THE BASICS: THE LIFE AND SLIMES OF MARC SUMMERS, a play based on the life and experiences of Marc Summers by Marc Summers and Alex Brightman with music by Drew Gasparini, directed by Chad Rabinovitz. Sept 9-30. Thurs, Fri & Sat at 7:30pm, Sat at 3pm, Sun at 2pm. Curtain Up performance on Sept 22 will start at 8pm and there will be a showing on Sept 18 & 27 at 7:30pm. All performances at Alleyway Theatre, 1 Curtain Up Alley, Buffalo, NY 14202. (716) 852-2600.
RUNTIME: 90 minutes with no intermission
THUMBNAIL SKETCH: Marc Summers is an icon of a generation. You may know him from his time hosting Nickelodeon’s Double Dare and Food Network’s Unwrapped, or as the Producer of hits like Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible, but now you get the chance to meet the real Marc Summers in person– a man who’s led a fascinating life of fame and frustration.
The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers is a guided tour through Marc’s life, from an early obsession with magic to his notable television career to his appearance on Oprah announcing his ongoing battle with OCD. Marc stars in this tell-all about his life, his disorder, and taking the physical challenge.
THE PLAYERS, THE PLAY, AND THE PRODUCTION: For many Generation X and Millenninals, Marc Summers as a beloved and iconic part of their childhoods. After a long day of school, usually after dinner, many of us would tune into Nickelodeon to watch as he hosted Double Dare, a game show that was a fun mix of trivia, physical challenges and just a lot of fun. The original show ran from 1986-1993 with a total of 482 episodes.
As the curtain rises, Marc delves into his modest roots in Indianapolis, Indiana. He shares anecdotes of his dreams of becoming a magician and his budding passion for the limelight, all the while giving the audience a glimpse of his personal struggle with OCD. This narrative arc is woven skillfully throughout the performance. Notable moments include a journey through his collegiate years, his time as a page on the Bob Barker-helmed Truth or Consequences, and his foray into stand-up comedy at the renowned Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Audiences are taken on a journey of the success and struggles in Marc’s interesting and colorful life, extracting valuable life lessons along the way. Marc addresses the retelling of these moments with a blend of humor and authenticity, drawing genuine empathy from the viewing audience.
The vibrant set, crafted by Christopher Rhoton and brought to life by Alleyway’s Technical Director, Emma Schimminger, is an impressive visual homage to the vivid palettes of the mid-1990s.
I attended the Saturday evening performance with a nearly sold out crowd. Conversations revolved around cherished memories of Double Dare or fan-favorite episodes of Food Network’s Unwrapped.
Whether you recognize him from Double Dare or another endeavor, The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers is not to be missed. His distinctive narrative style, coupled with immersive music, and a captivating set, truly engaged the attendees.
The production was nothing short of delightful. With heart and humor, Marc unraveled his life’s journey, resonating with every audience member in this 90-minute thrilling rollercoaster. After the show, Marc graciously met with fans, immortalizing the night with photographs. So be sure to stick around!
This stellar performance perfectly kicked off Alleyway’s 2023-24 season! If you get a chance, do not pass up on this show.
*HERD OF BUFFALO (Notes on the Rating System)
ONE BUFFALO: This means trouble. A dreadful play, a highly flawed production, or both. Unless there is some really compelling reason for you to attend (i.e. you are the parent of someone who is in it), give this show a wide berth.
TWO BUFFALOS: Passable, but no great shakes. Either the production is pretty far off base, or the play itself is problematic. Unless you are the sort of person who’s happy just going to the theater, you might look around for something else.
THREE BUFFALOS: I still have my issues, but this is a pretty darn good night at the theater. If you don’t go in with huge expectations, you will probably be pleased.
FOUR BUFFALOS: Both the production and the play are of high caliber. If the genre/content are up your alley, I would make a real effort to attend.
FIVE BUFFALOS: Truly superb–a rare rating. Comedies that leave you weak with laughter, dramas that really touch the heart. Provided that this is the kind of show you like, you’d be a fool to miss it!