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Not Without My Nipples! the Made for Tv Musical

The latest venture by (some of) the creators of long-running legit "The Real Live Brady Bunch" looks at the creation and aftermath of a made-for-TV movie. While "Brady" was campy fun, this one is raunchy and malicious. Clearly not for all tastes, the show -- which began its run June 9 in SanFran -- should attract a following in Hollywood.

With:
Sally Struthers ... Jeanane Garofolo Meredith Baxter ... Melanie Hutsell Judith Light ... Brett Paesel Chase Goldberg ... Faith Soloway Joyce DeWitt ... Jill Soloway Johnny Cash ... Eric Waddell Gavin McLeod ... Patrick Towne Elizabeth Ashley ... Benjamin Zook

The latest venture by (some of) the creators of long-running legit “The Real Live Brady Bunch” looks at the creation and aftermath of a made-for-TV movie. While “Brady” was campy fun, this one is raunchy and malicious. Clearly not for all tastes, the show — which began its run June 9 in SanFran — should attract a following in Hollywood.

In a situation reminiscent of the recent Showtime pic “Chantilly Lace,” producer Chase Goldberg (Faith Soloway) hires several actors and invites them to a remote retreat to write their own dialogue for a telepic.

The first act shows actors writing the film (titled “Not Without My Nipples,” for reasons best left unexplained here). Act 2 is reenactment of “People’s Pick Awards” ceremony following airing of “Nipples.” A subplot involving someone’s attempt to murder Meredith Baxter is carried to an anticlimactic resolution.

What appeal there is comes from watching the parodies of “Saturday Night Live ,” written with a harder edge and a good deal of real and imagined Hollywood dish.

Characters parodied have little in common. The implication is, they’re has-beens, but that’s hardly true of some of them.

The real reason may be that these are the personas whom the legit cast can (sort of) fake.

As might be expected, some of the characterizations are more on target than others. Melanie Hutsell’s Meredith Baxter is awful, Jill Soloway’s Joyce DeWitt borders on brilliance, and the rest are somewhere in between.

Eric Waddell (in one of the show’s numerous purposely horrendous wigs) brays like Johnny Cash, but looks more like David Keith.

Jeanane Garofolo’s Sally Struthers is OK, without much physical resemblance; Patrick Towne has Gavin McLeod down pretty well; Brett Paesel’s Judith Light is mediocre; and Benjamin Zook’s Elizabeth Ashley is chain-smoking, pill-popping and overweight.

Story climaxes with an orgy reminiscent of one in “The Real Live Brady Bunch.” It’s raunchy and — save for a fantasy involving McLeod and Cash — not that funny.

Songs in first act, accompanied by Faith Soloway on synthesizer, are OK; production numbers credited to cast.

Second act is a real improvement, with mock awards show hosted by “Family Feud” host Ray Combs (Waddell, quite good). The writers have captured the inane, strained dialogue of award-show presenters, and setup allows the actors to limn showbiz personalities, including “Mary-Kate and/or Ashley Olsen” (Garofolo) and Jill Soloway as Heidi Fleiss.

“Saturday Night Live” regular Hutsell’s best-known impreshes, Tori Spelling and Jan Brady, don’t show up. That’s a pity, but Hutsell is bailing the show after Sept. 5.

Not Without My Nipples! the Made for Tv Musical

(Coast Playhouse, West Hollywood; 99 seats; $ 12.50 top)

Production: The Coast Playhouse presents a Benjamin Zook/Soloway Sisters production of a musical in two acts. Conceived and directed by Benjamin Zook and Faith Soloway; lyrics by the cast.

Creative: Music, Soloway; producer, DW Fairbanks; scenic design, Stefan Popov, James Darby; lights, Todd Bakerian; costumes, David Cunningham. Opened Aug. 20, 1993; reviewed Aug. 22; runs through Sept. 12.

Cast: Sally Struthers ... Jeanane Garofolo Meredith Baxter ... Melanie Hutsell Judith Light ... Brett Paesel Chase Goldberg ... Faith Soloway Joyce DeWitt ... Jill Soloway Johnny Cash ... Eric Waddell Gavin McLeod ... Patrick Towne Elizabeth Ashley ... Benjamin Zook

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