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Reasons to Be Happy

Written by: Neil LaBute
Length: 1 hr and 56 mins

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Publisher's Summary

In the sequel to Reasons to Be Pretty, Greg, Steph, Carly, and Kent return a little older, but not necessarily wiser. And don’t worry if you haven’t met them before - there’s more than enough humor and humanity to usher you into the second act of their lives. Includes a backstage conversation with Neil LaBute and the cast. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast production featuring Jenna Fischer, Thomas Sadoski, Gia Crovatin, and Josh Stamberg. Written and directed by Neil LaBute. Recorded by L.A. Theatre Works before a live audience.

©2013 Neil LaBute (P)2013 L.A. Theatre Works

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Gretchen SLP
  • 06-09-19

🎭Entertaining Despite the 😱 Screaming 🙀

I didn’t love this play, or even like it as much as Reasons to Be Pretty, but it was an entertaining diversion during my evening commute. Even if the third play in the trilogy, Reasons to Be Pretty Happy, were available from LATW right now, though, I’m not sure I would purchase it because of all the screaming. When Reasons to Be Pretty starts in medias res, in the middle of an argument in which Stephanie is screaming at Greg, it feels edgy, bold, creative, new. Now that the characters are several years older and Stephanie is still screaming at Greg, it just seems worn out, hackneyed, cliched, stupid, and grating, worse than nails on a chalkboard. I’m not sure I could tolerate a Part Three to their story. Why would Greg even tolerate being screamed at and cursed at on anything even approaching a regular basis? It defies logic. And speaking of illogical, what are the odds that a well-read English teacher, even a kind of bumbling and inept one like Greg, would surround himself with such rabid anti-intellectuals? The almost cartoonish anti-intellectualism (Books? Why would anyone bother to read books? Only sissies read) of two of the four characters becomes totally laughable, it’s so extreme.

Grade: B
Bechdel test: Fail, I think 🤔

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • FocusPulling (.com)
  • 06-08-18

A respectable follow-up to LaBute's masterpiece

I do think that Neil LaBute will be remembered most for his masterpiece "Reasons to Be Happy" which debuted off-Broadway and eventually landed on Broadway to much acclaim (with a small segment dissenting, the usual sneering). This sequel is totally respectable, and shouldn't be faulted for more of a good thing. I saw Jenna Fischer perform the lead role in the world premiere MCC Theater production, and she's no less memorable in this "radio play" version (though I'll always prefer LaBute regular Fred Weller in the original starring role).

It seems likely that LaBute got falsely "#MeToo"-ed when MCC suddenly dropped the third play in this intended trilogy, "Reasons to Be Pretty Happy," without explanation (or apology). I hope that LATW sees it through to its proper debut.

1 person found this helpful