In City of Angels, Coleman, Zippel, and Gelbart spoof
the private eye movies of the 1940's. The story follows Stein,
a fiction writer in Hollywood trying to adapt his own detective
novel into a screenplay. As the action begins, we meet Stone,
Stein's detective, in the hospital with a bullet wound. As Stone
relates the story of his injury, Stein begins to rewrite his
story. As he rewrites, the "movie" is rewound and the
actors move and speak backwords. As Stein buries himself in the
fantasy world of his detective story, however, his personal life
begins to fall apart. When his wife leaves him, he must make
some decisions about what is really important in his life.
The cast of City of Angels is divided into two groups:
the Hollywood cast and the film cast, and each character from
Stein's real life reappears as a character in his film. The film
sequences take place in a world of blacks, whites, and grays,
while the Hollywood sequences consist of "living colors."
City of Angels opened at the Virginia Theatre on December
11, 1989, with a cast that featured Greg Edelman (Stein) and
James Naughton (Stone). The production ran for 878 performances.
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