Friday, May 01, 2009

The Play's The Thing On Broadway

Earlier in the week I did a blog about the five musical revivals currently running on Broadway. Now it's time for the plays. Right now there are eight play revivals on the Great White Way.In the seventeen years that I have lived in New York I don't recall there ever being that many at the same time. That's great news my friends. Now on to the shows.

First up is Accent On Youth starring Tony and Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce. The show which first premiered on Broadway in 1934 tells the story of a lazy, middle-aged playwright(Pierce) who is coaxed into writing again by his beautiful and very young new secretary. The show which opened to mixed reviews a few days ago is scheduled to run thru the end of June. Mr. Pierce who has been a staple on Broadway in the last few years is a skilled comic actor and no matter what the reviews say is always a joy to watch.

Next up is the revival of one of Noel Coward's most beloved plays Blithe Spirit. The show which opened to glorious reviews in March stars Tony Winner Christine Ebersole, Rupert Everett, and four-time Tony Award winner and Broadway legend Miss Angela Lansbury. Although I did not see the show everyone in my office just raved about it. Currently the show is only selling until July 19 but I wouldn't be surprised if this first rate comedy extends into the fall. We shall see.

Desire Under The Elms which opened to raves last week is one of Eugene O'Neill's most complex and gripping plays. The show stars two-time Tony winner Brian Dennehy,Tony nominee Pablo Schreiber, and film and television star Carla Gugino. Although somewhat heavy at times the chance to see Dennehy live on stage is worth the price alone. Plus the show is only an hour and forty minutes long so you can't beat that.

The fourth show on my list is Exit The King. To be honest I had never heard of this show prior to it's announcement last fall,but I figured any show with Academy Award winners Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon couldn't be too bad. Not only were the reviews outstanding but all bets say that Mr. Rush should make room on his mantle for a Tony Award come June 7th.

Now if I were a betting man I would bet money that Joe Turner's Come and Gone is going to win the Tony Award for Best Revival this year. The show which is produced by Lincoln Center and directed by Tony Award winner Bartlet Sher(South Pacific) is set in a Pittsburgh boarding house in 1911 and tells the story of Herald Loomis who, after serving seven years hard labor, has journeyed North with his young daughter. Having seen only one of Mr. Wilson's plays before I was eager to see this one. I loved it. This show is a definite must see event that will still have you talking it about it weeks later.

Which brings me to the revival of Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests. Now I will be the first to admit that British comedy is not really my thing. However the reviews don't lie. Will great reviews translate into big box office business and several Tony nominations? Who knows.

Lucky show number seven is The Philanthropist starring Matthew Broderick. If I could pick any show this season that I was less interested in seeing then this would be the one. That's just my opinion though. Besides what do I know? My favorite show this season was reasons to be pretty and this is a show that got great reviews and still plays to half empty houses.

Last but certainly not least is Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot which opened up last night to strong reviews. The classic play stars Tony winners Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Glover, and soon to be Tony nominee John Goodman. Like most of the revivals this season I have not seen this one either but I think I might give it a look. With a cast like this you know you are bound to have a great night in the theatre.

So that concludes my look at this season's play revivals. So many shows. So many choices. Better yet Applause sells tickets for all of these plays and at some incredible savings. You can't beat that.

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