Do you remember when your parents told you that life is full of disappointment? Well apparently, that was a lesson never taught in the Loman household. Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as Willy Loman in this A-list revival of Arthur Miller’s classic play about a salesman dissatisfied with what the fruits of his life-long labor have bore for his family. Linda Emond and Andrew Garfield (of The Social Network and this summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man) co-star as Willy’s wife and oldest son. Together, they form a most unhappy family; yet they do so magnificently.
The No. 1 Reason To See Death of a Salesman: Linda Emond’s heartbreaking devotion Read more
She overthrew Ethel Merman as the top Mamma Rose and he avenged the death of his father while rescuing a princess. But before Patti LuPone was lauded in Gypsy and Mandy Patinkin won hearts in The Princess Bride, they both vaulted to fame and won Tony Awards for their performances in Evita in 1979. These two powerhouses, who are close friends and frequent collaborators, join forces for the Broadway concert event An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin that covers music from some of their best shows and some that just sound damn good coming out of their mouths.
The No. 1 Reason To See An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin: The Evita set Read more
Playing former mental hospital patients, Denis O’Hare and Brendan Fraser are friends and roommates attempting to make their way in a society where they do not feel comfortable. O’Hare as Elling is uptight, blunt to the point of rudeness, and too timid to leave his apartment to buy groceries. Fraser as Kjell Bjarne is an affection-hungry goof, eager to explore life (scoring hot dogs and chicks). Together, their social ineptitudes create a hilarious and touching on-stage friendship of watchable (if simple) antics.
In case the names are tripping you up (Kjell Bjarne is pronounced “Jell Bee-yar-na”), here’s a clue why. Elling is based on a popular novel and film series from Norway. As for why these characters were adapted for a Broadway stage, I didn’t glean much values or any greater idea from the play. What Elling does offer is a quirky batch of episodes for these characters and a showcase for some fantastic performances.
O’Hare is a comedic powerhouse as Elling, mastering a subtle array of idiosyncrasies that provide huge laughs. He has developed the character so fully and is able to put the audience through a cycle of emotions about Elling. Do we like him, do we love him, is he selfish, is he a good friend? These thoughts are not up to chance; O’Hare makes us think them. He has a control over his character that is rare and delightful to witness.
Former dashing action star Fraser now appears on stage as a beer-bellied “orangutan” (even Kjell Bjarne admits it). Showing no vanity while portraying this butt-scratching oaf, Fraser isn’t afraid to shed his leading-man looks and is rewarded with big laughs. One of the first laughs of the play is his caveman-like appearance. While more of the physical and facial comedy is Fraser’s responsibility, his Kjell Bjarne lacks Elling’s complexity. Yet the execution of his character’s duties does not disappoint. Fraser may have been brave and handsome in the Mummy films, but he proves to be greatly comedic on stage. Read more