December Theatre Column
November 30, 2008
I saw two Broadway
shows last month: Alfred Hitchcock's The 39
Steps and 13 The Musical.
The 39 Steps
The 39 Steps, based on the 1935 Alfred
Hitchcock movie and directed by Peter McKintosh,
is beautifully timed and campy as hell. The plot
is a simple falling- through-the-rabbit-hole-chase-yarn.
The main character, Richard Hannay (played by Sam
Robards), is BORED so he goes to the theater where
he encounters a mysterious woman (Francesca Faridany,
who plays all the mysterious women in the cast).
He is then put in a compromising situation where
it looks like he has murdered one of these msyterious
women and quickly leaves on a personal Amazing
Race in order to exonerate himself. He then
runs into the other actors, Jeffrey Kuhn and Arnie
Burton, who play numerous other male roles, sometimes
simultaneously. All the actors are obviously having
a lot of fun on stage and they are equally as much
fun to watch. The director, Peter McIntosh, has
obviously had a blast directing this show, setting
the chase scenes ala Hitchcock's North by Northwest
The 39 Steps is presently playing at the
Cort Theatre at 138 West 48th Street.
Ticket are $98.50 212-239-6200, 800-432-7250 and
telecharge.com. The 39 Steps will close
at the Cort on January 11 and then move to the Helen
Hayes Theatre on January 20.
13 The Musical
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
13 The Musical
is also a great night out and you don't have to
be a teenager to enjoy the show: 13 is
blessed with a great book - it is hysterical.
Here is a quote from
the press release: "Evan Goldman has it all
- he's popular, has the 'perfect' family and lives
in the greatest city in the world - New York. That
is until his parents get divorced and he's forced
to move - to a small town in Indiana. Uprooted from
his old life, he has to make new friends and somehow
maneuver the minefield of High School to become
part of the 'in-crowd'."
And Evan's problems
with "fitting in" are exacerbated by the
fact that his Bar Mitzvah party is just around the
corner and he has no one to invite except his next
door neighbor, Caitlin, a truly nice smart girl
who because she is truly nice and smart is also
These problems are
all solved in an entertaining fashion enhanced by
a great score and a talented energetic cast. This
show is closing on January 4, 2009 and it is a damn
shame since it has probably only failed to find
an audience because potential audience members think
it is a kid's show. Well, Grease is a kid's
show too, but it has the advantage of name recognition
from the movie and the original Broadway musical.
So, please spread the word about 13. It
is a truly great show.
October 20, 2008
Raul Esparza, Jeremy Piven,
and Elisabeth Moss in
Last month was a
sparse theater month; I only saw one play, David
Mamet's excellent Speed-the-Plow. Plow
is directed by Directed by Neil Pepe and is a (from
the press release) "behind the scenes story
of handshaking, dealbreaking, backstabbing and moviemaking
as only Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet can tell
Plow features Mamet's trade mark fast
paced, fast talking dialogue. The story begins when
Charlie Fox (played by Raul Esparza) visits his
producing-partner-in-crime Bobby Gould (played by
Jeremy Piven) with great news, he has scored a coup
- the top star from the studio across the street
has agreed to star in a movie produced by Fox and
Gould and he, Charlie Fox, also has the winning
script. All is well; hands are "fived"
and conviviality reigns. And in the exuberance of
a deal well made, Charlie also challenges Bobby
to seduce his new secretary Karen (played by Elizabeth
Moss) that night.
Bobby proceeds to ask Karen to read a book that
he is supposedly considering (read deep-sixing)
and to come to his home that night with a report.
Well Karen makes her night visit and Bobby wins
his bet. But in the process of winning the bet,
Bobby is seduced in more than one way - Karen also
scores a coup. She persuades Bobby to produce a
film based on the book she just read, which is filled
with the kind of new age psychobabble that killed
all the trees in the eighties.
Neil Pepe's direction is impeccable; I was totally
engrossed by the verbal joust on stage.
Before the play, I had been excited to see Jeremy
Piven (Ari Gold on HBO's Entourage) and
Elizabeth Moss (so excellent on Mad Men
and The West Wing). And although both of
these actors did fine jobs, they were having trouble
staying on the stage with Raul Esparza. Raul Esparza,
who had been so excellent as the sleazy Lenny in
Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, gave
one of the best performances I have seen on Broadway
this year or any year. Wow!
Speed-the-Plow is running at the Ethel
Barrymore Theater at 243 West 47th Street.
Tickets are $49.50-$110.00 at 212-239-6200 and telecharge.com.
September 2008 Column
Fall is descending
on Broadway and there will be a plethora of new
star-studded shows for our viewing pleasure: All
My Sons (Katie Holmes); Equus
(Daniel Radcliffe); A Man for All Seasons
(Frank Langella); and The Seagull
(Kristen Scott Thomas).
As everyone who has
read a newspaper in the last few months knows, Katie
Holmes, aka Mrs. Tom Cruise, is going to star in
Broadway's All My Sons. Photographers have
been taking photos of her and the other stars as
the enter and leave rehearsal.
© Janet Mayer / PR Photos
Janet Mayer / PR Photos
© Janet Mayer / PR Photos
Janet Mayer / PR Photos
Here is a quote from
the press release for All My Sons: "Miller
took his inspiration from a true story about a successful
business man who knowingly sold the government defective
airplane parts during World War II with tragic consequences.
The truth comes out and his life unravels when his
son prepares to marry his business partner's daughter."
All My Sons begin September 18, 2008; the show
opens October 15, 2008 and closes on Janury 11,
2009. Sons is playing at the Shoenfeld
Theatre at 236 West 45th Street. Tickets are $61.50-$116.50,
$26.50 Student Tickets - 212-239-6200 & 800-432-7250
Daniel Radcliffe in
And as everyone also
knows, Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter fame)
is now all grown up and we are going to see him
naked in Equus. Radcliffe stars with Richard
Griffiths (of History Boys fame); Thea
Sharrock directs. Here is a quote from the Equus
press release: "In Equus, psychiatrist
Martin Dysart (Griffiths) investigates the blinding
of six horses, a savage act committed by a mild-mannered
stable boy, Alan Strange (Radcliffe), whose home
life is filled with bigotry and religious fervor.
As Dysart reveals the mysteries behind the boy's
demons, he realizes he is confronting his own."
previews on September 5, 2008. The show opens on
September 28, 2008 and closes on February 8, 2009.
Tickets for Equus are $61.50-$116.50;
telephone 212-239-6200 & 800-432-7250 www.telecharge.com.
Equus is playing at the Broadhurst
Theatre at 235 West 44th Street.
Frank Langella returns
to Broadway in A Man for All Seasons. Here
is a quote from the show's press release: "Three-time
Tony Award winner Frank Langella stars in a revival
of Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons,
directed by Doug Hughes. This classic drama is a
timeless exploration of politics, religion and power,
based on the fascinating true story of English Chancellor
Sir Thomas More and his moral objection to King
Henry VIII's plan to leave the Catholic Church."
Previews for A Man for All Seaons begin
on September 12, 2008. The show opens on October
7, 2008 for an open run. Tickets for A Man for
All Seasons are $56.50-$101.50. Call 212-719-1300
or log onto
roundabouttheatre.org. A Man for All Seasons
is playing at the American Airlines Theatre
at 227 West 42nd Street.
Kristen Scott Thomas in
Photo Credit Johan Persson
English actress (and French
resident) Kristen Scott Thomas will be gracing the
Broadway Stage in The Seagull. Here is
a quote from The Seagull press release:
"Kristin Scott Thomas reprises her Olivier
Award-winning role of Arkadina in the critically
acclaimed Royal Court Theatre production of Anton
Chekhov's The Seagull. The production,
featuring a new version by Christopher Hampton,
is directed by Ian Rickson. The play concerns the
romantic entanglements and regrets of a group of
actors, writers and artists gathered on a Russian
estate. e of the theatre's great plays about writing,
The Seagull conveys the struggle for new
forms and the frustrations and fulfillment of putting
words on a page."
The Seagull begin September 16, 2008. The
show opens on December 1, 2008 and closes on December
21, 2008. Tickets
for The Seagull are $41.00-$110.00 at 212-239-6200
& 800-432-7250 telecharge.com.
The Seagull is playing at the Walter Kerr
Theater at 219 West 48th Street.
A Tale of Two Cities
Photo Credit Carol Rosegg
And not to be fogotten
is the now-in-previews-but-soon-to-open (September
18, 2008) A Tale of Two Cities. Here is
a quote from their press release: "Jill Santoriello's
musical adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities
is set against the epic backdrop of the French Revolution.
Based on the classic Dickens novel, the musical
is about injustice, vengeance and the redemptive
power of love. It features a book, music, and lyrics
by Santoriello, and is directed and choreographed
by Warren Carlyle. For information: ataleof2cities.com."
Tickets for A Tale of Two Cities are $59.00-$120.00
at 212-239-6200& 800-432-7250 www.telecharge.com.
Tale is playing at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre
at 302 West 45th Street.
For more information
about Broaway shows, log onto our Broadway
Theater Listing Section.