Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Letter from Broadway
"Theatrical lightning bolt"
"A singular astonishment"
"Nothing short of remarkable"
We attended the opening of A View from the Bridge, a revival of the 1955 play by Arthur Miller. Directed by Gregory Mosher [disclosure – a friend], it stars Liev Schreiber, Scarlett Johansson [disclosure – not a friend] and Jessica Hecht. The experience reminded me of how exhilarating well-written, well-acted and well-directed live theater can be. It also reminded me of why we live in high-tax, lousy-weather New York.
I won't review the play here; it’s above my pay grade. Rather, I urge you to read the reviews by the professional critics, almost all of whom were positive. The reviews ranged from admiring at worst to raves at best. In particular, I commend to your attention those in the Feb. 1 New Yorker, the Jan, 25 Washington Post, and the Jan. 25 New York Times. [The New Yorker’s online review in their digital edition is available only to registered users.] Just to whet your appetite, here is an excerpt from the opening paragraph of John Lahr’s review in The New Yorker:
On its merits, the play’s 14-week run would probably sell out. The presence of film star Johansson, making her Broadway debut, assures it. Booking a big Hollywood or TV name is almost a de rigueur casting techniques to assure high Broadway attendance. Well, imagine my surprise (I’m rarely impressed by film stars’ performances on the stage) -- she does well. She more than holds her own. Johansson, in her brunette wig, has attention paid to her.
[For you Arthur Miller fans who recognize my sly reference to “attention must be paid” from Death of a Salesman, I’m not the only one trying to show my cleverness. Ben Brantley in the Times slips this into his review: “There’s no question of not paying them the attention that Miller demands.”]
But it’s Schreiber who is in a class by himself. He has to be considered one of the fine theatrical actors of our time. In A View from the Bridge, we may look at Scarlett, but we’re fixated on Liev. “Schreiber is nothing short of remarkable,” says The Washington Post.
Go see it.