Kevin Conway gives a dazzling performance as a victorious Wall Street villain you don't hate in off-Broadway's "Other People's Money."
"Other People's Money" at the Minetta Lane Theater is a skate across the frozen pond of corporate takeover. Playwright Jerry Sterner guides the audience, fast, through the jargon - poison pill, greenmail. Not everybody may grasp all of it, but nobody falls through the ice.The action, though it moves from metropolis to shabby small-town office, is linear and much easier to follow than last season's "Serious Money," which hopped around in time, place and subject and often had brokers all yelling at once.
Conway plays Lawrence Garfinkle, originally from the Bronx, now known as Larry the Liquidator because he buys stock in companies worth more dead than alive and finishes them off.
Andrew Jorgenson (Arch Johnson) is the elderly owner of New England Wire and Cable, proud that the company is debt-free, though not what it once was, and that employs 1,200 people in his Rhode Island town.
But Garfinkle's real opposition is Kate Sullivan, fledgling Wall Street lawyer whose mother, Bea (Scotty Bloch), is Jorgenson's secretary. The acting of Mercedes Ruehl, who was in the film "Married to the Mob," nearly equals Conway's.
When Larry the Liquidator and Kate meet, both smart, with savvy, charm and wit, the verbal sparks fly.
Kate is hampered by Jorgenson in her fight to keep the company from being taken over; he is so principled that he won't use any ploy that harms the employees or the stockholders.
Larry sees it as a game. When Bea offers him $1 million to go away, he refuses because he can make more by not going away.
The playwright left the business world six years ago, at 44, to write plays. This is his second effort presented off-Broadway.