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‘Boy Stewardess’ Flies With Humor

As Andy Schell recounts in “Confessions of a Boy Stewardess,” the absurdity of working as a flight attendant begins long before the first scheduled flight.

At Schell’s no-frills airline, cost cuts had eliminated the budget for first-aid dummies, so trainees found themselves performing CPR on their instruction manuals instead. “There we were,” he recalls, “trying to stimulate the circulatory functions of a book.”

Luckily for us, Schell, a former writer for Joan Rivers, has managed to turn 11 years of flying into this lovably loose, delightfully irreverent show, directed by Stephen Hibbert at Theatre/Theater in Hollywood.

Blending skits, stand-up monologues and even an occasional song, writer Schell and co-star Bridget Sienna explore virtually every facet of this oft-derided occupation, from the rote safety demonstrations (“listened to by one out of every 75 passengers,” Schell estimates) to the celebrity passengers (Shelley Winters, in Sienna’s apt takeoff, withers upon hearing the airline’s no-meals policy).

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Yet Schell knows how to lampoon his trade without diminishing it or himself. The same talent whose adroit impersonations hint of Robin Williams can also relate a deeply felt encounter with a 100-year-old passenger from Oklahoma.

That’s an extraordinary gift, one that makes Schell’s imaginative flight well worth taking.

* “Confessions of a Boy Stewardess,” Theatre/Theater, 1713 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. Fridays, 8 p.m. Ends Aug. 26. $10. (213) 850-6941. Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.


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