Occasionally, there is an almost uncanny parallel between a player and her role. The journey that actress Cicely Tyson is on at the moment—returning to Broadway after an intermission of three decades—is not so different from the one that her character, Carrie Watts, is attempting in The Trip to Bountiful—getting back to the nourishing roots from which she sprang. Read More
Stubborn Kinds of Fellows: The Big Knife Has Been Dulled by Time, The Nance Isn’t Funny Enough and Matilda Is Good Not Great, but Those Motown Tunes — Mercy, Mercy Me!
There was once a time—and 1949, when Clifford Odets’s The Big Knife premiered on Broadway, seems to have been that time—when an angry and politically inclined writer could meaningfully point out that Hollywood is both corrupt and corrupting, that movie stars make entertainment and not art, and that studio bosses are craven businessmen. In 2013, however, these notions are truisms, and that six-decade disconnect leaves Mr. Odets’s noir-tinged moralistic melodrama, which opened last night in a Roundabout Theatre Company production at the American Airlines Theatre, as empty as the once-idealistic matinee idol at its center. Read More
Chances are excellent—even without the Las Vegas odds-makers weighing in on the subject—that you won’t recognize the gentleman who, on June 9, steps onto the stage of Radio City Music Hall and collects his Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
As the Broadway season enters its homestretch, two front-runners are emerging in this Read More
There are several obvious reasons to applaud the arrival of Lucky Guy, the splendidly thoughtful and robustly entertaining new play about the life and career of Pulitzer Prize-winning New York newspaper columnist and general all-around tough guy Mike McAlary, which bounded into the Broadhurst in time to jazz up an otherwise anemic Broadway season. First, Read More
Don’t go to Hands on a Hardbody, the new musical at the Brooks Atkinson imported from a critically praised run in California, expecting titillation (the hardbody is a red pickup truck) or a revelation in contemporary musical scoring. The songs are, with a few exceptions, negligible (i.e., forgettable). But I promise you a better evening Read More
To see Amanda Green at Birdland or at 54 Below is to see two theatrical worlds melding in happy harmony. She is the offspring of Tony winners—actress Phyllis Newman and lyricist Adolph Green—and the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.
“It seems like a straight line,” Ms. Green allowed, “but actually it was a very squiggly line that got me to where I am today.” Where she is on this particular Wednesday is the Café Edison, where a few doors down on West 47th she is about to open her second Broadway show of the 2012-2013 season, Hands on a Hardbody. Read More
The Seagull Flies Again: Christopher Durang Brilliantly Brings Chekhov to Bucks County and The Mound Builders Exposes Some Uncomfortable Truths
“My life is empty,” moans a lonely, sad, aging Sonia. “And I forget something every day. I can’t remember the Italian for window or ceiling.”
“Window is finestra, ceiling is soffitto,” replies her equally lonely, not quite as sad, very practical brother, Vanya.
“That doesn’t sound familiar,” Sonia says. She twists her face with a quick, crazed glint of awareness. “I don’t think I know Italian.”
There isn’t a rim shot, but there ought to be. Read More
By Their Bootstraps: Holland Taylor Steps Up to the Podium and Delivers a Powerful Performance in Ann
When the well-honed, snowy-thatched actress Holland Taylor strides onstage at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater like a Texas tornado with her big hair, small ankles and gold Lone Star pin, catching the light from the center spot, on her chic two-piece white tailored suit, you think you are seeing a ghost. It’s a welcome ghost, Read More
Odd Couples: Led by Danny Burstein and Sarah Paulson, WWII-Era Love Story Talley’s Folly Is a Triumph
“If everything goes well for me tonight, this should be a waltz—one-two-three, one-two-three—a no-holds-barred romantic story,” Danny Burstein, as Matt Friedman, tells his audience soon after he wanders onstage, house lights still up, “and since I’m not a romantic type, I’m going to need the whole valentine here to help me: the woods, the willows, the vines, the moonlight, the band.”
Matt, not unlike the narrator in Our Town, is welcoming his audience and setting the stage in Talley’s Folly, Lanford Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winner from 1979, which opened last night in a sweet, deceptively slight and remarkably well-acted revival at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Laura Pels Theatre. Soon, the lights will shift and the object of his affection, Sally Talley, played by Sarah Paulson, will appear; Matt’s story will begin, and the play will become, if not quite as simple as a waltz, indeed a movingly romantic story. Read More
I’ve met Liz Flahive, author of the curious and compelling new drama The Madrid, having spent a dinner party once happily chatting with her, and I can report that she seemed entirely pleased and content with her husband, her child and her life. This is worth noting, because The Madrid, which opened last night in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s Off Broadway space at City Center, is a fantasy about a mother, a kindergarten teacher, who one day up and leaves. It’s a startling and disquieting portrait of cheerful abandonment, but it offers its audience only the subtlest of cues on how to react to this departure and its repercussions. As you’re thinking through the play and trying to piece together a response—and it’s well worth the effort—you should take solace, at least, that the playwright herself seems not to present a flight risk. Read More