The play by Mando Alvardo and directed by Jerry Ruiz is
serviceable, but I am sure Jake Cannavale will always remember his debut
in “Basilica” on a stage in New York and so will we. This recent
high school graduate, who plans to attend Emerson College in the fall, is the
son of Bobby Cannavale, one of our most dynamic American actors of stage and
screen. Early in the season, Bobby had a featured role in “Glengarry Glen Ross” and just
finished a run a star of The Big
Knife. The two may be starting
their own theatrical dynasty.
Jake, tall and long-haired, makes a good impression and is
likeable here as the teenaged Ray Garza, who is torn between pleasing his
parents or starting a future. He has been accepted to a college in Chicago; it
is far from his home in San Juan, Texas, but he really wants to go. His
parents, Joe and Lela, are struggling with the idea. Seriously religious Lela,
the very convincing Selenis Leyva, leans
toward her son being able to leave and make a life. Joe, volatile and more
close-minded, insists he stay home and attend a local college. Felix Solis is powerful as this hard-working
man who, fueled by alcohol, is furious at just about everything except his
young daughter, Jessica, the cute Yadira Guevara-Prip, who seems too old for
the role. However, that is the problem
with the play. Joe is angry at everything and everyone. He is angry at his wife
who wants him to stop drinking; he is angry at his sister, Lou, a sassy Rosa
Colon, who runs the family bar; he is certainly angry at his son, for going to
the new priest Father Gil, for advice.
Ay, there's the rub! Father Gil, a part Alfredo Narcisco
plays with a streak of meanness, did a terrible thing to Lela when they were
young, and ran away. He is anxious to
give Ray advice on what to do, much to the consternation of Lela and Joe.
Tragedy strikes suddenly which catapults all the characters into taking
different positions. Raul Abrego's neat set lit by Burke Brown, encompasses the
church, a bar and the backyard of a home.
Carisa Kelley is in charge of costumes.
Jane Shaw did the Sound; I surmise she was in charge of the music, which
had a nice Latin beat.
sincere but predictable play, is on the boards at the Cherry Lane Theater
through June 22.