Wedded bliss doesn’t last long for two married couples in the revival of Noel Coward’s Private Lives. Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross play a divorced couple, both on honeymoon with their new spouses in adjacent rooms at a French resort. We soon learn that this couple’s downfall is also what keeps them together—they can’t keep their hands off each other.
The No. 1 Reason To See Private Lives: Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross’ peacekeeping strategies Read more
A playwright puts pen to paper in order to share a message with the world. It is meant to be received by an audience, weighed, and understood. Yet in the case of a show that has no discernable meaning, where hours of words crash upon the audience like bricks and nothing is derided, something is very wrong. Such is the case with Jez Butterworth’s indecipherable Jerusalem.
Set in the woods of Wiltshire, England (an impressive set by Ultz, with trees that tower to the top of the Music Box Theatre, far beyond where the audience can see), the perpetually drunk Johnny “Rooster” Byron (played expertly by Mark Rylance) resides with his equally inebriated gang of lost boys and girls. This middle-aged soak enables the group of punks who laze around, acting like fools, in an obvious effort to hold onto a youth that has long escaped him. It is also evident at points that this troubled group of delinquents enables Rooster just as much.
The unsavory bunch congregate at Rooster’s trailer, parked in the middle of the forest, day after day, drunkenly carrying on with music blaring. The well-to-do residents of the area that have grown in numbers over the years have had enough of Rooster & Co. and have successfully petitioned the government to throw them off the land. What ensues is Rooster’s passionate crusade, fueled by a bottomless source of pride, to keep his land and his derelict way of life.
The plot is interesting enough. A colorful character with a penchant for spouting tall tales and has a bunch of goofy, younger sidekicks fights wildly to stake his claim on his land. This would be all well and good if Jerusalem didn’t have a running time of three hours. Other than the storyline I have just outlined, the hours of monologues and exchanges is an incomprehensible blur from which I gleaned no value. Read more
When Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig came to Broadway in A Steady Rain, all they did was sit in chairs and pace back and forth on a bare stage. In Stanley Tucci’s production of Lend Me A Tenor, which features Anthony LaPaglia, Tony Shaloub, and Justin Bartha, the three Hollywood men leap over furniture, dress in ridiculous getups, and tackle each other. Now that’s giving an audience what they paid for.
Tucci’s production of Ken Ludwig’s farcical play of a blowhard opera star and the two theater gents trying to handle him hearkens back to the old-fashioned comedies of the 1930s. Tucci’s direction of this revival, which takes place in the 30s, makes it feel similar to watching an old black and white comedy. The movements are big, as are the facial expressions, and hearken back to the skills of Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers.
LaPaglia plays the puffed up tenor, while Shaloub serves as the opera company manager who bosses around Bartha’s meek assistant. Tucci directs them and the rest of the cast to the most detailed and efficient degree. Tenor is very much a physical comedy, and it is executed wonderfully. Timing is everything, as these actors are contending with entrances that rely on other characters’ exits that are happening simultaneously. Shaloub leaps over furniture. Shaloub leaps onto LaPaglia’s unconscious body, followed by Bartha. So much goes on in Tenor, yet it’s all coordinated masterfully. Read more