What About Luv?
(Music by Howard Marren: Book by Jeffrey Sweet: Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead: Based on the play LUV by Murray Schisgal)
Audrey Wood Theatre (Off-Broadway April 15, 1984 (17 perfs)
Two men, one woman, the Brooklyn Bridge, a very damp fur coat, neuroses, intrigue, passion, jealousy and a used paper bag all add up to one of the most hilarious small musicals of the '80s
On a bridge over New York's East River, Milt Manville encounters Harry Berlin, an old friend from college days with suicide on his mind. Milt, who portrays himself to the down-and-out Harry as happy and successful, has fallen in love with and wants to marry a young woman named Linda. But there is a slightly messy problem: Milt's wife, Ellen. It suddenly occurs to Milt that Harry may be the solution to the problem. So, when Ellen shows up, Milt introduces them and abruptly departs on a pretext. Alone together, Ellen and Harry quickly discover they are soulmates.
One thing leads to several others and, when Milt returns, they inform him of their intention to marry. Milt gives his blessing and all exit, happy. For the moment. A year later, Milt and Ellen re-encounter on the bridge. Both of their marriages have been disastrous. They rediscover their passion for each other and decide to remarry.
Linda poses no obstacle; she's already walked out on Milt. As for Harry, an accident is all it would take. Harry shows up (carrying the brown paper bag that is his constant companion), and Milt tries to make the accident happen. Only something keeps going wrong, and it is Milt who ends up in the river, not once but twice. Finally, Ellen and a soggy Milt announce to a stunned Harry their intention to run away together. And Harry? After a taste of the river which convinces him that suicide isn't the answer, he decides to work at facing life with a more positive attitude.