 minutes, then devoted the next 75 to sex, finishing the show by having the audience chant (first men, then women, then together) "I love sex!" Gray's book is about how men and women are raised differently, have different natures, and respond differently to the same situations. The subject matter of Mars/Venus recalls another one-man show, Rob Becker's Defending the Caveman. The 1992 non-fiction book sold 10 million copies. Gray debuted his monologue at Carnegie Hall in 1996.

"I'm a teacher, and I have a message and I deliver it in a very entertaining, at times, very dramatic, way," Gray told Patrick Pacheco in Newsday. "For years, people have been saying to me, `You should do this onstage,' ...but it never seemed possible to relocate to New York, uproot my family for an entire year to play on Broadway. Then my producers said, `It doesn't have to be for a year. It can be for a week. And so I said, `Okay, let's do it.'"

Gray continued, "People may look up to me as a role model, but I let them know that I'm not Mr. Romantic all the time, I'm not always available for intimate conversations. I grumble, I go to my cave. So I've painted a picture of what I think are steps most men can take -- because I've been able to make it quite easily, and I don't try to be any better than that."

Ellner said the show will probably tour after its New York engagement, though no dates have been announced. Variety reported that the show will tour the U.S. throughout the spring, stopping at Los Angeles' Universal Amphitheatre Feb. 14.

Men Are From Mars will give Broadway performances 7:30 PM Jan. 27-Feb. 1, with matinees Jan. 29 and Feb. 1 at 2 PM, and Feb. 2 at 3 PM. Tickets cost $20-$55 at (212) 307-4100 or (800) 755-4000.

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