Friday, January 27, 2012

Margaret Edson's "Wit" Opens on Broadway

Margaret Edson's 1999 play W;t has opened on Broadway and the reviews are in. First and foremost, the reviewers have said that it's about damn time that the play opened on Broadway. The 1999 Pulitzer Prize winning play won every major award when it originally arrived in New York, but was not eligible for a Tony because it was not on Broadway -- and this "inescapably moving" revival does not disappoint. According to the New York Times, "As directed with a persuasive combination of showmanship and sensitivity by Lynne Meadow, this production magnifies the innate theatricality of Ms. Edson’s play without compromising the firm emotional truth at its center."

Carra Patterson and Greg Keller received good notices for their supporting turns in the show and, while most accounts are convinced of the revival's power and beauty, they are more mixed on the performance of the leading actress, Cynthia Nixon, as Vivian Bearing. Variety, for example, could not shake the memory of Kathleen Chalfant from the original off-Broadway production (or even Emma Thompson in the film version) and was simply not drawn into Nixon's perf. The New York Times, on the other hand, said of Nixon, "this is a performance that is large and lucid and delicate at the same time, and it justifies Manhattan Theater Club’s decision to mount what is essentially a chamber piece on Broadway," while acknowledging that the part is much more suited to either Chalfant or Thompson than it is to Nixon.

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