WHY NOT ME Proves Jen Bosworth Is Still a Star and Definitely Not An A**Hole

Ethel Merman once uttered one of the greatest truths in the world “There’s No Business Like Show Business”.  It is an industry that can take those not ready for it on a wild ride capable of serious emotional destruction.  Jen Bosworth has been on that journey and survived. In her new one-woman show, Why Not Me, it is clear that she has learned a lot from her days in Hollywood.  A Chicago native, Jen is one of those rare birds where success came quite rapidly. After a starring role in Steppenwolf’s The House On Mango Street she found herself featured in the t.v. series E.R. and later, Early Edition.  After the agency machine ran over Ms. Bosworth, she found herself working in a metaphysical bookstore where she was again discovered, this time by Nicholas Cage, for whom she became his personal assistant.  

The play is sub-titled Love, Cancer and Jack White, and it is within these three discoveries that the show gets is emotional gravitas.  Life happens to all of us but it is how we cope with the obstacles and more than that, learn from the dying, that we can learn to live an authentic life.  Ms. Bosworth examines this journey to great success.   Why Not Me explores watching her father battle addiction, her mother fighting a losing battle with cancer and her escapism listening to musician Jack White.  Jen weaves her sixty minute tale with precise timing and great comic agility, always connecting with with her audience and more importantly, never taking her audience for granted..

In harmony with Ms. Bosworth is musician Briar Rabbit who underscores the play brilliantly.  Mr. Rabbit gives the perfect balance and cadence to the often-shifting tone of the monologue.   Being a new work, Why Not Me will surely go through some refinement.  Director Alyson Lyon does a vibrant job of pacing the show, however the material shifts very quickly from Hollywood back to Illinois.  The play would benefit from more material regarding the Hollywood machine that Jen encountered, thus making the family drama all the more salient.   I’m sure as the play gets in front of more audiences, it will grow in structure.

One person plays are notoriously difficult, but Why Not Me is that rarity which works on all levels.  Moreover, you will leave the theatre uplifted, knowing that life can only be truly lived when you come to terms with the truth of who you are.  Ms. Bosworth reminds us to be cognisant of signs from the universe and with Why Not Me, a star is re-born.

Why Not Me: Love, Cancer…and Jack White continues through December 8th at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL  Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm.  Tickets are $20, and are available by phone (773-327-5252) or online at Stage773.com. (Running time: 60 minutes, no intermission)