Home > To See or Not To See > TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: “The Heiress” (& “Glengarry” Delay)

TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: “The Heiress” (& “Glengarry” Delay)

November 7th, 2012

Every first Wednesday of the month, get caught up with what’s on stage with our review round-up. And that vaguely hollow, clinking sound you hear at the end of each segment? That’s me tossing in my two cents. This month, an old classic takes another turn around the square…

Jessica Chastain & Dan Stevens in "The Heiress". Photo by Joan Marcus.


The classic adaptation of Henry James’ story of a plain rich girl preyed upon by a gold digger is revived with an all-star cast including Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain.

“Yes, it’s Masterpiece Theater on Broadway.” New York Times

“…the 1850-set story is built so sturdily that even a fitful revival like the one that opened last night still holds our attention.” New York Post

“…Moises Kaufman’s masterfully helmed production is everything you want from a Class A revival.” Variety

“[Chastain gives] a nuanced, compassionate performance that bodes well for the actress’ future, on stage and off.” USA Today

Mizer’s Two Cents:  I was not given advanced review tickets for this show which, let’s be honest, is not unexpected. The “prestige” revivals featuring (movie) star casts do not necessarily need wide coverage and reviews.  In fact, they often count on advance sales based on pedigree and name value to be their economic engine (think of pre-sold shows like last year’s blockbuster Death of a Salesman). Interestingly, news broke this morning that the even starrier Glengarry Glen Ross featuring Oscar-winner Al Pacino is delaying its opening by a month. According to the New York Times, the delay is a result of post-Sandy complications — but scuttlebutt certainly has noted that this allows the show to run another month with huge box-office numbers, without having reviews.

As for The Heiress, the consensus seems to be that it is a solid, entertaining production that will not erase memories of Cherry Jones’ triumphant take in the last major revival. Across the board, though, praise seems to be unusually focused on the costumes by Albert Wolsky (a Broadway designer since 1965!). It’s great to see when the technical aspects of a show are recognized.

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