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Silverman Takes High-Tech Road Back to Stage in ‘Illusion’ at LATC

Jonathan Silverman is in a play that’s very hard to describe.

“I usually tell people it’s about a father searching for his son, who goes to a sorcerer, who conjures up the son’s image . . . yeah, really boring” he concedes. Fact is, Pierre Corneille’s “The Illusion” (at Los Angeles Theatre Center through June 3) is anything but : a lushly landscaped high-tech voyage through 17th- and 20th-Century passion, greed, betrayal and revenge.

“The key word is love-- dangerous love,” says Silverman, 23, whose swashbuckling lady-killer gets to woo femmes and do sword/gun battle in both period costume (including ponytail and no shirt) and contemporary garb. “In those days, people would do anything for love. Nowadays, people still do things for love--but we’ve found ways to get around it. We’re a little more sneaky now, a little more careful.”

Not that he’s suffering from an inactive love life. Silverman (who co-starred in last year’s “A Weekend at Bernie’s”) credits his dog, a “fabulous cocker spaniel named Hank” as his biggest asset in the girl-getting department: “I walk down the beach with him--he’s wearing his blue bandanna--and all the girls say, ‘Aw, who’s that?’

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The actor, who came to fame playing teen-age Eugene Jerome in the stage versions of Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and “Broadway Bound” (which he’ll also reprise on film) will forsake the beach girls in June, when he’s off to New York to film “Life in the Food Chain” (a tentative title), followed by “In Deep” in Texas. In-the-can films “Class Action” and “Sketches” are due out this summer.

If there is any lingering identification as Neil Simon’s alter-ego, the Beverly Hills native takes it in stride. “It could be worse,” he kids. “I could be doing ‘She’s the Sheriff.’ Instead, I’m having fun playing a studly romantic lead--who gets the girl.”


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