Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine
by Warren Leight

Twin brothers Daniel and Martin Glimmer were up-and-coming trumpet players in 1955, as devoted to drugs and booze as they were to music. Sent into orbit by a personal tragedy, Daniel played one astounding gig, then put down his horn, married and became a successful businessman.

Martin has remained a musician. He fits all the stereotypes grizzled, alcoholic, woebegone but there is something endearing about his quixotic attachment to a world that, in 1990, when the play is set, has largely disappeared.

Martin is looked after by Jordan, the son of the third band member Eddie Shine (now deceased).

Jordan meets Daniel's daughter, Delia, at a posh Connecticut wedding, where his own band is playing. Delia has no idea her father had been a musician or that she has an uncle who still inhabits the forlorn world her father left behind.

Directed by Evan Yionoulis; sets by Neil Patel; costumes by Candice Donnelly; lighting by Donald Holder; sound by Jon Gottlieb; original music, Evan Lurie; production stage manager, Richard Hester; production manager, Michael R. Moody; associate artistic director, Michael Bush; general manager, Harold Wolpert. Presented by Manhattan Theater Club at City Center Stage I.

WITH: Scott Cohen (Jordan), Brian Kerwin (Daniel), Seana Kofoed (Delia) and John Spencer (Martin).




NY Daily News
5/25/01

Luminous 'Glimmer' a Real Bright Spot
By Howard Kissel

The characters in Warren Leight's plays are like people living on the edge of a volcano that is theoretically extinct but capable of producing disquieting tremors.

The volcano in Leight's new play, "Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine" — as it was in his 1999 Tony Award-winning "Side Man" — is the world of jazz.

Twin brothers Daniel and Martin Glimmer were up-and-coming trumpet players in 1955, as devoted to drugs and booze as they were to music. Sent into orbit by a personal tragedy, Daniel played one astounding gig, then put down his horn, married and became a successful businessman.

Martin, played by "West Wing" star John Spencer, has remained a musician. He fits all the stereotypes — grizzled, alcoholic, woebegone — but there is something endearing about his quixotic attachment to a world that, in 1990, when the play is set, has largely disappeared. John Spencer as Martin in 'Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine'

Martin is looked after by Jordan, the son of the third band member. Described as looking like an orphan even in his tuxedo, Scott Cohen projects this beautifully.

Jordan meets Daniel's daughter, Delia, at a posh Connecticut wedding, where his own band is playing. Delia has no idea her father had been a musician or that she has an uncle who still inhabits the forlorn world her father left behind.

Delia is written as if she were a spiritual descendant of Gloria Upson in "Auntie Mame." That she is at all sympathetic owes much to Seana Kofoed, who gives her an intelligence and a warmth not always apparent in the script.

In some ways, "Glimmer" is about assimilation. The longest journey anyone takes is Daniel's. Dealing with his eccentric, recalcitrant brother, Daniel is drawn back into music. Brian Kerwin travels back from WASPy Connecticut to his melancholy trumpet with incredible grace.

It is not easy to make us believe that a man in poor health and severe poverty has somehow triumphed over hardships and setbacks. But Spencer, his eyes often lit with a loony fire, his gravelly voice a surprisingly elegant instrument for his many caustic lines, makes us believe Martin is a man too strong for life to break.

"Glimmer" really is a play about how we husband our resources. For all the shabbiness with which Martin surrounds himself, Spencer makes us see that he has a kind of steely heroism.

Neil Patel's sets are extremely evocative - especially the snapshot of the Glimmers in 1955, which often hovers in the background. Candice Donnelly's costumes are perfect. Donald Holder's lighting accentuates the play's sharp moods.

Superbly directed by Evan Yionoulis, "Glimmer" is like an evening of good jazz — sometimes raucous, sometimes bubbly, but deeply affecting.

 

NY Post
'GLIMMER' SHINES A LIGHT ON JAZZ WORLD
By Donald Lyons

WHEN a jazz trumpeter is in the groove, everything he touches has heart and soul, life and electricity. The same with writers. Take Warren Leight. His great play "Side Man" described, with immense affection and admiration, the jazz milieu seen through the eyes of a boy/man who had to escape from it and the toll it exacted.

Now Leight is laying down another riff on jazz, human suffering and human happiness in "Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine."

It's a marvelous, bitter, funny, hip play about a generation of jazzmen who made a mess of their lives, and a new generation without their demons. It dodges in and out of present and past; characters stand outside themselves to comment on a scene at the same time they're enacting it.

Years ago, in the 1950s, the twin Glimmer brothers were exciting artists and dangerous junkies. Brother Martin continued in music and mayhem, almost until the 1990s, when the play opens. The other, Daniel, gave up jazz and junk and his brother in the '50s to marry a redeeming woman, become a fabric designer and move to Connecticut.

John Spencer (of TV's "West Wing") gives us a rumpled, hilarious and acerbic - but not malicious - Martin.

He lives in an uptown Manhattan walk-up, and his main connection to life is a young trombonist named Jordan Shine, the son of an old jazz colleague. Scott Cohen hits just the right notes as Jordan, bright and ironic, loving and sensible; a young man who's poor, but not self-destructive, and not a victim of the older generation's hangups.

We meet him just as he meets Delia Glimmer while playing a Connecticut wedding. Delia is, you guessed it, the daughter of Daniel Glimmer, but totally ignorant of her dad's background in jazz - and, indeed, of his twin brother.

Seana Kofoed does a lot to humanize Delia and reveal the mensch behind the Greenwich Gucci goddess; she is big on presents - belts for Jordan and tapes for Martin - but we come to see a heart behind the gestures. She is her mother, all right, but she's humanized by her father.

Her father, by the way, turns up later in the person of the excellent Brian Kerwin; he's the Connecticut edition of his doomed, walk-up brother. He maintains a corporate apartment, to which Martin is moved after a heart attack and a hospital stay. (He has a very amusing take on its sterile amenities.)

There are a few secrets in the past, which, finally, remains an unhappy place. But Martin sees the possibility of getting it right at last. Poor trombonist boy and rich music-loving girl have a chance, perhaps, at the end.

Love and music: Why not? This is a good play, directed with beautiful economy by Evan Yionoulis, on themes beloved by Leight.