NEXT MAGAZINE April 3, 2009 THEATER
BY DAVID HURST
Michael Blakemoreís sparkling revival of NoŽl Cowardís Blithe Spirit is a chance to see the legendary Angela Lansbury capering about stage as the dotty medium Madame Arcati. And while youíre thanking the theater gods for her Broadway appearance, youíll notice the rest of the production is pretty wonderful, too. Rupert Everett, making his Broadway debut at nearly 50 and still sinfully handsome, is perfection. We knew the sublime Christine Ebersole and Jayne Atkinson would be wonderful, but what a pleasure to report Everett is an accomplished stage actor, too, dashing off Cowardís witty lines with razor-sharp timing. Treat yourself!
It would be nice to report the new revival of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheimís West Side Story is a shattering theatrical experience but, alas, I cannot. Squandering a 29-piece orchestra thatís been mixed and amplified within an inch of its life, this WSS is a disappointment from start to finish. The dancing is executed brilliantly (especially by Ryan Steele, who makes his Broadway debut as Baby John), but thereís nothing behind it emotionally. The actors playing Riff and Bernardo (Cody Green and George Akram, respectively) simply canít act. Ditto for Matt Cavenaugh whoís out of his league as Tony (not to mention already in vocal distress) and whose best acting comes when he gets shot at the end. Yes, Josefina Scaglioneís lovely as Maria and Karen Olivo mops up the stage as Anita, but the book scenes are flat, the addition of Spanish is only partly successful and the ďadultsĒ in the piece are surprisingly bad. And donít get me started on the ludicrous costumes and hair styles!
Impressionism is a monumental vanity production for playwright Michael Jacobs, whose biggest claim to fame is creating and producing television sitcoms such as Boy Meets World, My Two Dads and Charles in Charge. It managed to tempt Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons back to Broadway after extensive absences but, sadly, they may as well be reading the back of a cereal box.
Better to spend your money on KT Sullivanís sensational new show, Dancing in the Dark, a celebration of the partnership of Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, thatís packing them in at The Oak Room. Backed by Ted Firth and Steve Doyle, Sullivan will enchant you with her insouciant style and spectacular voice.