Yep, still on the company clock, and so many shows left to have frivolous opinions about!
The one that keeps poking its nasty little snout in my ear, asking to be prattled about is God of Carnage, somehow the toast of the Great White Way*. Which is probably appropriate in some desperately grating way, because I think it's exactly the sort of thing that makes a certain segment of the populace you may or may not have any patience for exhale sharply and say "well I mean really isn't Broadway just a bunch of plays about white people's problems?" (and then they have to run along to Problems in Theory: Kristeva through My Hairdresser Who Has One About Everything, and so the discussion ends there.) Honestly, I don't mind if they do take that kind of shot, as the play doesn't stand up to much better. Mock profundity by means of flitting reference to existential concerns may seem to do when you're discussing a class of people nobody in the audience believes to have much of an inner life in the first place [in the adapted version, Cobble Hill stroller jockeys], but at times it seemed to me nobody would give this thing a second look if the cast weren't so game and able.
What it mostly is is** an easy and not especially novel potshot at the thin veneers of civilization marriage and child-rearing depend upon. What else it is is sure-handedly entertaining, here and there brutally funny and, again, gifted with a cast that has seemingly rolled up their sleeves and committed to a roll in the mud for four, in a way it's tough to find fault with even if it's not the very highest quality mud. Gandolfini manages to be a compelling brute without being You-Know-Who; Marcia Gay Harden flinches not once from being head-explodingly irritating; Jeff Daniels somehow manages to make a stock character of modern civilized villainy freshly loathesome and kind of hot; and Hope Davis (the least horrific of them all except that she gets to deliver the show's one rather-too-vile stage effect) maybe does just the opposite trick, slowly revealing that the best of them isn't so by much. But if I'm not wholly in the amen chorus for a play about how parenting has come to be the destroyer of people's ability and will to tame the id and connect, something has gone awry.
Nearby at the Broadhurst, Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter do quite the opposite trick, dusting the cobwebs off a play one feels certain would be edifying in the forehanded and backhanded senses of the word in lesser custody. Schiller's Maria Stuart, yep--the source of Donizetti's libretto, I believe, is not what I would have guessed would be the most exciting thing on Broadway but I'm in as much of a position to say so as I ever have been after a monthlong TDF binge, and I will say so. It's made of win, marinated in win, garnished with win. McTeer and Walter are riveting (I do think Walter's role is the harder in some sense; fewer opportunities for the acting equiv of a D flat in alt or a well inflicted glottal stop) and their single, apparently apocryphal confrontation lives up to any operatic reading of the same scene. Purists may find the Konzept--men in business suits, ladies in Ren Fair garb--distracting, but I was on board, emphatically so. It is, by the way, very frequently on TDF, so you can probably see it for $35 though good seats are not guaranteed.
Great, that only leaves like eight shows to write about, and then I'm going to Coraline tomorrow if I didn't mention. I'm like Lucy at the candy factory here, not that I'm complaining.
*if we are to go by where I ended up getting a ticket, which was in a weird little corner behind a railing. Because it's not like I walk around the theater district with a pad going "hey pardon me but what show is the talk of people like you, you big tourist?"