Lincoln Center Theater is mounting “The Glorious Ones” in its cozy 299-seat downstairs house (Mark Lamos’ production of “Cymbeline,” which opens in two weeks, is playing in previews upstairs). It’s the most satisfying show that Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have given us since “Ragtime,” which put them on the musical-comedy map a decade ago, and one of the things that makes it so pleasurable is that it makes no effort whatsoever to impress. Unlike “Dessa Rose,” their 2005 preach-a-thon about the evils of slavery, “The Glorious Ones” is a small-scale, fast-paced entertainment about the commedia dell’arte, the barnstorming outdoor theatrical troupes of 16th-century Italy whose bawdy improvised farces left a lasting mark on the later history of comedy. It is by turns touching and dirty–very, very dirty–and the rapid and unpredictable alternation of these two extremes is part of its charm….
Here’s the scorecard for “Things We Want,” Jonathan Marc Sherman’s new play: (1) Ethan Hawke was prominently featured in Tom Stoppard’s “The Coast of Utopia,” last season’s Big Event. (2) Zoe Kazan, Elia’s 24-year-old granddaughter, knocked out everyone who saw her last fall in the New Group’s revival of “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” and not just because she took it all off, either. (3) Peter Dinklage, best known for such superior indie flicks as “The Station Agent” and “Living in Oblivion,” made an equally memorable impression in the title role of the Public Theater’s 2004 production of “Richard III.” To be sure, Mr. Hawke, the director, is nowhere to be seen on the far side of the proscenium, but his guiding hand is constantly in evidence in the New Group’s latest production, which is so smartly played and staged as to make its long list of shortcomings tolerable….
Rupert Murdoch, the Journal‘s owner-to-be, recently announced plans to make the subscription-only Online Journal free. The switch hasn’t been thrown yet, but given the fact that Murdoch has now made his intentions surpassingly clear, I’ll discontinue my usual weekly invitation to subscribe. Instead, go buy a copy of today’s paper to read the whole thing. (If you’re already a subscriber to the Online Journal, you’ll find my column here.)