Pre-Thanksgiving Fun @ The Cherry Orchard 

I couldn’t think of a more appropriate play to take in before the Thanksgiving holiday than The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov. I knew it was be pretty dry, but the cast sounded too great to pass up. I showed up to the American Airlines Theatre last Wednesday around 2pm and took my seat in the last row of the orchestra. 

I read the description in the Playbill, and the breakdown of the family members, so I had some idea of what I was getting into (tl;dr: A Russian family is going broke and losing the estate that they’ve lived on for generations). Sadly, Joel Grey was out that day, but I was still really excited to see Diane Keaton, as well as Tavi Gevison and Celia Keenan-Bolger. Oh, and Chuck Cooper, too. 

The script was as dry and depressing as expected. The sets and lighting were lovely and mesmerizing. The performances were stellar. I can’t decide whether Keaton was great or overacting, because her character is a little delusional and crazy (think: a Russian Blanche duBois) so it was hard to tell. I still enjoyed watching her regardless. Keenan-Bolger and Gevinson were more compelling, though that might be because their characters were just more interesting to me. Then there was Chuck Cooper. who played a Russian businessman who knows the family. I love him in any and everything and he can do no wrong. Philip Kerr, who was on for Joel Grey, was whimsical with great comedic timing. Honestly, I can’t figure out why Grey would take a small, supporting role, but as great as he may be, I enjoyed Kerr a lot. 

Roundabout has put on a stunning production with a stellar cast of a slightly boring Chekhov play. But hey, I knew what I was getting myself into when I took my seat. If you love this kind of play, this is a great production to see. 

Last night Kristen and I took in a performance of Act One at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre. Adapted from Moss Hart’s autobiography of the same name by James Lapine, Act One told the story of Moss Hart’s upbringing in the theatre. I haven’t read the book yet but I think I’ve seen a few copies lying around the office so I’ll have to borrow it soon. 

Santino Fontano was young Hart and he was fabulous, as he usually is. Tony Shalhoub was excellent as an older Moss Hart and the exceedingly strange George Kaufman. Andrea Martin was hilarious and heartwarming as Moss’ aunt (who is basically responsible for his life in the theatre) and Kaufman’s wife. And who doesn’t love an a supporting role played by the marvelous Chuck Cooper? Yeah, not a soul.

Albeit it being a bit long (it was almost 3 hours), it was an educating and entertaining night at the theatre that any theatre aficionado should make a point to see this season. 

Tickets were provided by the production but not in exchange for any review. 

Parting is such sweet sorrow. 

On Thursday night the new revival of Romeo and Juliet opened and last week I had the opportunity to see it. I was incredibly excited because I love Shakespeare and also because I’d never seen a professional production of R&J. Also: Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad were starring in it. With Chuck Cooper and Jayne Houdyshell to boot. I was just as excited for the cast as I was for the iambic pentameter.

As per usual with Shakespeare, the set (by Jesse Poleshuck) was sparse and the lighting (by David Weiner) was interesting. The costumes (by Fabio Toblini) were more Baz Luhrman-esque than Elizabethan.

I’d heard complaints about the chemistry between Bloom and Rashad but I didn’t have any problem – in fact I liked them both a lot. I also adored Chuck Cooper as Lord Capulet as he was absolutely frightening. Justin Guarini gave a surprisingly convincing performance as Paris too. (As it turns out, he has more than one facial expression contrary to his performance in American Idiot.) And Houdyshell as the Nurse? Maybe the best in the cast. Editors NoteChristian Camargo’s Mercutio was gripping and perfect too. You can definitely see why Juilliard wanted him. 

 I’m not sure what prompted this revival, as Broadway is surely inundated with Shakespeare this season, but I’d say its definitely worth a viewing if you’re a fan of the play or any of it’s cast members.

Disclaimer: Tickets were gratis courtesy of SC. 

All The Way Back in 2007…

When I was studying abroad during the summer in 2007, I saw a play before I came home called “In Celebration” starring Orlando Bloom. I’d never really been an Orlando Bloom fan in particular, but I thought, how many more times will I have the chance to see Orlando Bloom on stage? Probably not many. 

And I was right.. not many have presented themselves. Until now… this fall a new and re-imagined revival of Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo and Juliet will be playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.  Orlando Bloom will (obviously) be playing Romeo alongside Condola Rashad (who killed it in last season’s The Trip to Bountiful) as Juliet. The fantastic Chuck Cooper and Jayne Houdyshell are also apart of the stellar cast. 

I am so, so excited for this revival. For one I’ve never seen a professional production of R&J, and with this cast…. WOW! I’ll be seeing it sometime in September and I wanted to give one of you guys a chance to see it too. In the next week or so I’ll be putting together a post to be tweeted/reblogged/etc!

Until then, I leave with you this picture of the charismatic Orlando Bloom from back in 2007:

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