arts 07.1.04

On the Boards

We dip into the bulletin boards (Talking Broadway) to see what audience members are saying about three new shows. Keep in mind that these productions are in previews and could change substantially before opening. Also, since these comments are the anonymous vox of the populi, it's impossible to consider the source.

After the Fall
By Arthur Miller, starring Peter Krause. In previews now at the American Airlines Theatre. Opens July 29, runs through September 5.

"I suspect that the play's autobiographical aspects were more interesting when it first was presented in 1967. Now, it seems static, stilted and very, very talky…Peter Krause, very good on "Six Feet Under," lacks the theatricality needed to make the character at all interesting."

"As for Krause who is a wonderful television actor…where is the director? I have no idea if he has done theatre in the past, but to put someone in an extremely difficult role smells of Diddy-ism to me. "

The Frogs
By Aristophanes, Burt Shevelove, Nathan Lane, and Stephen Sondheim. Starring Nathan Lane. In previews now at the Vivian Beaumont. Opens July 23, runs through October 10.

"For my tastes, Act 1 plays like a dream — it is smoothly constructed and zips along nicely with lots of funny banter taking in everything from George Bush's inability to speak coherently to "Mommie Dearest," and Sondheim's musical palette is brightly multicolored. Nathan and Chris [Ed: actor Chris Kattan, playing Lane's slave] don't have much chemistry (the Lane/Broderick and Lane/Sabella combos seem very distant, alas) but Act 1 is so strong it doesn't matter that much. Act 2 feels very padded. At this point, "The Frogs" has its flaws but it is also an uncommonly invigorating and exciting production."

"Much has been made of the political stuff in "The Frogs," but, really, it's nothing we haven't heard a million times a million different ways from other sources — most of which are much more clever…Precisely what "The Frogs" is missing (at this point, at least) is the kind of insight that comes from good political theater."

Much Ado About Nothing
By William Shakespeare. In previews now at the Delacorte. Opens July 13, runs through August 8.

"Not the most scintillating production imaginable but, in its often broadly humorous way, quite enjoyable. Engaging performances by Kristen Johnston, Jimmy Smits, Dominic Chianese, Christopher Evan Welch, Jayne Houdyshell, Peter Francis James, and Brian Murray, among others."
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