Ben Rimalower is Bad With Money | Photo by Dustin Mark
Bad With Money, Ben Rimalower's 60-minute expose on his money-spending addiction takes us through his early childhood in New Jersey--quipping, "Grandma Dotty... claimed my first word was bah-mis, which meant 'buy me this'"--to his adult years, when shopping became his true drug of choice. As with his 2012 hit Patti Issues--which explored his father's coming out, his tumultuous childhood, and how he found solace in musical theater, especially with a particular diva--Rimalower never flinches from the embarrassing anecdote or droll paraphrase.
Through his narrative, he takes us to California, where the coffer-lined extravagances of his peers' lives made him feel poor. Despite having an allowance and a job, Rimalower reveals that he often found himself borrowing money from his friends when they'd go to the movies, lunch, or the Sherman Oaks Galleria. A shameful no-no, but forgivable.
Then, continuing through his history of money problems, we soon realize this was just the tip of a much bigger problem. With the zeal of someone riding high on the wavelengths of mania, Rimalower recounts his exploits of opening his first credit card and falling behind on payments, over-indulging on CDs from the storeroom while an intern at Varese Sarabande, bouncing checks, becoming a Polk Street prostitute, and getting hooked on alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine, and mushrooms.
Rimalower's money problems follow him from UC Berkeley to New York City, where he tells of abusing a boss' credit card and swindling money from the account for Joy, a show he helped produce at the Actors Playhouse. Uh-oh, this is not going to end well.
With a deft sense of humor and endearing self-deprecation, Rimalower keeps audiences laughing as he plumbs the depths of how bad with money he truly is. Plus, we're left pondering why money is such a taboo topic for discussion in our culture.
Bad With Moneycontinues Thursdays, Oct. 23 through Dec. 18 at The Duplex, New York City. For more information, visit BadWithMoney.net.