Something about the opening night performance of Renovations (based on the memoir Renovations: A Father and Son Rebuild a House and Rediscover Each Other by John Marchese) prompted me seek out a copy of the original book it was based on -- which I found, oddly enough, in the "home improvement" section of the spiraling Strand Bookstore. The book is a memoir and not a "how-to" book. The play alternated between wonderfully tight speeches and merely functional dialogue, and I was curious to find out why.
After the play, I was inadvertently introduced to Mr. Marchese during the reception, and inquired how closely the play mirrored his book. He responded, "50/50." What I gathered is that the artful dialogue was drawn directly from the book, and the balance was the work of the playwright, Andrew Gerle. Mr. Gerle is a composer of musicals, arranger of others' compositions, and winner of multiple awards for his original music. Renovations is his first venture into a non-musical play.