2a.m. at the Cat’s Pajamas — Marie-Helene Bertino

Follow a hand­ful of char­ac­ters through a sin­gle day in Philadelphia. 9 year-old Madeline aspir­ing jazz singer and new­ly moth­er­less and in more than a bit of trou­ble. Sania — new­ly divorced and new­ly back in her home town, a grade school teacher whose impul­sive accep­tance of a din­ner invi­ta­tion from a high school friend will put her face to face with a piece of the past she’d as soon for­get. And final­ly Lorca the third gen­er­a­tion own­er of the run-down jazz club of the title whose musi­cians make his life com­pli­cat­ed and whose club has been threat­ened with clos­ing because of his lax atten­tion to the let­ter of the law. Through the day (Christmas Eve eve) the char­ac­ters make their way to their crossed des­tiny, The Cat’s Pajamas club at 2am. The writ­ing is boun­cy, breezy and seems effort­less. There is no striv­ing for effect. And the sto­ry braid is orig­i­nal — though the char­ac­ters and dilem­mas are stan­dard enough. It’s a lot about how hard love can be, how it gets derailed and mis­treat­ed. Each char­ac­ter loves some­one who they can’t quite con­nect with. But in the end… it comes out right. Well most­ly, there is the mat­ter of the club clos­ing, but Lorca seems to find this a relief.
There is a bit of mag­i­cal real­ism at the end was kind of weird.
Jazz fans will appre­ci­ate the name drops and lyrics.
(Pub. 2014)

* lik­able char­ac­ters hav­ing a weird and won­der­ful day *