Our Town (Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow St.). Stephen Kunken is now playing the Stage Manager in what has become the longest-running commercial production of Thornton Wilder’s masterpiece ever to be mounted. Alas, it can’t run forever, so if you have yet to see the best show in New York, get cracking. David Cromer’s staging is a re-creative landmark, at once arrestingly original and fundamentally faithful in its approach to the author’s well-loved text. Don’t listen if anybody tries to tell you about the surprise ending–and once you’ve seen the show, don’t tell anybody what happens (TT).
Archives for January 2, 2010
Ben Hodges (ed)., The Play That Changed My Life: America’s Foremost Playwrights on the Plays That Influenced Them (Applause, $18.95 paper). The title and subtitle say it all. Among those present: Jon Robin Baitz, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Horton Foote, A.R. Gurney, Lynn Nottage, Sarah Ruhl, and John Patrick Shanley. Your interest in the nineteen essays will undoubtedly vary with your interest in the nineteen playwrights who wrote them, but every contribution is both readable and worth reading–albeit for very different reasons. I especially liked David Ives’ witty reminiscence of seeing Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance as a teenager in Chicago in the late Sixties. Oh, how the world has changed! (TT).
Great Performances: Passing Strange (PBS, Jan. 13, nine p.m. ET, check local listings). Spike Lee’s performance film-documentary of the Broadway production of Stew’s 2007 rock musical about the travails of a middle-class black bohemian makes its broadcast debut this month. The music is a bit plain-sounding, but the book and lyrics offer a revealing glimpse of a side of black life in America that rarely gets talked about, much less sung about. Annie Dorsen’s staging is full of punch, and Lee has filmed the show with tremendous verve (TT).