It’s Friday, and I’m strictly off Broadway in this week’s Wall Street Journal drama-column teaser. On tap are BAM Harvey’s Hedda Gabler, starring Cate Blanchett, and Lincoln Center’s Bernarda Alba, starring Phylicia Rashad:
Everyone who goes to the movies knows how good Cate Blanchett is, which is why the Australian production of “Hedda Gabler” in which she’s currently touring is such a hot ticket. But acting in front of an audience is different from acting in front of a camera, and this was her U.S. stage debut. So how’d she do? Stupendously well–except that she reminded me of an old-time movie star. One particular old-time movie star, in fact: Bette Davis.
That’s not a knock. Davis was matchless in the right kind of part, and “Hedda Gabler” might well have been her cup of wormwood, especially in the tightened-up, lightened-up “adaptation” of Henrik Ibsen’s 1890 play by Andrew Upton (Ms. Blanchett’s husband) that the Sydney Theatre Company has brought to Brooklyn….
Speaking of scary women, there’s another show in town that you should rush to see: “Bernarda Alba,” Michael John LaChiusa’s musical version of the 1936 play by Federico Garc