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the harlem times

Rae’s Plays Theater Review

by: Harlem Times Staff
November 21, 2014

Title: It’s Only a Play

AUTHOR    TERRENCE McNALLY

DIRECTOR    JACK O’BRIEN

CAST        F. MURRAY ABRAHAM
MATTHEW BRODERICK
STOCKARD CHANNING
MEGAN MULLALLY
RUPERT GRINT
NATHAN LANE
MICAH STOCK

An updated revival, IT’S ONLY A PLAY has a stellar cast of Broadway veterans portraying a mishmash of unconventional personalities. The troupe of self-absorbed, zany characters and their communal love of theater; links, bonds and strengthens their relationships for the good and the not so good.
Taking place at the Eastside New York City townhouse of Producer, Julia Budder, all are present at the opening night party of this “new American play”. We tag along, as they await the anticipated reviews of The Gray Lady and its infamous critic.
MEGAN MULLALLY portrays Julia Budder, a naive, bubbly, idealistic, very rich and newly ventured independent theatrical patroness; who doesn’t have a clue about the calibrations of this new venture she so passionately supports.
MATTHEW BRODERICK as playwright Peter Austin and NATHAN LANE as television star James Wicker are BFF’s for the longest. Creative rivalry imminent, we witness Wicker having a scathingly hilarious behind-the-scene and behind-the-back diatribe about Austin’s play. Equally jaundiced is Austin of Wicker’s nine year television series, which he deems banal and utterly beneath his friend’s talents.
F. MURRAY ABRAHAM depicts Ira Drew, a loathed and ousted drama critic, who uses the festivity to opportunistically push a script he says, is written by his protégé.
STOCKARD CHANNING is the seasoned stage and movie actress Virginia Noyes. One tough cookie and displaying a discerning love/hate relationship with the “business”, Noyes tends to keep “somewhat” self-medicated to deal with the pressures.
RUPERT GRINT, as the English director Frank Finger: holds his own among this incredible cast as a damaged, eccentric being with panache for kleptomania and ambiguous conducts.
MICAH STOCK, in his Broadway debut as the just off the bus, wet around the ears, coat check guy Gus; coyly displays more discernment than his goofy persona indicates and sparkles in this production.
TERRENCE McNALLY while dropping names in pivotal places and spaces, writes with deliberate humor and clever tads of cynicism, resulting in the reverberating echoes of audience laughter.
Directed by JACK O’BRIEN, the pace is quick and flowing, one mad cap dysfunctional situation after another starts to unfold at what begins as a very vexing party.
Set Designer, SCOTT PASK made the stage look like what Dietrich’s place would be if she were 30 and still alive. I have such jabs of envy that I am searching for affordable duplicates online to include in my apartment.
What is the audience feedback? Sold out performances and roars of merriment! Critically speaking this is the only thing that really counts.

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