The audience was full of children when Joe Pitti came creeping out of a trunk onto the Broadway Stage Saturday. They clapped and called to him. These are children who know him as an artist-in-residence at their elementary school or who've seen him somewhere else before.
The grown-ups too straightened in their seats when he stepped into the spotlight, leaning forward for yet another performance by this muscular little man with the surrealistic sense of humor.The transplanted New Yorker is developing quite a following in Utah, and for good reason. He's gifted.
My favorites acts of his latest performance are:
"Growing Up," a very traditional sort of mime about moving from childhood to old age, but with a touching moment when Joe falls in love with his ugly newborn baby.
"Armed and Dangerous," an ingenious comedy that takes its humor from sophisticated slapstick.
And "Rocket Ship" wherein Pitti, with amazing fluidity, climbs an imaginary ladder and takes off into space and holds himself to the spaceship with his arms while his legs appear to float weightlessly.
My daughter loved "Making Whoopee" because it features more whoppee cushions than she's ever seen before and "Tickling the Ivories," because it is so fanciful.
With the possible exception of "Safe Sex" (Pitti and Carolyn Wood don't actually touch each other, but their shadows kiss passionately) Utah parents will feel very comfortable taking their children to see Joe Pitti.
After all, you know there won't be any bad language.