A workingman's ode to love, life, loyalty, and baseball heroes, "Broad Channel" is a winning new work starring Doc Dougherty. Written by Anna Theresa Cascio and Dougherty, and directed by Molly Fowler, the solo show is a nostalgic look back at a group of friends and family from Queens, NY during the summer of 1977, when the main topic of conversation was the sudden trade of Mets superstar Tom Seaver.
Cascio and Dougherty's story flows with poetic prose in an almost filmic progression, swerving from Eddie Doc's career plan as a garbage man to his instant obsession with a flirtatious girl at the local watering hole, from a frantic search for his donation-stealing brother to his misadventures with a gang of colorful characters. This is a world where everyone has a nickname, such as Itchy, Hoagie, Eddie Twobags, and the Spandex Sisters. Eddie Doc's final decision is a perfect combination of sweet and sappy, and points to a hope-filled continuation of his down-to-earth quest for happiness.
Fowler stages the piece well, keeping the stream-of-consciousness narrative on a steady pace and establishing an old neighborhood ambiance for the proceedings. Dougherty adopts an unassuming manner that makes his character both instantly likeable and entirely believable. His rough-edged attempts at romance, bravery, and nobility touch the heart, while his vocal and physical interpretations of his cohorts are clever and comical.
Elizabeth Rhodes' sound design is intricately woven into the piece, as songs and sounds are referred to with increased frequency. Eddie Doc's running commentary on his jukebox selections is particularly humorous and endearing. This is a man who knows the importance of a Frank Sinatra ballad, and plans to play "After the Lovin' " at his wedding.
Greg MacPherson handles the lighting with sensitive style, and Michelle Malavet is responsible for the appropriate scenic design.