Saturday, October 29, 2016

Two Class Acts *** B-

For the final offering at its White Street home before moving to a new theater four blocks south, The Flea is presenting a pair of one-act plays by A.R. Gurney. This is fitting because Gurney has written several plays for them over the last several years and will have one of the performing spaces in the new building named for him. The two plays are separately ticketed, but it is advisable to see them back to back on the same evening. (The Flea's ticket prices are so low that the cost ot the two plays together is less than one play at most theaters.) Both deal with college faculty who teach Greek literature. 

In Squash, which we must deduce is set in the 1970’s, professor Dan Proctor (Dan Amboyer) likes to unwind with a game of squash after work. One day he is accosted in the locker room by a student, Gerald Caskey (Rodney Richardson), who allegedly is there to turn in a term paper early. He then admits that he also wanted to see Dan naked. (Yes, there’s brief non-frontal male nudity and Dan’s body is worthy of a Praxiteles.) Gerald later comes to Dan’s office to complain about the low grade on his term paper and find out whether it was because of their locker room encounter. Meanwhile Dan’s wife Becky (Nicole Lowrance) begrudges the time Dan spends on squash rather than at home and wishes he would do more to improve his chances of getting tenure. Implausibly Dan goes to a bar recommended by Gerald, unaware that it is a gay bar. He comes to question his own sexuality and eventually approaches Gerald. However Gerald has made discoveries of his own.

For Ajax, the smaller downstairs theater has been converted to a classroom with student tables and a lectern. Each student table has a syllabus for “Intro to Classic Greek Drama” on it. Meg Tucker (Olivia Jampol, who alternates with Rachel Lin) is a failed actress who is filling in as an adjunct instructor for a professor on sabbatical. Her lesson plan is disrupted by the late arrival of Adam Feldman (Chris Tabet, who alternates with Ben Lorenz), an enthusiastic but willful student who insists on writing an adaptation of Sophocles’s Ajax instead of a term paper on Aeschylus. His retelling of the story through the prism of PTSD is a big success when it is staged at a small venue on campus. Adam has persuaded the reluctant Meg to play the role of mistress to his Ajax. The university decides to stage Adam’s play at their main theater to promote their image. At this point the play goes seriously off the rails. Adam keeps revising the play and eventually turns it into an allegory about the Israelis and the Palestinians. The consequences are predictable. In a “happy” ending, we learn that the play will find a home at an adventurous New York theater called The Flea. 

Both plays starts promisingly, but end disappointingly. The acting runs from fair to good, with Amboyer standing out. The immersive sets by Jason Sherwood are excellent. In Squash, the long rectangular space is divided into four square playing areas for the locker room, dining room, office and bar, with two rows of seats facing each other along the long walls. The costumes by Sky Switser are appropriate to the characters. Stafford Arrima’s fluid direction is admirable.

Neither play is top-drawer Gurney, but, for me at least, even second-drawer Gurney is enjoyable. Running time for the two plays together: two hours total, including the time between plays.

Friday, October 28, 2016

"Master Harold" ...and the Boys **** A

A superb revival of Athol Fugard’s 1992 masterpiece, directed by the playwright, is the latest offering at Signature Theatre. In this semi-autobiographical work, Fugard portrays a critical moment in the longtime relationship between Hally (Noah Robbins), a 17-year old Afrikaaner, and two black employees of his family’s business, the wise Sam (Leon Addison Brown) who has tried to be a mentor to Hally and the impulsive Willie (Sahr Ngaujah). Hally’s father, badly injured in WW II, is an alcoholic. His mother has been forced to be the family breadwinner, first by operating a boarding house, since then by running a tea room. The lonely, seething, embittered Hally has turned to Sam and Willie since early childhood for companionship. When a telephone call from his mother bodes ill for Hally’s future, he lashes out at the only people he feels any control over. There are lighter moments of Sam and Willie preparing for a dance contest and of Hally recollecting happier times, but the play builds inexorably to its lacerating climax. Every aspect of this production is top-notch. All three actors fully inhabit their roles, the realistic set by Christopher H. Barreca is excellent, Susan Hilferty’s costumes are fine and Fugard’s direction is, as one would expect, assured. I could quibble that the play’s metaphors are occasionally a bit heavy-handed, but it is indisputably a modern classic. I highly recommend seeing it. Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes; no intermission.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Harvest *** B

One of the things that theater can do is to take us to places we are unlikely to visit and introduce us to characters the likes of whom we would probably never meet. In that regard, Samuel D. Hunter’s new play at LCT3 is a success. We meet several members of an evangelical church in Idaho Falls who are about to depart on a mission to a war-torn Middle Eastern country. (The wisdom of sending Christian missionaries to a troubled Muslim country is an issue beyond my grasp.) In the play’s attention-grabbing opening scene, we witness five church members experiencing the intense rapture of speaking in tongues. It’s a gripping five minutes and a tough act to follow. Ada (Zoe WInters), the mission leader, is several years older than the others, who seem to be in their twenties. Marcus (Christopher Sears) and Denise (Madeleine Martin) are a married couple. The sensitive Tom (Gideon Glick of Significant Other) is subject to panic attacks. Unlike the others, who are going for four months, Tom’s close friend Josh (Peter Mark Kendall) has made the commitment to stay on, perhaps for life. Three days before departure, Josh’s estranged sister Michaela (Leah Karpel) suddenly returns to town, allegedly to talk him out of going. We also meet pastor Chuck (Scott Jaeck) whose relationship to one of the missionaries is revealed late in the play. We learn something but not enough about the motivations to undertake the mission. We don’t find out much about Marcus and Denise’s background. It seemed unlikely to me that a smart, feisty woman like Denise would pick a dullard like Marcus. Hunter succeeds in establishing the centrality of the church in the lives of its members as a beacon of truth in a predominantly Mormon environment, with a mission to share their truth with Muslims. It’s a fascinating peek at an unfamiliar worldview. However, the play loses vitality along the way and, for me at least, shed more heat than light. The five talented actors who play the missionaries give it their all — they must lose a few pounds during each performance. Dane Laffrey’s set presents a convincing version of the basement of a church that doesn’t have much money. Jessica Pabst’s costumes are apt. Davis McCallum’s direction once again demonstrates a sympathy for Hunter’s sensibility. Hunter (The Whale, The Few, Pocatello), a MacArthur Fellow, is definitely a playwright to watch. He has empathy for his characters and does especially well with ensembles. I don’t think this is his best work, but it is still worthwhile. Running time: one hour 50 minutes; no intermission.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Spamilton *** B-

Over the years, Gerard Alessandrini has provided immense pleasure with over 20 editions of his clever, funny series Forbidden Broadway. Writing a parody of Broadway’s current megahit was almost inevitable. First, let me warn you that if you haven’t seen Hamilton or at least become familiar with the score and you aren’t a big fan of Broadway musicals, especially those by Sondheim, you will not likely enjoy this show. Even though I had just seen Hamilton earlier this month, I found some of the skits hard to follow. Some of the funniest moments are when Alessandrini wanders away from his main target and gives us scenes from fake musicals such as “American Psycho in Paris” and “The Lion King and I.” The cast — Nicholas Edwards, Chris Anthony Giles, Larry Owens, Dan Rosales and Nora Schell — are terrific, as is guest diva Christine Pedi. The costumes by Dustin Cross are a hoot. The amusing choreography by Gerry McIntyre gets maximum use out of a postage-stamp-size stage. While there are many hilarious moments, I found this show less consistently enjoyable than Alessandrini’s earlier efforts. The show is at the Triad, a night club with uncomfortable general admission seating, iffy sightlines and a two-drink minimum. Running time: 75 minutes, no intermission.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Vietgone *** B+

Qui Nguyen’s new play at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage I is hard to fit into a neat category. While the prevailing tone is comedic, it deals with some very serious issues. Its central focus is a Vietnamese couple who meet in a refugee camp in Arkansas. Quang (Raymond Lee) is a helicopter pilot wracked by guilt for being unable to rescue his wife and children when Saigon fell. Tong (Jennifer Ikeda) is an emotionally closed-off woman who wanted to escape with her younger brother but ended up being forced to take her difficult mother instead. Sexual sparks fly when Tong and Quang meet, but the emotional baggage they carry is a barrier to building a relationship. Besides, Quang wants to return to Vietnam to rejoin his family. We also meet Quang’s best friend, an American naval captain, a translator, a camp guard, a hippy couple, a redneck biker and even a character who purports to be the playwright. All the female roles except Tong are played by Samantha Quan; all the male roles except for Quang are played by Jon Hoche and Paco Tolson. The play incorporates a love story, a road trip with a hilarious kung fu sequence, a send up of ethnic and national stereotypes, broad (sometimes too broad) humor, all in the context of presenting an alternative view of the Vietnam era as seen from the other side. While the play is not a musical, every once in a while, when emotions are running high, a character will suddenly break out into rap. It’s unfortunate that I had just seen Hamilton a week before because the quality of the rap lyrics here (to music by Shane Rettig) can in no way compare to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work. The cast members are appealing, but the acting is uneven and often unsubtle. The first-rate production benefits from an excellent scenic design by Tim Mackabee, featuring a western scene of a highway with utility poles, power lines and billboards, greatly enhanced by Jared Mezzocchi’s projections. Anthony Tran’s costumes are excellent too. Director May Adrales skillfully holds it all together. It’s an unruly play that could use a slight trim, but its energy and inventiveness go a long way to make up for its shortcomings. I found it refreshing and worthwhile. Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes including intermission.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sell/Buy/Date *** B

It’s hard to believe that 12 years have passed since I first saw the incredibly talented Sarah Jones perform “Bridge & Tunnel,” her love letter to the immigrants of New York City, in which she created about a dozen characters of different ethnicities. It moved to Broadway and was awarded a special Tony. Since then, Ms. Jones has been busy with a variety of activities, including serving as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and advocating for women in the sex industry. When Manhattan Theatre Club announced her long-awaited return to the New York stage, it was cause for celebration. Once again Ms. Jones plays multiple characters, loosely connected by some involvement in selling or buying sex. The framing device has a British professor at some future time giving a lecture on changing attitudes toward sex work over the decades. Her lecture is enhanced by BERT (bio-empathetic resonant technology) which presents her students (and the audience, of course) with not only the words, but also the emotions and memories of each research subject. Most of the characters are vividly created and some of the points they make are thought-provoking. The lecture is punctuated by several interruptions during which the professor attempts to resolve a problem that is delaying her appointment as head of a new department. I thought this subplot undercut rather than enhanced the main idea. Dane Laffrey’s elegantly simple set is beautifully lit by Eric Southern. Carolyn Cantor is the director. While is was a great pleasure to see Sarah Jones again, I was slightly disappointed by the material. Running time: 85 minutes, no intermission.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Kingdom Come ** C-

Jenny Rachel Weiner’s romantic comedy with poignant overtones is the latest offering at Roundabout Underground’s Black Box Theatre. Somewhat like LCT3, this program offers first-rate productions of works by emerging playwrights at affordable prices. Looking around at the audience, Roundabout seems to be more successful than LCT3 in drawing a younger audience. If you saw “Catfish,” you have an idea of the plot, except that in this instance both people are using deceitful online profiles. The twist is that they genuinely fall for each other. How the situation is resolved isn’t quite what you may expect. The characters are Samantha (Carmen M. Herlihy), a morbidly obese woman who rarely leaves her bed; Dolores (Socorro Santiago), Samantha’s home health aide; Dolores’s studly son Dominick (Alex Hernandez), an actor/busboy in L.A.; Layne (Crystal Finn), a repressed lonely bookkeeper; and Suz (Stephanie Styles), Layne’s younger, prettier, less inhibited coworker. Deceit breeds complications. The personable actors all make the most of their roles. There are some funny moments and clever twists along the way, but the material seemed thin and a bit forced. The set by Arnulfo Maldonado is simple but attractive. Tilly Grimes’s costumes are apt. Kip Fagan’s direction is smooth. Most of the audience reacted enthusiastically. For me, it was one online dating story too many. Running time: one hour 40 minutes, no intermission.

Falsettos ** C+

When Lincoln Center Theater announced that it was reviving William Finn’s Tony-awarded musical (best book and best score), I wasn’t sure I wanted to see it again. After seeing its two halves off-Broadway when they were presented as “March of the Falsettos” in 1981 and “Falsettoland” in 1990, as well as the Broadway version of 1992, I thought perhaps it would be better to keep my fond memories and skip it this time around. Michael Rupert, Stephen Bogardus and Chip Zien were so ingrained in my memory as Marvin, Whizzer and Mendel that I could not imagine anyone else in these roles. When Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells were announced as Marvin and Whizzer, I was even more uncertain. While Borle is extremely talented, he is not my vision of a gay neurotic Jewish New Yorker; nor is Rannells my idea of a hunk. I was disappointed that James Lapine was once again directing, because I thought a new director might give it an interesting new spin. Curiosity got the better of me and I bought a ticket. As the play opens, Marvin has divorced his wife Trina and moved in with his lover Whizzer. Marvin and Trina’s young son Jason (an excellent Anthony Rosenthal) is acting out. Marvin’s shrink Mendel takes a fancy to Trina. As luck would have it, both Stephanie J. Block and Brandon Uranowitz were out the night I attended so I saw their understudies Courtney Balan and Tally Sessions as Trina and Mendel; fortunately they were both very good. After intermission we meet the lesbians who live next door, Dr. Charlotte (Tracie Thoms) and Cordelia (Betsy Wolfe). During the first act, I was fighting the disparity between the concept of the two male leads in my head and the versions embodied by Borle and Rannells. They eventually won me over. After intermission, the book becomes more involving and even the songs get better. While the plot may be manipulative, I defy anyone to keep a dry eye at the end. Jennifer Caprio’s costumes are fine. David Rockwell’s set is a puzzler. While I liked the Manhattan skyline backdrop that had several permutations, I thought that the large grey cube that dominated the set and was disassembled as needed to form various props looked cheap. For those who haven’t seen the show before, I would definitely recommend it as a time capsule of New York life in 1979 and 1981. Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including intermission.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hamilton (revisited) **** A

When I first saw Lin-Manuel Miranda’s highly anticipated hip-hop musical about the life of one of our most intriguing founding fathers, it was still in previews at the Public Theater. The multi-talented Miranda not only wrote the music, lyrics and book; he is the co-arranger and, last but not least, the original star. This ambitious, inventive show remains strong across the board: the entertaining, informative and emotionally involving book is filled with moments of humor and pathos, the characters are vividly drawn, the lyrics are extremely clever, the deceptively simple scenic design (by David Korins) is effective, the costumes (by Paul Tazewell) are attractive, the choreography (by Andy Blankenbuehler) supports the action brilliantly, the cast is uniformly strong and the direction (by Thomas Kail) is fluid and assured. As for the music, Miranda makes a strong case for the expressive possibilities of hip-hop. Christopher Jackson, the only holdover in a principal role, has just the right gravitas for George Washington. The good news is that the newcomers to the cast are generally fine and the production is as sharp as ever. Javier Munoz’s Hamilton is just as impressive as Miranda’s was. Brandon Victor Dixon is a fine Aaron Burr even though he lacks Leslie Odom Jr’s lean hungry look. Seth Stewart is almost as good as Daveed Diggs was in two juicy roles — Lafayette and Jefferson. The replacements for Eliza (Lexi Lawson) and Angelica (Mandy Gonzalez) were a bit of a letdown after Philllipa Soo and RenĂ©e Elise Goldsberry. I miss Brian D’Arcy James’s loopy King George, but Rory O’Malley is good. If the show has a fault, it is that Miranda was overambitious and included too much material. The finale remains a bit flat. I was a bit exhausted by play’s end, but it was a pleasant kind of exhaustion. Running time: 2 hours, 50 minutes including intermission. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Love, Love, Love *** B

Mike Bartlett’s (Cock, Bull, King Charles III) 2010 unflattering portrait of the British generation born around 1950 has arrived in New York at Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre. It follows a young self-absorbed couple over a 40+ year period. Kenneth (Richard Armitage) is freeloading in his hardworking older brother Henry’s (Alex Hurt) shabby London flat during his summer break from Oxford. When Henry brings home a date, the free-spirited Sandra (Amy Ryan), it does not turn out well for him. In the second act, set in a modern, attractive suburban home about 20 years later, Kenneth and Sandra have two teen-aged children — Rose (Zoe Kazan), a devoted violin student about to celebrate her 16th birthday and Jamie (Ben Rosenfield), a few years younger. It is clear that the couple feel hemmed in by their marriage and are not exactly model parents. In the final act, another 20 years later, we find Kenneth and Sandra in self-satisfied retirement while their adult children are floundering. The first act entertainingly sets up the central relationship. The second act, by far the most entertaining of the three, vividly shows how their situation has developed. The final act, alas, turns a bit polemical as Rose blames her parents and, by extension, their generation for her own problems. The dialog is sharp and the situations often amusing. You may cringe, but you’ll probably laugh. Amy Ryan is sensational, worth the price of admission. Richard Armitage and Zoe Kazan are also strong. Alex Hurt does his best with a one-note character and Ben Rosenfeld, with an underwritten one. The three distinct sets by Derek McClane and the period costumes by Susan Hilferty establish the time and place well. In the final act, more could have been done with makeup and wigs to make them look their age. Michael Mayer’s direction is assured and fluid. A few of the British references do not travel well. The ironic title comes from a Beatles lyric. If you appreciate fine acting and want to keep up with the works of an acclaimed contemporary playwright, you will probably find the play worthwhile. If you need sympathetic characters to identify with, you will probably not. Running time: 2 hours 5 minutes, including two intermissions.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Life *** B+

Adam Bock’s bold new play at Playwrights Horizons defied my expectations. Even the scenic design turned out to be surprising. The problem for a reviewer is that it is difficult to say much about the production without spoiling the experience. David Hyde Pierce plays Nate Martin, a middle-aged gay man living in Manhattan. The latest in a long series of lovers has left him a month before the play begins. In the past, Nate has turned to astrology for guidance. His supportive best friend Curtis (Brad Heberlee) and he enjoy ogling hot men in Central Park. We also meet Nate’s sister Lori (Lynne McCollough) and two other women, Jocelyn (Marinda Anderson) and Allison (Nedra McClyde). About halfway through the play, events take a most unexpected turn. There is a long scene virtually without dialogue that tests the audience’s mettle. The remainder of the play follows the likely consequences of that scene. It is bracing in its conception, but likely to be disturbing for single people living alone in New York. Pierce does well in a challenging role (even though he seemed a bit old for the part). Heberlee is quite strong and the three women are all fine. Laura Jellinek finds an ingenious solution to presenting three different locations. Jessica Pabst costumed each character suitably. Director Anne Kauffman has wisely chosen to let the play breathe without rushing through difficult moments. Even though I found it unnerving, I was glad to experience it. Running time: 80 minutes, no intermission.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Encounter ** C

This production, conceived, directed and performed by Complicite co-founder and artistic director Simon McBurney, certainly qualifies as the most unusual offering currently on Broadway. It was inspired by the book Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu, which tells the story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre and his search for the reclusive Mayoruna tribe in the Amazon rainforest. They find him before he finds them and his stay with them is harrowing but enlightening. What makes this piece so unusual is that the work is basically an enhanced radio play in which aural elements greatly outweigh the visual. Each audience member is supposed to listen through the provided earphones rather than directly. The 3D sound design, by Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, is highly immersive, but the novelty wore off for me rather quickly. The scenic design by Michael Levine features a back wall covered by sound-studio foam with evocative lighting by Paul Anderson and projections by Will Duke. McBurney (or Richard Katz, who performs on Tuesday evenings and Wednesday matinees) chats up the audience with a demonstration of the audio wizardry before he begins the story, in which he plays both narrator and McIntyre. The story is frequently interrupted by the voices of expert commentators and, annoyingly, McBurney’s 5-year-old daughter. There are mystical and philosophical overtones and a rather ham-fisted critique of modern materialism. Although it held my interest better than anticipated, I did not find it compelling theater. Richard Katz's performance was sufficiently impressive that I did not feel I missed out on anything that would have changed my opinion of the play, Running time: one hour 50 minutes, no intermission.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Cherry Orchard ** C-

Many consider “The Cherry Orchard” to be Chekhov’s masterpiece. I do not share that opinion. To me, it falls short in many respects. It revisits many themes that Chekhov addressed more artfully in his earlier plays, particularly in “Uncle Vanya.” It has too many characters to develop more than sketchily. Furthermore, most of these characters are insufficiently compelling to merit our attention. The plot has an element that I have never understood: it defies reason that Ranevskaya (Diane Lane) would hold a party on the very day that her estate is to be auctioned. However, the verdict of history is that the play is a major classic, so it was intriguing to see what a promising American playwright, Stephen Karam, would do with it in his “new version” for Roundabout Theatre.

The verdict is mixed. The translation is quite idiomatic, but the central concept of the production did not work for me. Karam tries to draw analogies between the effects of serfdom in Russia and the legacy of slavery in America. Instead of nontradtional (P.C. for colorbiind) casting, we have color-coded casting. Three characters who represent Russia’s future — nouveau riche landowner Lopakhin (Harold Perrineau), proletarian student Trofimov (Kyle Beltran) and the lucky neighbor Simeon-Pischik (Chuck Cooper) — and one who escapes it — manservant Yasha (Maurice Jones) — are all played by black actors. All the others, who are more or less victims of social change, are played by white actors — Ranevskaya, her daughterr Anya (Tavi Gevison), her stepdaughter Vanya (Celia Keenan-Bolger), her brother Gaev (John Glover), governess Charlotta Ivanovna (Tina Benko), clerk Yepikhodov (Quinn Mattfield), maid Dunyasha (Susannah Flood) and servant Firs (Joel Grey). It’s an interesting idea, but I did not think it was a valid analogy. For one thing, serfdom was not based on race. I'm not sure why the tramp who interrupts the picnic scene suddenly begins reciting Emma Lazarus's "The New Colossus."

Most of the actors were creditable, but not memorable; however, they did not seem to be working as an ensemble. The party scene, lively to a fault, seemed to belong to a different play. The incidental music by Nico Muhly did not suggest Russia. A brief melody after the party scene incongruously recalled the “mazel tov” song heard at Jewish celebrations. Scott Pask’s set design was low-key, although I did like the Calderesque mobiles that represented the cherry trees. There’s an area rug in act one that two actors tripped on. Some of Michael Krass's costuming choices were puzzling, especially a particularly garish outfit for Lopakhin. Director Simon Godwin, an import from London, did not seem to have a sure grip on the material. It isn’t a terrible production, just a misguided one. Running time: two hours 20 minutes including intermission.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Roads to Home *** B+

To mark the 100th anniversary of Horton Foote’s birth, Primary Stages has mounted a meticulous production of this Texas triptych, unseen in New York since 1992. The first two plays are set in Houston in 1924. In “Nightingale,” Mabel Votaugh (Hallie Foote) and her next-door neighbor Vonnie Hayhurst (Harriet Harris) are interrupted by an unwanted visit from Annie Gayle Long (Rebecca Brookheiser), a young woman who is clearly unstable. Like Mabel, Annie grew up in Harrison, Texas and has begun to visit Mabel daily to relive memories of home. Annie’s husband (Dan Bittner) comes to claim her and urge her to come home to their two small children. In “Dearest of Friends,” the most satirical of the three acts, we meet Mabel and Vonnie’s husbands. Jack Votaugh (Devon Abner) is a couch potato who asks to be awakened from his nap when it is bedtime. Eddie Hayhurst (Matt Sullivan) has fallen in love with a younger woman and begs Vonnie for a divorce. The final and saddest piece is “Spring Dance,” which takes place in Austin four years later. The formal attire in which Annie and the three men are dressed suggests a country club dance. The high wall at the back of the stage suggests otherwise. Two other Harrison natives are at the dance — Dave Dushon (Bittner), a young man who never speaks, and Greene Hamilton (Sullivan), who is easily excitable. Cecil Henry (Abner) is a man who expects to be leaving soon. As the act proceeds, the characters and the audience experience increasing disorientation and confusion. Some people find Hoote’s work too homespun, provincial or even corny. I am not one of them. He is adept in finding the universal in the particular. The production is topnotch. Jeff Cowie’s set design and David C. Woolard’s costumes are excellent. Director Michael Wilson (The Orphans’ Home Cycle, The Trip to Bountiful) once again demonstrates his affinity for the playwright’s work. The actors are very good. Hallie Foote was literally born to play the heroine in her father’s plays. (In the original production, she played Annie.) Harriet Harris successfully dials down her big personality to fit the ensemble. I liked Rebecca Brookheiser better in the third act than in the first. The three men are fine in their dual roles. If you appreciate Foote, you will be more than satisfied with your time spent at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Running time: two hours, five minutes including intermission.