December 5, 2016

Even before you enter the auditorium at St. Ann’s Warehouse to see Penny Arcade’s solo show “Longing Lasts Longer,” the voice of the performer can be heard echoing through the lobby as she wanders the aisles engaging with the audience. I overheard a funny aria about her trials with the health care system even before I took my seat. Ms. Arcade, whose delivery suggests what might have happened if Phyllis Diller had fallen in with the Andy Warhol crowd (as indeed Ms. Arcade did), trains her stiletto wit on the gentrification of New York in this entertaining if rambling show. The city, she laments, was once a place of renewal, where creative people came to invent themselves anew, shedding the skins of conformity. “We were inspired and intoxicated by the palpable sense of freedom in the streets,” she recalls, having herself fled a Connecticut factory town. “Now,” she continues, “people come to New York and they want New York to be like where they’re from, the suburbs.” What’s worse, they no longer see the city as a beacon of possibility, except narrowly. “They don’t feel the need to reinvent themselves. They just think that they need to become successful and make a lot of money.”