I gave Anna in the Tropics a rave in this morning’s Wall Street Journal:
When coolness is all, nothing is so deadly as to be declared old-fashioned. So please don’t get me wrong when I say that Nilo Cruz’s “Anna in the Tropics,” which opened Sunday at the Royale Theatre, is old-fashioned in the best sense of the word. It’s melodramatic, unabashedly poetic and perfectly serious–and it won a Pulitzer Prize from a panel of judges who’d never seen it on stage, a circumstance that left me wondering whether it could possibly be any good, especially in light of the suspiciously convenient fact that Mr. Cruz was (quoth the press release) “the first Latin American to win the coveted prize for drama.” Nobody ever went far wrong questioning the motives of Pulitzer judges, but this particular bunch, God knows how, managed to hit the target. “Anna in the Tropics” touched me as much as anything I’ve seen since I started writing this column….
I also very much liked the new production of Shakespeare’s Henry IV
that just opened at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater, directed by Jack O’Brien and starring Kevin Kline as Sir John Falstaff:
He’s properly sly and unctuous, and if his Falstaff is perhaps a bit too much the roguish clown, he nonetheless rises with ease to the terrible moment when Prince Hal (Michael Hayden) betrays him. “I know thee not, old man,” declared the newly crowned king, and the audience gasped–I’m not exaggerating–as Mr. Kline reeled at the shock of his public humiliation.
As I say, there’s much else to like about this “Henry IV.” Mr. O’Brien imposes no high directorial concepts of his own, dressing his players in conventional period garb and letting Shakespeare be Shakespeare….It’s Shakespeare for moviegoers, in short, “popular” in the same pleasing way that “Anna in the Tropics” is old-fashioned. It runs through Jan. 11, and you won’t be sorry to see it.
No link, so to read the whole thing (including my two cents’ worth about Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, which closed after one performance, which was one too many), buy today’s Journal and look me up in the “Weekend Journal” section, which is worth reading for all sorts of other reasons.