It wouldn’t be accurate to label British-born Rosemary Harris “the first lady of the American theater” as long as Julie Harris (no relation) is still alive. But with all the other greats long departed, she’s pretty much in a class by herself. For a good example of just how rare her patrician yet persuasive ability can be in holding a restless audience spellbound in an otherwise painful and pedestrian play, all you have to do is get through the Roundabout revival of The Road to Mecca at the American Airlines Theater on West 42nd Street. For the record, it marks a celebration of her 60th year as a Broadway star. Even as a baggy, arthritic old eccentric with shapeless gray hair clinging to worn sweaters better suited to a dust bin, she is positively divine, but she deserves a better vehicle.
This dreary fugue about independence of the mind and soul in South Africa is a crashing bore by Athol Fugard, the overrated, long-winded playwright whose debatable reputation as the most important voice in South African theater has been inflated beyond justification simply because he’s just about the only voice there is.
Is Anybody There?
Running time 95 minutes
Written by Peter Harness
Directed by John Crowley
Starring Michael Caine, Bill Milner, Anne-Marie Duff, Leslie Phillips and Rosemary Harris
After achieving senior citizen status, when the apple won’t bite and the roles dry up, the great old stars are reduced to playing eccentric curmudgeons, terminally Read More
The Gramercy Theater, where I’m the house manager, has 499 seats-just one short of meeting the criterion for a Broadway theater. On most nights the house is full, and this summer has been no exception: The show is an Edward Albee classic, All Over , and the cast is composed of golden-era stars, namely Rosemary Read More
Another day, another Edward Albee. The Albee productions dominating the marquees these days seem to outnumber even those of the sainted Sondheim. Nonetheless, I was glad to have a chance to see his 1970 All Over at the Roundabout’s Gramercy Theatre. The play (which I hadn’t seen before) followed Mr. Albee’s A Delicate Balance -for Read More
Call me an old killjoy, if you must, but I find I can’t take much more of the Noël Coward 100th-birthday celebrations. They seem to have been going on for a century. Not since the centennial of the birth of Queen Victoria have we known anything like it. Why, Shakespeare himself never had it so Read More