Sexy, Sardonic “Skintight” at Geffen Playhouse

Theatre review

PHOTO: Chris Whitaker | South Pasadena News | Idina Menzel in Skintight at Geffen Playhouse

Tony award winning actress, Idina Menzel, delivers a richly nuanced, tightly wound performance as Jodi Isaac, a woman seemingly on the verge of falling apart in Joshua Harmon’s new play, “Skintight”, at Geffen Playhouse. We find Jodi newly arrived at her wealthy designer father’s enviable Manhattan townhouse (seriously, I wanted to move in to Lauren Helpern’s gorgeous set), having taken the red-eye to avoid hearing about her ex-husband’s lavish party celebrating his engagement to a 25 year old spinning instructor. She surprises her father, much to his chagrin, ostensibly for his 70th birthday, announcing the added bonus of her son’s imminent arrival from his studies in Hungary.  Menzel launches into a litany of middle age, female distress with a rapidfire intensity that sets the comedic tone and tension at the outset, crackling like an explosive, live wire popping in the rain.

PHOTO: Chris Whitaker | South Pasadena News | L-R: Idina Menzel, Harry Groener, and Will Brittain in Skintight at Geffen Playhouse. Directed by Daniel Aukin

She’s met with the decidedly awkward revelation that Daddy has a new “partner”, as he calls himself, Trey, the exceedingly pleasing to look at Will Brittain as the 20 year old stud-muffin boyfriend to her father. Without giving anything away, his body makes several scantily-clad, hilarious appearances that, along with his McConaughey drawl and life philosophy, invoke extreme family awkwardness. Brittain gives a confident and surprisingly poignant performance.

Eli Gelb is perfection as the awkward, gay, 20 year old, privileged college boy whose wicked sharp timing gets some of the biggest laughs of the night. Gelb and Menzel achieve a palbably realistic mother/son relationship crystallized in a simple scene on a couch where Menzel attempts to be the cool mom while still making sure her son is being safe on Grinder. Their fights are familiar, making their tender moments all the more touching.

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PHOTO: Chris Whitaker | South Pasadena News | Eli Gelb and Idina Menzel in Skintight at Geffen Playhouse.

Harry Groener as Elliot Issac is a cool, collected counterpoint to Menzel’s Jodi. He has curated a perfectly serene and sophisticated life for himself that his daughter’s inconvenient surprise risks upsetting. The awkwardness and tension build to a moving moment of vulnerability between father and daughter in which both Menzel and Groener deliver.

Joshua Harmon’s play is a sexy, sardonic dive into our culture’s obsession with youth and beauty played out amidst familial longing as Jodi and family navigate the complexities of relationships and how we show up for the ones we love.

PHOTO: Chris Whitaker | South Pasadena News | L-R: Harry Groener, Idina Menzel, Eli Gelb, and Will Brittain in Skintight at Geffen Playhouse. Directed by Daniel Aukin.

Skintight now playing through October 12, 2019.

Gil Cates Theater at Geffen Playhouse

10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024


Tickets currently priced at $30.00 – $145.00. Available in person at the Geffen Playhouse box office, by phone at 310.208.5454 or online at Fees may apply.

Rush tickets for each day’s performance are made available to the general public 30 minutes before showtime at the box office. $35.00 General/$15.00 Student


Through a variety of events and other opportunities, the Geffen Playhouse welcomes college students to experience the live storytelling presented on our stages. We are proud of our association with UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television, and open our doors to all college students throughout Los Angeles. More information is available at