‘Present Laughter’ (Photo: Joan Marcus)
We could all use a laugh right now. And there’s no wittier playwright than the legendary Noël Coward. Written in 1939 but not produced until 1942 because of World War II, Present Laughter follows the trials and tribulations in the life of fictional stage actor Garry Essendine (played by Kline).
In our original review, The Broadway Blog wrote that “Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel’s revival of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter is a brilliantly fine-tuned comedy of style and substance…Stuelpnagel (who was nominated for a Tony Award for directing Hand to God) keeps things moving at a brisk pace and though the action-packed staging is meticulously choreographed, Present Laughter remarkably feels as though it’s unfolding for the very first time.”
[READ: High-Class Humor: ‘Present Laughter’ on Broadway]
The play has been an audience favorite over the last 80 years, receiving six Broadway productions and featuring some of the stage’s most notable leading men in the role of Essendine, including Coward himself for a brief run in 1958, George C. Scott (1982), Frank Langella (1996), and Victor Garber (2010). Kline won a Tony Award for his 2017 performance, which can now be streamed for free through August 29.