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I’m Still Here, Reading in My Apartment – one-woman show delivers a reserved punch

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Theater review by Cesar Crouton

Judith Andelman reflects on her journey from a single, artistically inclined, withdrawn actress to an unmarried, creative, introverted, performer. It’s a transformation to behold, and she does it without making eye contact with the audience for two and a half hours.

Ms. Andelman – a veteran of countless Off, Off, Off Broadway productions including “I’m Afraid of Virginia Woolf’s Cocktail Parties,” The Iceman Cometh and won’t Shut Upeth,” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Boring Me” – explains through music and monologue how she overcame and embraced her introversion.

We watch this gifted, if not approachable, actress blossom before our eyes. As a child, sitting in her room, she sings about the joys of solitude (“No One to Watch Over Me”). Her teenage years are a profile in uneasiness. Her silence is always misinterpreted as standoffishness (“I Go to My Head”).

Ms. Andelman is an obsessive diarist. She quotes liberally from it her countless lovers who ask countless times, “Why are you so quiet?” This consumes approximately 95 percent of the show and 249 renditions of “Never Say Goodbye, Or Anything Else.”

The evening’s most heartbreaking moment comes when she hits rock bottom and is dismissed from a dinner theater production of “A Chorus Line” for insisting she only appear on stage with one dancer at a time. She apologizes and offers to dance with at least three. It’s too late and she realizes it, tearfully acknowledging “What I Probably Should Have Done for Love.”

Eventually through song and an imaginary therapist, Adelman explores her introversion. This leads to acceptance and self-love. In an emotional finale, she sends the audience home with a heartfelt and inspired “Of Me I Sing (Baby).”

I’m Still Here, Reading in My Apartment: Created and performed by Judith Andelman; Songs and lyrics by Judith Andelman (pending a lawsuits by the estates of George and Ira Gershwin, J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie, Clifton Davis, Marvin Hamlisch, and many others.)

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