Elaine Stritch is an icon. The big ol' broad is notorious for her raspy yet boisterous vocal and that drink in her hand. But underneath, hidden inside the dame we know and love was someone declining. In Elaine Stritch: Still Here, Jay Malsky takes on the tough as nails woman as we watch her during the final stretch of her cabaret run. There are laughs, but make no mistake, this is a drama. Employing the active and awesome “Annie Baker pause”, Malsky gives us the struggle that Elaine journeyed through while still trying to pay respect to those who idolized her. What this piece really is is a character study of an icon. Malsky does a solid job adopting Stritch's tone and general mannerisms. From a textual point, the piece could use some finessing. The scenes are strung together in a series of vignettes over a period of time which stops the momentum. Perhaps allowing the piece to live in a singular moment before the final scene would allow that impact to resonate a bit more.
Jay Malsky proves his great worth as a performer. His attention to detail is what makes this piece special. I’ll drink to that.