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‘Harbor,’ theater review

Two married gay men clash over raising a baby in “Harbor,” a comedy about parenthood that couldn’t be timelier. Or Time-lier, since the magazine’s latest cover story is about how having it all can mean not having children.

Chad Beguelin (“Elf,” “The Wedding Singer”), in his first nonmusical, has written a play that’s highly topical. It is equally contrived and laced with sitcom-style yuks.

Set in Sag Harbor, N.Y., the action follows Ted (Paul Anthony Stewart), an architect, and his younger stay-at-home husband, Kevin (an appealing Randy Harrison), a wanna-be writer who’s noodled on a novel for 10 years. They share a blissful, no-muss life and a handsome home.

That idyll is shattered when Kevin’s low-life sister Donna (Erin Cummings, very tangy) barges in with her teenaged daughter Lottie (Alexis Molnar, deadpan and delightful), who’s bright, polite and well-adjusted. Doubly so, since they live out of their van.

Alexis Molnar (l.) and Erin Cummings play a daughter and expectant mother in ‘Harbor.’

Alexis Molnar (l.) and Erin Cummings play a daughter and expectant mother in ‘Harbor.’

Manipulative and despicable Donna announces she’s pregnant. She’s banking on kid-friendly Kevin to adopt the bundle. But Ted is zealously against tots (Stewart shines in an anti-baby screed) and Kevin always defers to his spouse.

But the infant is a game-changer, and the comedy turns more serious as it floats ideas about relationships, power and compromises. In the end, the play works over a trusted trope: An outsider arrives and changes everything.

Director Mark Lamos keeps the show moving briskly, and Beguelin throws and lands witty remarks. The nagging issue is that the dialogue seldom sounds like characters talking, but like a writer’s words spilling out of their mouths.

That’s especially true of Donna. When she declares that Lottie is “wicked smart. She’s like, Asian smart,” the phrase zings. But as someone who until recently “thought the word ‘misogynist’ meant someone who gives massages,” what’s her point of reference? Funny but hollow one-liners muddy this “Harbor.”

jdziemianowicz@nydailynews.com


Music & Arts – NY Daily News

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