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“Linda Vista,” Tracy Letts’ serious comedy about the midlife crisis of a newly divorced man who doesn’t know how to listen to women—or anyone else, for that matter—was first performed in 2017 by Steppenwolf Theatre Company, at which time I wrote in this space that it “might just be Mr. Letts’ best play yet.” Dexter Bullard’s premiere production of “Linda Vista,” in which Ian Barford gave a totally convincing performance, at once repellent and sympathetic, has finally made it from Chicago to Broadway courtesy of Second Stage Theater, somewhat revised but with nearly all of the original cast intact, and I can confirm that my first impression was on the mark: “Linda Vista” really is that good.
Mr. Barford plays Wheeler, a 50-year-old liberal misanthrope with conservative cultural tastes who, having blown up a perfectly good marriage, proceeds to blow up an equally good relationship with an earnest but very nice “life coach” (Cora Vander Broek) when he meets and falls for Minnie (Chantal Thuy), a twentysomething Vietnamese-American “rockabilly girl.” While you feel for Wheeler, you also know that his troubles are his own fault, and much of the strength of “Linda Vista” lies in the fact that Mr. Letts never lets him wriggle off the hook of his own character…
* * *Read the whole thing here. To read my Wall Street Journal review of the original 2017 Chicago production of Linda Vista, go here.
The trailer for the original Steppenwolf Theatre Company production of Linda Vista: