FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JESSE TYLER FERGUSON’S BUZZY NEW PLAY, FULLY COMMITTED
1. It’s a one-man show, but Ferguson plays, 40 characters—and offers up about as many accents. We think Meryl Streep might be worried. (While Ferguson got his start on Broadway, he hasn’t been on The Great White Way for 10 years. New York audiences did have a chance to see him two years ago when performed in The Tempest, a Shakespeare in the Park production.)
2, Ferguson had to learn a 90-page script, which he started memorizing last October. He said, “I have been studying my butt off going over lines and accents. It’s been a lot of work considering we [were] still in full swing filming season 7 of Modern Family in LA!”
3. Ferguson’s main role is that of struggling actor Sam, who works the non-stop reservation line at one of New York’s most happening restaurants. He juggles booking requests for everyone from mafia dons to boldfacers, along with an assorted cast of desperate callers, who will stop at little—coercion, petty threats, bribes, histrionics—to land a prime reservation. Ferguson depicts them all.
4. The play, a send-up of today’s manic food culture, attempts to ask the cosmic question—how does the best food inspire the worst behavior? In New York, there’s probably no good answer.
5. Playwrights Becky Mode and Mark Setlock, who drew on their experiences working in high-end restaurants when writing the play that originally debuted in 1999, updated it to reflect today’s even more intense foodie and restaurant culture. (Ferguson, like the playwrights, has connections to the real food world, too–he’s as an investor in Terrine, a restaurant in Los Angeles.)