So, there really aren’t enough positive words in the English language to describe the powerhouse of talent that is Jan Maxwell. And when I was invited to see the Potomac Theatre Project’s New York premiere production of The Castle by Howard Barker, starring Ms. Maxwell, I jumped at the opportunity.

The Castle is centered around a village in England and what happens when the husbands who’ve been away at war for so long come home.

The women have taken a liking to one another while the males of the village aren’t present. Maxwell (as Skinner) is a leader of sorts (and a witch) for the women and detests the thought of having their husbands back in their village. She’s less than thrilled when one of her new lovers discovers that she’s still in love with her newly returned husband.

Jennifer Van Dyck as Ann, the lover of Maxwell, also gives a powerful performance laden with internal conflict. David Barlow as Ann’s husband, Stucley, made audiences laugh continuously with his quibbling portrayal of a man who doesn’t recognize the village, and wife, that he’s come home too. 

The battle between the sexes has never been fiercer. The Castle is playing through August 4th at the Atlantic Theatre Company’s Stage 2. Click here for more information. 

Thank you to DARR Publicity for the tickets!

I finally saw the revival of Follies at the Marquis Theatre last night after putting it off for way too long.  The only exposure I had to Follies was at the Encores production back in 2006-ish.  It had an all-star cast but the show just fell flat for me, hence why I wasn’t running to see it this time.  My main motivation to see this revival? Ms. Jan Maxwell.  

First and foremost I loved the direction of this production. The spirits of the Follies’ girls former selves looming in the background the entire show was incredibly powerful.  Danny Burstein, as Buddy Plummer, was absolutely heart breaking and a shoe-in for a Tony nod.  Follies was my first time, believe it or not, seeing Bernadette Peters live on-stage.  She is wonderful, but her voice at times let me a little underwhelmed.  She was great as Sally Durant Plummer regardless.  But Jan Maxwell? Oh, Jan Maxwell. She is a triple threat to be reckoned with.  I’ve always known this but it still shocks me every time I see her live onstage.  She plays Phyllis Rogers Stone with grace, sass, and unending energy.  She blows the roof off the Marquis in the second act twice with Could I Leave You? and then The Story of Lucy and Jessie.  Hopefully this is the role that wins Maxwell her first Tony Award (finally!). 

I think the problem with Follies is the show itself. The way it’s written makes it feel very disjointed and kind of like each scene isn’t part of the same show. This show is classic and interesting with a top notch cast. If you’re in town, it’s definitely worth a viewing.  

(photo via Playbill)

Arthur Kopit’s critically acclaimed play Wings opened last night at Second Stage Theatre in midtown Manhattan and starring is one of the finest actresses that New York has seen in a decade, Jan Maxwell.  

Wings is essentially a one-woman show about a woman (Maxwell) who suffers from a stroke and then has to recover.  We are made to feel her discomfort as she is unable to communicate with the people around her and we feel her joy as she is beginning a slow path on the journey to recovery as she hopes to one day gain her wings back and be able to once again dance on the wings of airplanes.  

I found the script to be thoroughly interesting and different from anything else I’ve ever seen.  Maxwell is surrounded by a cast of six other actors who play doctors, nurses, patients, and her therapist.  Maxwell shows off her finely tuned acting skills as one would expect an actress to do during what is mostly a 70-minute monologue.  

Maxwell is a truly versatile artist and even if the content of the script isn’t your cup of tea, it’s worth an evening on 43rd Street.  

(photo via)