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TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: “Virginia Woolf” & “Cyrano”

October 18th, 2012 Comments off

There were two big Broadway openings in the last week and just because I haven’t had a chance to see them, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! Let’s see what the critics have to say:

Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Madison Dirks & Carrie Coons in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf". Photo by Michael Brosilow.

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF

In celebration of its fiftieth anniversary, the Edward Albee classic of marital gamesmanship returns to Broadway in a blistering Steppenwolf production starring Amy Morton (August: Osage County) and Tracy Letts (Pulitzer-winning playwright of August:Osage County).

“…the soul ache this superlative staging leaves behind is accompanied by a feeling far more emotionally enriching: the exhilaration of a fresh encounter with a great work of theater revitalized anew.” New York Times

“The story, in which two married couples share a boozy, increasingly unhinged night, has lost none of its power to keep an audience on edge.” New York Post

“These are both exciting, rich performances, and while they capture a different dynamic, they get the game-playing nature of Albee’s dialogue just right…” Variety

“In Letts’ and Morton’s capable hands, George and Martha emerge as historic icons, America’s first couple of passive-aggressive dysfunction.” Entertainment Weekly

Mizer’s Two Cents: I haven’t made it to the Broadway staging but I saw this production (with this same cast) when it was at the Arena Stage last year; I was astonished and riveted. Judging by the reviews, this sensational revival of a true American classic is still firing on all blazing cylinders.

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TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: 2012 Fall Preview, The Plays

September 12th, 2012 Comments off

Steppenwolf's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?". Photo by Michael Brosilow.

If the fall season’s crop of musicals is a sparse and eccentrically planted lot, the roster of plays is lush with big ideas, big stars and must-see events (if a few too many “didn’t we just see that” revivals). So let’s dig into the harvest feast…

"Grace". Image via O+M Co.

An Enemy of the People (September 27): Henrik Ibsen’s sturdy study of personal pressure and politics kicks things off just in time for election season. Class acts Boyd Gaines and Richard Thomas play brothers, a mayor and a doctor, on opposite sides of an environmental disaster in the making. (Yeah, this was written when?)

Grace (October 4): As I’ve said before…Paul Rudd. I lerve him. Toss in the always magnetic Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) and my interest is more than peaked for this surreal comedy-drama about a couple’s plans for religious-themed motels and their less than faithful neighbor.

Running on Empty (October 9): Comedian and professional ranter Lewis Black brings his stand-up to Broadway for a week of performances.

Cyrano de Bergerac (October 11): The French war horse (no, not that one) gets trotted out for another display of witty banter, actorly showmanship and much-needed rhinoplasty. Tony-winner Douglas Hodge (La Cage aux Folles) takes on the title role in a Roundabout Theatre revival.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (October 13): The revelatory Steppenwolf production starring playwright (and seriously accomplished actor) Tracy Letts and the incomparable Amy Morton finally makes it to Broadway. Check my review from when I saw it at Arena Stage last year and tell me you aren’t a wee bit excited to see the Albee classic again.

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