A lot of reservations were made at Fully Committed over the last two years, but the phone line at the Cherry Lane Theatre will go dead May 27.
2000 Drama Desk Award nominee Christopher Fitzgerald (Saturday Night) is the final actor to man the reservations line in Becky Mode's hit one-man, Off-Broadway show. Fully Committed will have made 675 performances by its May 27 closing date.
Fitzgerald stepped into Fully Committed Jan. 2, 2001, replacing Tony Award-winner Roger Bart, now playing Carmen Gia in Broadway's The Producers. There's just something about Fully Committed that says "musical theatre actor." The original star Mark Setlock got a big break with Rent, while Bart is known for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Triumph of Love and tours of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and The Who's Tommy. No slouch in the musical department, Fitzgerald comes to Fully Committed directly from the Philadelphia production of Harold Prince's 3hree. He has also been in Wise Guys, The Cripple of Inishmaan and the Encores! Babes in Arms.
Starting out as Sam, the stressed, out-of-work actor-cum-reservations clerk at the city's hottest four-star restaurant, Fitzgerald portrays not only the eatery's staff (including the head chef, described by the New York Times as "Hannibal Lechter in kitchen whites'), but also a series of outrageous guests clamoring for a table. These patrons run the gamut from killer Mafiosi and rich old ladies to supermodels and Wall Street tycoons.
Mode crafted Fully Committed for Setlock, whose real life experiences as an out-of-work actor desperately trying to find tables at a trendy Manhattan restaurant were the basis for her play. Other credits include writing for TV's "Cosby," HBO, Nickelodeon and Disney. Director Nicholas Martin was recently named artistic director of the Huntington Theatre in Boston, a role he assumed in fall 2000. He won the 1999 Obie Award for Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation and also directed Bosoms and Neglect at the Signature and Full Gallop.
Fully Committed first opened Off-Broadway Sept. 30, 1999, with fully-committed reviews, extending, at the time, through Oct. 30 at the Vineyard. The show then moved to the Cherry Lane Theatre. Setlock took the show to Boston's Wilbur Theatre and L.A.'s Coronet Theatre, where Ethan Sandler continued the run. A new run of the show, starring Bronson Pinchot, began in March in Chicago.
For tickets to the Cherry Lane's Fully Committed ($45), call Tele Charge at (212) 239 6200. The Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street.
-- By Christine Ehren