This is a hands down, must see winner, in every aspect of theatrical genius!
A hilarious, yet deeply moving and cerebral look at a trio of long-term male friendships, and the simmering insecurities that bubble underneath the surface … this is a wonderful play! Brilliantly written by Yasmina Reza and translated by Christopher Hampton, the 1988 Broadway production of ART (starring Alan Alda, Victor Garber, and Alfred Molina) won the Tony Award and other theatrical accolades. I had seen this play years ago, with a worthy cast, and enjoyed it … but didn’t fully “get” the gist. This current production sizzles, under the ingenious directorial vision of nine-time Emmy winner David Lee, and starring this stellar trio of seasoned pros. You’ll likely recognize each of these actors from countless award-winning TV and stage roles. As the story goes … Serge (Michael O’Keefe), Marc (Bradley Whitford), and Yvan (Roger Bart) have been best friends for 15 years. When Serge spontaneously spends a fortune on a large and controversial painting, the friendships are challenged in countless ways. Marc is horrified … somehow threatened by the extravagant purchase, and the neurotic, less combative Yvan is caught in the middle, playing referee. Soon, their analytical dissection of the purchase finds them using the canvas to relentlessly criticize each other’s life choices and personal failures. As their arguments become increasingly heated, their once-valued friendships are in dire straights, as the threesome reveals hidden truths and feelings. Funny, soul searching, and laced with the realities of human nature’s dependence on friendships, this is a mesmerizingly delicious script! Perfectly cast … each actor has inspiring spot-lit moments individually, and work together with heartfelt camaraderie! Drawing us in totally, the audience was captivated throughout. A highly entertaining and thought provoking evening of theatre at its finest! Setting the mood flawlessly … Tom Buderwitz’s simplistically gorgeous set design, Kate Bergh’s costumes, Jared A. Sayeg (Lighting), and Philip G. Allen (Sound) must be applauded! An impressive turnout of celebrity audience members on “opening night” gave the production a rousing “standing ovation,” adding to the excitement of the evening. Do yourself a favor … and do catch this one! Running through Feb. 19 at the historic Pasadena Playhouse located at 39 S. Molino Ave. in Pasadena. For seats, call (626) 356-7529 or visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.
My personal kudos to the gorgeous longtime “super publicist” Patty Onagan! This little dynamo really knows how to fill a theatre, and arrange fabulous opening night private parties! This one was held a few blocks away at Bistro 45. Elegantly casual, serving delicious modern American cuisine with a French influence … the food, ambiance, and friendly service was top notch! Robert Simon, the charming owner of 21 years, hosted the affair … and encourages you to stop by and soak in the magic! To learn more … go to www.bistro45.com or call (626) 795-2478.
Back next week with two new reviews for your consideration. Love this weather, huh? Only in L.A.!