Hundreds of people made their way to the Jeanne Rimsky Theater at Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington last Friday to see Baldwin native Peter Fogel star in a Valentine’s Day-themed, one-man comedy show.
Fogel, who graduated from Baldwin High School in the 1970s, bared his soul, telling stories of the trials and tribulations of his time with past lovers.
Directed and produced by Chazz Palminteri, the creator of “A Bronx Tale,” “‘Til Death Do Us Part ... You First!” was a 90-minute, high-energy autobiographical tale of a comedian’s search for love after heartbreak. It touches on marriage, divorce and online dating and incorporated audiovisual effects.
Fogel, national touring star of the hit comedy “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy!,” mined the humor in all his failed romances and brought the audience along on a journey of the battle of the sexes.
After the show, Fogel and Palminteri hosted a Q&A session.
An audience member asked Fogel how long he had been working on the show, to which Fogel replied that he began showcasing at various theaters two and a half years ago in Florida, where he currently lives.
Another audience member asked Palminteri if he has any plans for retirement.
“Retirement? No, when you retire, you die,” he said. “They did a study. As soon as someone retires, five years later, they get sick, something happens, they die. Never retire. The idea is if you don’t use it, you lose it. So you got to keep going.”
The pair met in a “serendipitous” way. They had a mutual friend who brought Palminteri to one of Fogel’s shows in Florida. Fogel said Palminteri said he saw the show going places and tossed out the idea of directing it.
Fogel excitedly accepted, thinking that if anyone could bring the show to the next level, it would be Palminteri, since he wrote “the greatest solo show in history.”
The men — one happily married and one a longtime bachelor — compared notes and shaped the show into what it is today.
“I call him Zeus,” Fogel said of Palminteri, “and when Zeus talks, you listen.”