Press materials for the new performance series Love, Loss, and What I Wore, developed by Nora and Delia Ephron based on the book by Ilene Beckerman, describe it as "The Vagina Monologues without the vaginas." The pieces contained in this five-woman show use women’s closets, not their vaginas, as a metaphor for their lives, and on that tip it’s definitely SFM (Safe For Moms).
While one’s tolerance of this gambit depends on how seriously one takes fashion in general, Love, Loss... is fun enough when it’s not trying to be too deep. The rotating cast (including Rosie O’Donnell and Natasha Lyonne now, in later weeks to include Jane Lynch and Kristin Chenoweth) trades off dramatic readings of pieces about clothing and its place in women’s lives, from the cowboy boots that caused one woman to stay far too long with the wrong man to the bag that never matches anything, thus can be worn all the time.
Tyne Daly reads from one continuous piece about a woman whose life story encompasses losing her mother as a teenager and three marriages; "clothesline" topics cause all the women to chime in with stories about dressing up like Madonna or the fashion crimes they would like to kill (jumpsuits, for instance). Samantha Bee of The Daily Show is a standout in the ensemble, including portraying Katie Finneran’s psychoanalyst in a comic bit in "Fat/Thin" and the moving "Brides" in which she and Finneran portray women preparing for their wedding. Love, Loss... won’t convince anyone that clothes make the woman, but even audience members who’ve never put on a paper dress will be able to relate to the feeling of wanting to be dressed for whatever life brings.
Love, Loss, and What I Wore continues through January 3 at the Westside Theater, 407 W. 43rd St.
For more information visit LoveLossOnStage.com.