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Who Is Floyd Stearn?

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Presented by Rick Waxman at the 47th Street Theatre, 304 W. 47 St., NYC. Opened Nov. 1 for an open run.

Michael Raynor is a down-to-earth performer with an authoritative voice. So when he talks about his efforts to learn about his long-estranged father, it is hard not to be affected by the compelling tale. This biographical drama is more than just a paternal mystery; by the end of the intermissionless piece, Raynor reveals a lot about himself and the other members of his family as well.

When Raynor first steps on stage, it is in front of a large projected photograph of a father and son. He is sincere when he says he cannot look at the image without being moved—indeed, it was the last photo taken with him before his dad was forced to leave their home for good. Raynor was only seven at the time. So when a package from FedEx arrives announcing that his father died five years earlier, the son—now an adult—finally decides to seek out the answers to all his questions. Included in his findings: a grandmother he thought was deceased and a stepbrother he never knew about (who is the spitting image of his dad).

As an actor, Raynor proves to be versatile in embodying members of the opposite sex, including his gruff grandmother, his evasive mother, and his comically contrasting siblings. Director Larry Moss harnesses the writer-performer's natural energy and keeps him focused on his mission.

Aiding Raynor's storytelling techniques are the technical contributions of lighting designer Jonathan Spencer and scenic and image designer Peter R. Feuchtwanger. The sound and projection work of Michael Matthews is so seamless and so effective that his unique artistry adds to the poignancy of the evening.

Raynor never got a chance to really know his father, but through his personal struggle and persistence, viewers will gain many insights into both the titular Floyd Stearn and his remarkable boy.

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