(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
Lincoln Center Theater's lavish 75th anniversary production of this Clifford Odets classic is now in previews at the Belasco Theatre. The cast of 19, directed by Bartlett Sher, features such stalwarts as Tony Shalhoub, Danny Burstein and Jonathan Hadary, whose topnotch performances were, for me, the main reason to see the play. Lucas Caleb Rooney, Dagmara Dominczyk and Michael Aronov are fine as Joe Bonaparte's brother, sister and brother-in-law respectively. Anthony Crivello is appropriately menacing as Eddie Fuselli. Yvonne Strahovski (Hanna on Dexter) makes an impressive debut as Lorna Moon. Danny Mastrogiorgio seemed a bit shaky as Joe's manager. And then there's Seth Numrich as Joe. Let me just say that he is not an obvious choice for the part. He is too big to be plausible as a welterweight, he doesn't look remotely Italian and his acting is outclassed by his fellow cast members. It is a tribute to the overall excellence of the production that this weakness does not seriously harm it. Michael Yeargan's multiple sets are excellent and Catherine Zuber's costumes are superb. I was surprised that the play did not seem as dated as I had expected and that Odets had managed to keep his usual sermonizing mostly in check until the third act. The ending is rather flat. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the evening more than I expected to. Running time: 2 hours, 50 minutes, including two intermissions.