During old age, a person experiences the nuances of a life in its dusk. Many consider this time as a chance to look back on a life lived in all of its glory. For those who see life with ease, the reflections may bring a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that one has done enough. To others, it may be a time of mourning and regret. The experiences can be varied, but in truth, loss is a central part of this stage in one’s life. People have to let go of their jobs (which may have given purpose to their existence for decades) for compulsory retirement, family and friends sadly pass away, and many go through terminal illnesses. Mortality is at the doorstep, and it may be difficult to take in. However, experiencing so much loss does not mean that life halts there.
Life continues, and people of old age still hold space for them to go on. For this reason, it is justifiable for a person at this stage to cling to objects or memories so they can remind themselves and others that they, too, are still living and have gone through so much of it. Many works focus on this theme, and among the newest is the Broadway dramedy play entitled “I Need That,” which looks at life from the lens of someone who is dealing with the experiences of old age and his coping with it through sentimentality and not letting go. This is a funny and poignant stage play about aging, relationships and moving forward. “I Need That” runs at the American Airlines Theatre. Watch it now because you may need it.
I Need That Tickets:
“DeVito is a star for a reason: His vulnerable, hilarious performance is a certifiable gem. If only this treasure weren’t so often lost in the piles that surround it.” – Time Out New York
“‘I Need That’ will prove satisfying for those looking to be entertained by DeVito and his daughter. He brings real joy and laughter, and there’s real value in that.” – Variety
“I Need That” is written by Theresa Rebeck. Rebeck is a prolific playwright and screenwriter who authored five Broadway plays, which are “Mauritius,” “Seminar,” “Dead Accounts,” “Seared,” and finally, “I Need That.” She holds the record for the most non-musical productions on Broadway. Apart from this record, she has more than a hundred credited written works, which include a Pulitzer-nominated play and a popular TV show. Partnering with her is Tony-nominated theater director Moritz von Stuelpnagel. Von Stuelpnagel is known for his daring works in “Hand to God,” “Present Laughter,” and “Larissa FastHouse.” Both writer and director have worked together before in five productions. They are the minds behind the successful run of “Seared” on Broadway and the brilliant comedic play “Bernhardt/Hamlet.”
Rebeck and von Stuelpnagel worked on the musical during the pandemic. Both wanted a story reminiscent of the stay-at-home experience during the lockdown, which then became the starting point of the play. But before they could ever start, they got the news that Danny DeVito and his daughter Lucy DeVito wanted to work on a play created by the two creatives. Rebeck built the story with the father-daughter relationship Danny and Lucy have. A script by Rebeck would not be complete without her classic flair, which the Associated Press calls “mysteries — stolen money, a secret stamp collection, an inheritance, a personal lie — as well as fast, funny and profane dialogue.”
Danny DeVito’s I Need That:
The story behind Danny DeVito’s part in the development of “I Need That” goes back to when he and Lucy worked with von Stuelpnagel for a small theatre benefit performance. They both loved working with the director and proposed their want to work with him again. This performance for the benefit show was that of a one-act, which became the first reference of the play. After hitting up with von Stuelpnagel, they met with Rebeck, who was eager to take part in the project. In an interview, DeVito said that it was an honor for him to work with the likes of Rebeck. He said that this work was more of a gift to him. “This is a story that I imagine came from somewhere inside Theresa. I think it’s very personal, and we’re thrilled to be part of it,” DeVito mentioned in the same interview.
The play tells the story of Sam (Danny), who has been keeping a lot of stuff in his house. The “hoarding” became so bad that the neighbors decided to call the health department. This event led to him being warned and being in danger of eviction if he did not clean up his mess. To help him sort this problem out, his daughter Amanda (Lucy) decided to help him with the clutter. In all of these happenings, there is a part of Sam who does not want to let go of the things he is keeping. They remind him of many memories of his wife, being a Vietnam veteran, and his early years as a family man. He also receives support from his closest friend, Foster (played by Ray Anthony Thomas). His resistance to letting go of his things and his daughter’s demands that he stop this behavior lead to the central conflict of the play.
Due to such a simple but deep premise, the play stays in one setting at Sam’s house wherein a huge pile of belongings and trash pile up. The staging is in with the joke, and it is an amusing thing to see from an audience perspective. There is cleverness in a lot of ways in this production, and you do not want to miss it.
“I Need That” opens on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre on November 2, 2023. The premiere was looked forward to by many critics, avid theatergoers, and DeVito fans. A few years back, Danny DeVito starred in “The Price” and received accolades for it and a Tony nomination. For most critics, DeVito is the stand-out of the play, receiving praise for his effortless comedy and mastery in delivery. Many advocate that if you watch this showcase, you should do it for him because he has made such a funny, relatable, and beloved character.
“Danny DeVito is a certifiable gem.” – Time Out New York
“Danny DeVito is easy to love.” – The New York Post
The majestic American Airline Theatre will showcase “I Need That” up until the 30th of December. This is going to be a fulfilling watch. If you are aware of DeVito’s works, it is sure that you will be in for a fun ride as you reflect on life’s messes. Maybe if you do, you will leave the theatre with a full heart and an utterance of an “I needed that.” Book your tickets now!