Words: David Lefkowitz | Photos: Kenny Janosick
How many times have you heard this scenario? It’s the 1970s, you’re a kid living in Brooklyn and your parents pick up and move to Long Island. The exile to semi-utopian suburbia no doubt resonates with many just as it does with comedian and playwright Steve Gianturco. His solo show, Welcome to Lawn Guyland, settles in for a ten-performance stint at The Rose Theater in Holbrook March 6-24.
Gianturco, 55, started performing stand up in 1991 and took a break to do some local theater. “Then I went back to stand up in 2004,” he says, “but now I’m making my way back to the theater side. And I’m a full-time accountant. I used to call myself the world’s funniest accountant, but so many people use that phrase—dentists, lawyers—it got a little trite.”
The genesis of Lawn Guyland comes from the comic’s traumatic teenage years. “At age 14 I was dragged from the streets of Brooklyn and thrown onto a yellow bus,” Gianturco says. “It was the culture shock of going from East Flatbush to East Islip. A lot of us have made that transition, so it strikes a chord with people in my age group.” He went from playing on city streets to being out in the suburbs where the kids threw rocks at the school for fun, made out with girls and smoked pot. “I went from the mean streets to sex, drugs and vandalism.”
Gianturco, whose stage name is Stevie GB (not a lift from Louis CK but a nod to Gianturco’s punk years when friends joked, “Hey, Stevie GB’s going to CBGB!”), has tried to crack the New York theater scene but hasn’t made it further than Vampires Suck, a musical that played at one fringe festival. Long Island has been kinder, with sellout crowds greeting Gianturco’s self-produced revival of Arthur Marx’s Groucho: A Life in Revue.
As for Lawn Guyland, first produced 16 months ago by Gary Smith’s NY Entertainment Club at a Bellmore firehouse, the show has since reached Theatre Three, The Brokerage and other local mainstays. Gianturco’s excited about his gig at the 99-seat Rose Theater. “I want to workshop the show and make it more of a suburban theme that can play anywhere, not just Long Island. The middle-aged man who’s married with kids in the suburbs, has everything he wants—and he’s miserable. Call it Suffocating in Suburbia.”