Outstanding Performer for the week of April 14, 2003
There’s something rather patrician about Ben Masters, whose long career included plenty of drama. But the actor is nothing if not flexible. When it was announced that PASSIONS would be spoofing THE OSBOURNES – with Masters as mumbling, cussing, clumsy patriarch Boozy Boozeborne – we had no doubt that he would, ahem, bat one out of the park. After all, Masters is no stranger to the crazy train. We’ve seen him swing on vines Tarzan-style during a tryst with Tabitha and amble about on his knees in the midst of a Toulouse-Lautrec/can-can dancer sexcapade with Rebecca.
The actor had his work cut out for him because his scenes aired during a week that featured menacing mystical clowns, a lovesick orangutan and a Sapphic, doll-destroying psycho. Yet, with all that competition for laughs, Masters’s take on the bird-chomping rocker stood out. It’s risky to ape a figure so seared into the mass consciousness, but he pulled it off. With slouchy posture, trembly movements and a perfect accent, slur and all, Masters captured the essence of the rock ‘n’ roll Daddy of Darkness. Of course, he had support: PASSIONS fully committed to the scenes with a dead-on opening sequence, oh-so-familiar set decoration and a steady supply of obscenity-obscuring bleeps. Masters was also backed up by his regular comedic dance partner Andrea Evans (Rebecca) playing Boozy’s wife “Karen” and Liza Huber (Gwen) as cranky punk daughter “Shelly.” (Note to PASSIONS: Huber is funny; let’s see Gwen loosen up.)
Masters had already conquered comedy, but his portrayal of Boozy was Oz-mazing.