“Fully Committed” a one-man, forty characters, the job from hell, and great fun!

Maulik Pancholy sitting at a cluttered desk
Maulik Pancholy, stars in George Street Playhouse’s new comedy, “Fully Committed.” Photo by George Street Playhouse

GSP features a laugh-filled, 90-minute comic gem 

The George Street Playhouse has come up with the perfect antidote to couch fever. It’s a laugh-filled, 90-minute comic gem called Fully Committed, and it’s streaming now for your viewing pleasure.

Disclaimer: In “real life,” I work as a receptionist. Many of the characters in this show are types I’ve had to deal with myself. So I had an easy time understanding the woes of Sam Shah, an Asian-American reservation clerk/actor at a trendy New York City eating establishment. Playwright Becky Mode has Sam working in the restaurant’s basement reservation office on a Friday, juggling multiple phone lines, his cell phone, the in-house intercom system, and the red phone connected directly to the chef. He’s missed dinner (nobody told him it was ready), his bladder reached capacity long ago, and his boss is waiting for a tow truck on the Long Island Expressway.

To make matters worse, Sam’s gone in for an audition at Lincoln Center and is agonizing over whether he’ll be called back or not. And his widowed father is repeatedly calling from the Midwest asking if Sam will be able to make it for a family Christmas.

The play’s title has different meanings. “fully committed” is the restaurant’s term for days with no available appointments. Sam is fully committed to his acting career. While waiting for his big break, he is fully committed to being the best reservation clerk he can be, taking care not to offend the over-privileged, self-important restaurant clientele and top staff with their egos the size of Montana but as fragile as eggs.

The over 40 different roles in this play are taken on by one Maulik Pancholy. If you’re not familiar with the name, you probably remember his role as Alec Baldwin’s assistant Jonathan on 30 Rock or as the voice of Baljeet on the animated series Phineas and Ferb, among other film and TV roles. If you’re still not familiar with him, you’re in for a treat.

With seemingly effortless talent, Mr. Pancholy creates unique voices for all of the characters and makes split-second mood switches among Sam, his fellow staffers, and the clients who are after a coveted weekend dinner reservation.

This is a very funny depiction of what everyone believes goes on behind the scenes of any establishment that has to deal with impatient, entitled customers who cannot understand why they must take “no, we can’t” for an answer. It’s worth your time and money to get a look at a put-upon but oh-so-essential employee in the comedy Fully Committed. I recommend you see it before it is no longer available for streaming.

Fully Committed is streaming now through April 11th. A ticket for a household is $33 and can be purchased by contacting the George Street Playhouse at GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org or by calling 732-659-0377.

Allen Neuner
Allen Neuner is the theater reviewer at Out in Jersey magazine. Jersey born and raised, Allen went to his first Broadway play in 1957 and has been deliriously in love with live theater ever since. Allen has been accepted into the American Theatre Critics Association, a professional organization of theatre journalists. He has been partnered to music reviewer Bill Realman Stella, with whom he is also deliriously in love, for over 20 years. They live in an over-cluttered house in Somerville.