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Director’s Brief: The Broadway Review…

by Karen Azenberg

The Broadway Review…

OK, I have seen them all!

Twenty-seven shows.

Ten in the last two weeks—and two of those were two-part shows. So, actually, 14 shows in the last two weeks.

It was an interesting season. Frankly, a little lightweight for my taste. But something for everyone, to be sure.

The standouts were The Band’s Visit—a very likely contender for the Best Musical Tony—and then Angels in America, Three Tall Women, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The Band’s Visit is not a completely traditional musical, but unlike many of the musicals this season, it has an actual book that is targeted for an audience over the age of 10. It’s a little bit dark, but very moving and beautiful.

The revivals of Angels in America and Three Tall Women are both incredible productions and boast amazing performances by Glenda Jackson, Laurie Metcalf, Andrew Garfield, and Nathan Lane—but Jackson, at age 82, gives not only an amazing performance, but carries the bulk of the dialogue in the play without missing a beat. It’s a great example of star-casting that doesn’t compromise the production in the slightest.

Angels is, as one would expect, a theatrical tour-de-force. But I was also quite taken with Three Tall Women. I highly recommend them both.

On the more commercial, and family-friendly side, is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which has, perhaps, the best theatrical magic and effects I have ever seen. The script is not extraordinary, but it’s super fun to see a stage production that includes those iconic characters from the books. Also, it is staged beautifully and—knowing how partial and critical  I am of theatrical choreography—I’ll say that Stephen Hogget’s choreography is really and truly genius. All of Harry Potters’ transitions are staged to not only direct your focus away from the “magic,” but they’re consistent with the mood at the moment and appropriate to the characters. It’s another two part-show, so, it’s a definite commitment. But if you’re a fan, or have one in your house, it is well worth the time.

When I send in my Tony Ballot, I feel as if the summer has really begun. So, my ballot will be submitted tomorrow—after my daughter graduates from high school and her summer begins.

I’ll be blogging every other week during the summer and will be back full-time in the fall.

Happy Summer!


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