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The Life of Reilly

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Joe Piccolo

In The Life of Reilly, his autobiographical one-man stage show, Charles Nelson Reilly still speaks with that patented game-show-queen lisp, only now he’s spitting fire — he’s like Sylvester the Cat in the body of Livia Soprano. Reilly, in his 70s, takes us through his hilariously awful childhood: Eugene O’Neill as toxic high camp. Yet he’s far more candid recalling his grand delusions in a school play (”I sounded like Meryl Streep watching the rushes of Sophie’s Choice!”) than he is when he gets to Broadway and Hollywood, where his memories — of Match Game, of being gay in a straight world — are disappointingly sketchy. B-