NY Theater Review by Sandi Durell
Nothing like waiting for opening night reviews – nail biting!
And it’s never a wrong time to revive a belly-laugh of a comedy that reunites Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick (last seen together in “The Producers”) in Terrence McNally’s over-the-top send up to the Broadway big shots. No one is left unscathed by McNally’s witty hand – not Catherine Zeta-Jones, nor the cast of Matilda.
Welcome to the luxurious town house of newbie neophyte producer Julia Budder (a ditzy, high pitched Megan Mullally) who has more money than brains writing unlimited checks for her playwright friend Peter Austin’s (low and lower key Matthew Broderick) newest offering The Golden Egg on Broadway. A deadpan, wide-eyed young wannabe actor/writer (add some other slashes), Gus P. Head (hysterically funny newbie Micah Stock), is checking coats in the sumptuously designed (Scott Pask) deco upstairs bedroom for the who’s who gathering downstairs at the party. We find Austin’s long time friend, James Wicker (the funny and funnier king of the double takes and one-liners, Nathan Lane) waiting, as all these characters and more invade.
Seems that Austin wrote the play with his friend Jimmy in mind for the lead but Jimmy, seeing the handwriting on the wall, turned it down. He’s there to support his buddy.
Star struck Gus keeps running in with the coats having a grand ole’ time with Tommy Tune’s long fur, Lady Gaga’s bubble coat as his droll comments fly.
Enter the female lead in the play, the imbibed snorting, pill-popper Virginia Noyes, hoping to make this her return to the stage from film (an enchanting Stockard Channing). And then there’s the director, a grown up Harry Potter original, British Rupert Grint, a dandy of a character who can’t keep his hands off stuffing his pockets with antique pieces strewn about. Completing the amusing characters is Ira Drew, The Eviscerator – vicious critic (F. Murray Abraham) who has a hidden agenda.
It’s mayhem and actors gone wild as this all-star cast keeps the audience in stitches for most of the 2 hours 25 minutes. There are lulls but you have to have a rest from laughing so hard.
Ann Roth has costumed the cast in all the glitz and sparkle reminiscent of opening nights, as director Jack O’Brien leads the zany cast of characters through their wicked paces.
“It’s Only A Play” gives an all out effort in Defying Gravity!
*Photos: Joan Marcus (click to enlarge photos)
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, West 45th Street, NYC thru Jan. 4th.