(Hedy Weiss’s article appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, 12/15.)
He calls himself an “Expert in the Field of General Merchandise.” And to watch him hawk second-hand brassieres to passersby on the Coney Island boardwalk — with his “shop” located inside his tattered overcoat, whose pockets are filled with other trinkets, and pieces of candy — is to see a master at work. True, he barely manages to make a nickel, but no one would argue with the fact that he is an artist — a salesman whose innate theatrical instincts are a wondrous combination of King Lear and Borscht Belt comic.
nd there you have it — Matty Selman’s exquisitely written one-man (three character) play, “Uncle Philip’s Coat,” first produced in New York in 1998, and only now receiving a wondrous Chicago premiere. Why did it take so long? Probably because very few actors could pull this work off with the sort of brilliance and heart-wrenching truthfulness that veteran Chicago actor Gene Weygandt is now bringing to the story. The production, part of the ongoing Solo Celebration series at The Greenhouse Theater Center, is masterful in every way, and clearly Weygandt and his director, Elizabeth Margolius, felt a specially affinity for this tale, which is being told so beautifully.