A moving and thoughtful tale of an actor’s life and career, The Face Behind the Face, Behind the Face features a terrific performance by Anthony Gruppuso in his autobiographical one-man show. The actor expressively reveals his true calling for the stage through his glorious singing and acting.
In the production, Gruppuso flashbacks on his life and career while visiting a psychiatrist, examining how and why he ended up on the stage and perhaps never achieving his big break. It also provides a framework for him to magically bring songs alive through his magnificent tenor voice.
Gruppuso’s singing shows a great range and emotional timbre, with long, sweet high notes, pleasing phrasing and wistful sensitivity. He brings fine passion to his performance along with warm intimacy and vulnerability, especially in songs like “Hey Pop,” “Nana” and “Vesti La Guibba.” He brings sly humor to “Les Poissons” and his “Boys Will Be Girls” medley. Emotions play across his face and through his spirited body movements.
Director Calvin Remsberg builds nice pacing and appropriate beats to the choreography, but the show could use a few more energetic songs to break up the sometimes-melancholic tone. John Dickson adds a nice light touch as accompanist, blending much better on piano than on the electric one.
The Face Behind the Face, Behind the Face blends gorgeous singing with delicate staging in a touching story of one man’s life.
“The Face, Behind the Face, Behind the Face” plays Sunday nights at 7pm through Sunday, October 29 at Theatre West located at 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West in Los Angeles. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling (323) 851-7977 or by visiting TheatreWest.org.