Max Prince is a larger-than-life comic who is allowed to play with 90 minutes of NBC's valuable prime time. His variety show is the funniest thing going, and if you don't believe it, just ask the writers — they'll be happy to tell you how talented they are. Max has problems, though. He like his pills with booze, the network wants to dumb the show down so it appeals to a younger audience, and Senator Joseph McCarthy isn't quite sure how many communists are working in show biz, but he is certain there are a hell of a lot of 'em, and he's going to root out every last one of 'em. Despite the obstacles — both self-inflicted and otherwise — the writers show up every morning to attempt to outdo each other comedically, and once a week Max and his ensemble cast make everyone involved look like the geniuses they are. Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor
is about the peculiar kind of competitive and compassionate insanity found in the writers' room, and it's also Simon's love letter to his time spent as a writer for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows
. The New Jewish Theatre performs Laughter on the 23rd Floor
as its first show in the brand-new Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center (2 Millstone Campus Drive, Creve Coeur; 314-442-3283 or www.newjewishtheatre.org
) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday (June 2 through 20). Tickets are $30 to $34.
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Starts: June 2. Continues through June 20, 2010