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TO ZERO MOSTEL
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REVIEWS FOR ZERO HOUR
Jim Brochu brings back to life Zero Mostel in Zero Hour. He re-creates the definitive backstory to this amazing performer's appearances in such shows as Fiddler on the Roof, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Mel Brooks' The Producers and many more. Brochu is both hilarious and poignant as he recounts Mostel’s big life - as a Broadway legend, a larger than life personality and the target of Hollywood blacklisting.
“Thank you for bringing back a volcano that we thought was long extinct”- Theodore Bikel
This is acting on the grand scale, full of blood and guts and glory and if you care about theatre, or about the evils that people have done (and still continue to do) in the name of politics, then you must see this show.
TORONTO STAR- Richard Ouzounian (3.5 out of 4 stars)
If you're looking to bask – or perhaps quiver – in the presence of the late, larger-than-life star for an evening, Brochu delivers the goods.
GLOBE AND MAIL -- J. Kelly Nestruck (3 out of 4 stars)
... a madcap theatrical portrait of the legendary Zero Mostel that is absolutely delightful and, ultimately, deeply moving.
TORONTO SUN- by John Coulbourn
...as well as perfectly reproducing Mostel’s physical and vocal bulk, Brochu does deliver a performance that stands in its own right. He may be trying on another man’s suit, but he isn’t just hanging on to his coattails.
NATIONAL POST - Robert Cushman
I don’t know how many hours Mr. Brochu, who also wrote the script, has spent in front of a mirror practicing his eye rolls and bellowing quips, but it has paid off. He’s the spitting image of the bearish Mostel, down to the strands of hair barely covering his head.
THE NEW YORK TIMES - Jason Zioman
At Zero Hour, I actually had one of those marvelous theatrical moments that people always claim to have: I suddenly realized that I’d been accepting Jim Brochu as Zero Mostel to the point where I’d forgot I wasn’t watching Zero Mostel.”
THEATREMANIA - Peter Filichia
Brochu evokes the kind of prickle on the back of the neck usually delivered by
David Lynch movies. VARIETY - Sam Thielman
“Very funny. Brochu's living restoration has brought Mostel's larger-than-life personality back into the spotlight for a laugh-filled, much-welcomed presentation.”
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
“It all flows and provides plenty of big laughs as well as hushed drama. After a while, you stop caring whether a particular line is Brochu’s or Mostel’s; all you know is that you’ve been privy to the work of a great comedian."
THE NEW YORKER
"We owe Jim Brochu adebt of gratitude for Zero Hour, an extraordinary act of reincarnation that restores the outsize actor to us in all of his daunting dimensions. From the moment that Brochu spins around to face the audience, he is a Hirschfeld drawing come to pulsing life! You can’t help being swept up in the tornado of energy as Brochu’s star turn conjures forth a Zero larger than life and death.”
TIME OUT NEW YORK-- Critics Pick and FOUR STARS
“The rumors of Zero Mostel's death have apparently been greatly exaggerated. Jim Brochu recalls his subject so uncannily in looks, voice and anarchic spirit that one immediately wants to see him in revivals of "Forum" and "Fiddler." Thirty-two years after Mostel's untimely death, it's a pleasure to have him back on the boards."
THE NEW YORK POST
"What do you know about Zero Mostel? If all you know is that he was the original Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Jim Brochu’s (pronounced Bro-shu) one-man show, “Zero Hour,” introduces you to the real force that provides this excuse for a tour-de-force role. Brochu’s Mostel is a gentle bear of a person, whose insults are always funnier than they are mean. He’s an innocent, a holy clown, so his sorrows are all the more affecting."
THE JEWISH FORWARD
Zero Hour captures Mostel's rich contradictions in a loving but unvarnished homage as entertaining as the man himself. Jim Brochu seems almost fatefully destined to play Mostel. Brochu reintroduces us to the funny, fantastically contrary Mostel in all his biting intelligence and imperfection.
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
Zero Hour has the virtue of verisimilitude and Jim Brochu amply brings the hero to Zero. With his ample frame, expressive eyes and hair forced forward to cover a thinning scalp, Brochu looks spookily like his subject, for whom he's written the piece as a heart-engraved valentine. The vocal inflections, too, are absolutely impeccable. If you close your eyes, you'll swear you hear the Mostel of Brooklyn and Broadway, the late star who forever put a stamp on two of the plum roles of musical comedy's golden age: Tevye the Milkman in "Fiddler on the Roof" and Pseudolus, the conniving Roman slave, in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." Aping Mostel's impish charm -- those rolling rogue's eyes! -- and replicating his surefire timing, Brochu proves to be a worthy keeper of Mostel's outrageous flame.
THE WASHINGTON POST
Zero Hour is an impressive tour de force - a fitting tribute to an irreplaceable force of theatrical nature and a suitably outraged account of the cultural and political purges known as McCarthyism and their invidiously anti-Semitic effect. Mostel is peremptory, anarchic, outrageous, reflective, furious and very funny; Brochu peppering his script with the great comic's best quips. The amount of material and insight Brochu packs into the show is impressive, entertaining and salutary and his "Zero" is a moving tribute and a cautionary tale, well told.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
Actor and writer Jim Brochu has the size — physical and emotional — of Zero Mostel in his funny and piercing one-man show, Zero Hour, playing at Theater J under the astute direction of actress Piper Laurie. Zero Hour portrays Mr. Mostel being interviewed in his art studio by an unseen New York Times reporter who tries to separate fact from fanciful fiction and also concentrates on the comedian's laughless years when he was blacklisted in the 1950s following his refusal to name names before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Even here there are hilarious moments, including a near-verbatim depiction of his appearance in front of the committee, showing Mr. Mostel as the ultimate canny provocateur. For all the humor born out of bitterness, there also are equal amounts of bigheartedness and deep empathy. Mr. Brochu captures Mr. Mostel's thundering bravado — the florid language, extravagant gestures, the wagging brows and glowering stare, the way the comedian could never pass up a pun. The low humor is abundant, but so are the high ideals. Mr. Mostel claims to have come from nothing, but Zero Hour affirms his worth as both an actor and a man.
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A volcano explodes nightly in the Broward Stage Door Theater, spewing flame and lava over the audience without benefit of special effects. Brochu becomes a force of nature at the end of the first act as Mostel rages at the obscene damage inflicted by the 1950s blacklist. As both playwright and actor, Brochu has nailed the essence of this difficult but brilliant chameleon who could be tender and terrifying, playful and combative, all in the space a few seconds. Directed by Piper Laurie, Brochu and Mostel are terrific company.
FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL
No single performance could possibly top Jim Brochu's amazing turn as Zero Mostel in his own new play Zero Hour. Brochu has finely mastered Mostel's character. It is a remarkable performance, and the writing is superb.
One person shows just don't get any better than this! Jim Brochu is doing a biographical performance of Zero Mostel and he very capably carries the audience through laughter and tears and political and human terror to tell the very moving story of one of the greats of musical comedies and films. His comedy timing is impeccable and his description of disappointments in Zero's life rings of universality especially the burial ceremony arranged by his orthodox parents for him in the synagogue because he married a "shicksa". The play is well written as well and recollection references keep reoccurring for the listening audience...giving a wonderful clarification of the special people in Zero's life. One is surprised to see that it is directed by Piper Laurie of movie fame...and she does a splendid job of moving the actor around the stage and giving Mr. Brochu appropriate pauses and other highlights to turn Mr. Brochu into a doppleganger of Mr. Mostel. This is an award winning performance and every theater lover must see this marvelous show!
WASHINGTON ARTS REVIEW
A solo show is a difficult thing to pull off. It is a monumental task for one person to keep an audience engaged for a whole show, and the line between wonderful and dreadful is razor thin. But in Zero Hour, Jim Brochu proves he is well up to the challenge. He tackles the complex and contradictory life of Zero Mostel with a flourish that is captivating from the moment the lights come up. Brochu, who also wrote the script, brings this mammoth of the theater back to life for one more night of thought provoking entertainment. His Mostel is both self-deprecating and everyone-else-deprecating. And, the best part is, all of this is hysterically funny. The writing is marvelously witty, with all sorts of Zero-isms that serve as delightful little breaks in the action.. Brochu does not sugarcoat or simplify but shows a man who is simultaneously strong and broken, a contradiction that I think summed up Mostel’s life. A character like Mostel is like a masquerade costume, intriguing on its own, but made enthralling by the person who wears it. Brochu dons this costume and fills it out in a way that keeps us all engaged. He shows him, not as a flawless caricature, but as a lively, broken, and enigmatic man. It is a night of deep thoughts and deeper belly laughs, and what could be better than that?
DC THEATRE SCENE
Zero Hour is our critics pick for a highly polished explosion of humor and fury.
Zero Hour is another of those magical transportations that live theater can impart - the chance to spend an evening in the presence of a person from the past. Brochu brings the man back to life, looking so much like a living, breathing (and bellowing) Al Hirschfeld sketch of the real thing that you suspect the streaks in his comb over spell out "Nina." That hurt and the resulting anger is at the heart of the story Brochu is telling here. Yes, there are all the funny stories of his successes and failures on the stage and, yes, there are the bursts of comic energy that were Mostel's trademark. But it is the story of his being blacklisted for his failure to tell the House Committee on Un-American Activities the details they demand about a meeting in Hollywood that took place years before he even came to California and his subsequent refusal to "name names" that give the piece substance. Throughout the performance, Brochu as Mostel dabbles in watercolor on a pad on his table. By the end, he has created a portrait. Oh, but by that time he has already created a portrait - of Zero Mostel. It is a chance to meet Mr. Mostel that is not to be missed.
In Zero Hour, Brochu's Mostel mixes humor with pain. He answers his phone "Palestinian Anti-Defamation League. This is Yassir speaking." He tells a reporter he casts as a model, "Now turn more to your left. Oh, but you're from the New York Times. How much further left can you turn?" He jokes that a press agent gave him the name Zero due to his school grade point average. He calls FDR one of history's greatest Jewish minds. There is something very special about Brochu's Mostel. Not only is the script brilliantly written and hilarious - and it is both - but it is also personal. As a high school sophomore, Brochu met Mostel on the set of A Funny Thing. "I had no idea who Zero Mostel was when I first saw the show," Brochu writes in an author's note in the script, "but was knocked out by the comedic force of nature that ruled over the stage of the Alvin Theatre." A comedic force of nature that knocks people out is a description that could apply to Brochu's acting as well. The show is set in Mostel's studio, where he paints, as a reporter, who is off-stage interviews him. Mostel participates in the interview reluctantly at first, but then pours out his life story, down to the most intimate details.
THE JEWISH PRESS – NATIONAL WEEKLY
This one-man show is possibly, one of the most bravura performances I have ever seen, not only in South Florida, but on Broadway as well. To say that Brochu inhabits the character is an understatement. THIS is what theatre should be: serious, funny, and almost two hours where the audience is not being patronized but made to THINK! A hearty 10 out of 10.
SOUTH FLORIDA CARBONELL AWARD REVIEWS
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