‘Worst-Case Scenario’ author takes on the holidays in ‘No Reservations’

Holiday farce "No Reservations" is premiering at the Adrienne.  Credit: Plate 3 Photography
The holiday farce “No Reservations” is premiering at the Adrienne.
Credit: Plate 3 Photography

Thanks to social media, Josh Piven’s play satirizing social media has already sold out its opening night performance next week.

“The buzz from social media — Twitter, Facebook, bloggers — has really been huge,” the first-time playwright says. “There is definitely an irony here.”

Piven may be new to the theater world, but he has plenty of practice promoting his work as the author of the hugely successful “Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook” series. All told, Piven, a Philly native, has more than 20 humor and nonfiction books under his belt, plus a “Worst-Case” spinoff TV series and a couple of as-yet-unpublished novels. His day job is as speechwriter at the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater.

Piven is tackling a different kind of performance with “No Reservations,” a loose retelling of the nativity story he’s describing as a madcap holiday comedy “in the British tradition of classic farce.”

The show is from the point of view of the innkeepers. Mr. and Mrs. Harris, proprietors of the Speckled Partridge, are expecting a quiet Christmas weekend — until a very famous, very pregnant young singer calling herself Marie shows up on her way to Bethlehem. Scheming Mrs. Harris, facing an underwater mortgage and looking for a “savior,” starts cooking up ways to make a quick buck off the hiding celeb. Her first action is to — what else? — start posting pics on Twitter and Facebook.

“It explodes into this mass social media thing — it’s part of the cult of celebrity, with all these people trying to jockey for advantage,” Piven says. “If a Christ figure came today, there’d be some reality TV producer trying to capitalize on it.”

Learning the ropes

The cast of 11 — the innkeepers, carolers, a reporter, an “American Idol” winner and others — features some Philly theater regulars, acting under the guidance of Allison Heishman of Azuka Theatre. Alongside Heishman, Piven got a crash course in theater.

“My only experience in the past was being in the audience,” Piven says. “When I first met with Allison she said, ‘We have good news and bad news. The good news is we have full creative control — and the bad news is the same thing.”

 

‘No Reservations’
Nov. 29-Dec. 15
Adrienne Theater
2030 Sansom St.
$25
noreservations.brownpapertickets.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Woman's body found floating in East River in…

A woman's body was found Tuesday morning floating in the East River near Clason Point in the Bronx. The NYPD responded to the scene shortly…

International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.