Yesterday was another entertainment doubleheader for your favorite blogger here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In the World. Both shows were about basically dysfunctional families ...
The first was the Off Broadway show ...
THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN, about the Kilgannons who are a typical Irish family in 1974 Buffalo. However, the world is changing fast, the generation gap is widening, and the future is up for grabs. Will the Kilgannons find the serenity to accept the things they cannot change and the wisdom to know that what needs changing most is sitting around the dinner table?==>B+
This fast moving “witty drama” addresses the conflicts between devout Catholic parents and their offspring who are trying to adopt to the changing morality and landscape of the 70s.
Yes, there is a lot of anger on stage with almost too many face-to-face confrontations over such issues as cross-faith marriage, abortion, homosexuality and the female responsibility to maintain the appearance of a “normal” family.
The acting is excellent and the story line is engrossing although rather troubling in parts. The intimate space of The Studio at The Cherry Lane Theater is perfect for this show.
Billi Pod says==>worth seeing.
It is playing at The Cherry Lane Theater in The West Village, has a running time of 1:10, without intermission, and runs through December 4th.
When the show was over I subwayed back to the apartment, had my usual fruit and cheese plate, and then it was time for my second “dysfunctional family” show ...
The Broadway show ...
THE COUNTRY HOUSE, a brood of famous and longing-to-be-famous creative artists have gathered at their Berkshires summerhouse during the Williamstown Theatre Festival. When the weekend takes an unexpected turn, everyone is forced to improvise … inciting a series of simmering jealousies, a flurry of romantic outbursts and a bout of passionate soul-searching==>C
As much as I wanted to like this show ... it just didn’t work for me, and, frankly, I was majorly disappointed in Blythe Danner as Anna the actress and family matriarch. She was, at best, a bland presence on stage.
I found the character Elliott, played by Eric Lange, the younger son who is a failed actor and incipient playwright, to be totally dislikable and virtually every word spewing out of his mouth was annoying and intolerable.
And, of course, there is way too much yelling and screaming between the characters, ending in physical violence toward the end of the play.
On the plus side ... both Sarah Steele, as the granddaughter Susie, and Daniel Sunjata, as the television star Michael, make their characters believable and interesting.
I can certainly understand why this Chekhov inspired play received such mixed reviews.
My comp. seat was excellent, in the 3rd row of the front mezzanine.
Billi Pod says==>you are hereby warned.
It is playing at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on West 47th Street, has a running time of 2:20, with intermission, and runs through November 23rd.
You know, when I got back to the apartment I felt emotionally drained, having spent most of the afternoon and evening dealing with dysfunctional families. Oh well ... that’s show business ... I guess ... and, of course ... I am the one who booked the back-to-back shows ... oh well ...
Moving on ...
Tonight at 8:00pm I am meeting up with my friends Michael Pederson and Dennis Dohman for dinner at Joe Allen, on Restaurant Row on West 46th Street.
Really looking forward to this because it has been awhile since the 3 of us have had face time.
In closing ... it is another rather nasty day here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World. Yeah ... at noon it is lightly raining so my walking and wandering, if any, will probably be limited to The Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Total mileage for 2014==>1,263.94 miles (average 4.09 miles per day)
GO GATORS==>BEAT VANDY!!
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”