There is a reason that Tennessee Williams is one of the most brilliant playwrights of the 20th century. His characters are so human, full of the same experiences, joys and mistakes that we all go through in life.
This weekend, I saw a revival of The Glass Menagerie starring Cherry Jones.
The Glass Menagerie is the story of a family living in the midwest during the 1930’s. Amanda Wingfield is a single mother living with her adult children, Tom (Zachary Quinto) and Laura (Celia Keenan-Bolger). Tom is working at a local factory and frequently argues with his mother. Laura is walks with a limp and only socializes with her mother and brother, suffering from anxiety attacks if she has to socialize with anyone else.
Amanda is determined to bring in gentleman callers for her daughter and fondly remembers her youth and the gentleman callers she used to entertain. When Tom bring in a gentleman caller (Brian J Smith) home for dinner, a slim chance of happiness and marital bliss appears for Laura, only for it to be smashed into tiny pieces by the end of the play.
Tennessee Williams is one of my favorite playwrights. I love Streetcar Named Desire, it’s one of the most brilliant plays ever written, Blanche Bubois is hands down one of the great characters ever created. The same themes of reality vs. fantasy, the dream like memories of the past vs. the rough and not so nice present appear in both plays.
Cherry Jones is a wonder in this part. I saw her a few years ago in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. She blew me away then and she blew me away this weekend. Zachary Quinto and Celia Keenan-Bolger as her children seem on stage as if they are really siblings, instead of actors pretending to be siblings. Brian J Smith as the gentleman caller gives the audience hope that Laura may find the happiness that both she and her mother want to have.
The play closes on February 23rd. If you have the opportunity to get tickets, I highly recommend this show.
Today I ventured back into the world of musical theater to see Once, The Musical.
It is based on the 2006 movie of the same name.
In one eventful week, a musician who believes that his dream is dead meets a woman who by the end of the week, sees the beauty and the potential of his music. Their love is mutual, but life may tear them apart.
I did not have the opportunity to see the original cast, but the more recent cast with Arthur Darvill and Joanna Christie.
It’s not the typical musical, which makes it stand out among the cornicopia of musicals currently on Broadway. It is also un-typical is the audience is allowed to walk up to the stage and order from the bar. Most shows have a fourth wall, which is only broken after the show. Before the show starts, while the actors are warming up on stage, the audience is allowed to walk on stage and order from the bar, as well as going up during the intermission.
What I enjoyed was unorthodox and informal staging of the show and un-Hollywood ending.
I would definitly see it again.
Earlier this year, noted playright Richard Greenberg introduced audiences to his new play “The Assembled Parties“.
The play takes place in a 14 room apartment on Central Park West belonging on the Bascovs, a secular Jewish family. Julie (Jessica Hecht) is married to Ben (Jonathan Walker). They have two sons, 20 something Scott (Jake Silberman) and preschooler Timmmy (Jake Silbermann as the adult Timmy and Alex Dreier as the young Timmy).
Its Christmas Day, invited for dinner is Scott’s friend, Jeff (Jeremy Shamos), Ben’s sister Faye (Judith Light), her husband Mort (Mark Blum) and their daughter Shelley (Lauren Blumenfeld). The first act is set in 1980, the second act is set in 2000.
Vying for the best and funniest lines are Hecht and Light. In the second act, Shamos is the steady head in between these two women.
The cast is very good and very funny. I cannot say the same for the play.
The plot is thin, the departure of several characters within the second act is barely explained. By the end of the play I found myself asking questions that were unanswered by the final curtain call.
Not one of the better plays I have seen.
Today, I had saw Blue Man Group, one of the most interesting and unique peices of theater I have ever seen.
The title says it all, three performers in latex masks performing on percussion instruments, using multi-media and audience participation to enhance their performance.
The performance is entertaining and not the average, every day type of theater. I dont know if I would see it again, but it is memorable.
The only warning I have is that audiences in the first few rows are given ponchos and those with aisle seats have a chance of being chosen to join the performers on state.
The Blue Man Group performs at 434 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10003.