Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for November 2009
BY Brandon Voss
November 16 2009 2:55 PM ET
Like the proverbial tree falling in a forest, if Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman are on Broadway, does the rest of New York’s theater scene make a sound? Shockingly, yes, but let’s focus on those hot daddies first.
In Keith Huff’s A Steady Rain, which dries up December 6 at the Schoenfeld Theatre, two Chicago beat cops share shocking events in intersecting “he said, he said” monologues. Put simply, it’s like a 90-minute crime procedural (think CSI: Broadway!) that proves a star vehicle can succeed despite its mediocrity. Still, no thanks to ringing cell phones and spotty “Da Bears” accents, the studs deliver. Because I only scored one comp to the limited-run engagement, I drooled from mid orchestra while my boyfriend Nick paid a fortune for front row center, where he could feel Wolverine spit on his face. So we hate her.
To see or not to see — that is always the question when yet another potentially boring Shakespeare play opens on Broadway. If you want a riveting, eye-popping, titillating Hamlet, add Zeffirelli’s 1990 adaptation starring Mel Gibson and Glenn Close to your Netflix queue. But if you’ve got the hots for Jude Law, check out the profitable new revival, which ends its limited run at the Broadhurst Theater December 6. Back on Broadway for the first time since dropping trou in 1995’s Indiscretions, the sinewy 36-year-old exudes an electric yet accessible intensity as the fashionable Prince of Denmark. Just don’t expect innovative surprises like a three-way with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; in fact, the spartanly staged production has such little else to offer. Even juicy characters like Gertrude and Ophelia blend into the all-black background.
It’s fitting that After Miss Julie at the American Airlines Theatre also closes December 6. After all, the mere idea that star Sienna Miller would be inhaling the same Broadway air as ex-boyfriend Jude Law was almost as big of a story this season as When Hugh Met Craig. Relocating August Strindberg’s 1888 play Miss Julie to a 1945 English country house, Patrick Marber’s riveting, slow-burning update tackles the tragic consequences when a spoiled aristocrat sleeps with her father’s servant, here played with blue-collar carnality by Jonny Lee Miller. Whether she’s demanding her shoe be kissed or killing a caged bird (symbolism alert!), Sienna breathes fire into a complex, crazy seductress who makes Hedda Gabler look like Hedda Lettuce. Not that it’s a competition, but her Julie would probably eat Jude’s Hamlet for lunch.
“It’s a little dated,” whined one snooty show queen to another at intermission of Finian’s Rainbow, which opened October 29 at Broadway’s St. James Theatre. Well, duh, Mary. It’s a 1947 musical about Irish immigrants, a hidden pot o’ gold, and a racist senator who gets turned black by leprechaun magic. Of course it’s dated! This fully staged version of the New York’s recent City Center Encores! production is also as corny as Kansas in August (to quote another ’40s musical) and features one of the hokiest love stories ever staged. But as star Cheyenne Jackson recently told Advocate.com, “It’s actually incredibly current, and it’s crazy how much stuff in the show we’re still dealing with.” True dat. Plus the music is gorgeous, Cheyenne’s smokin’ hot, and the show’s poster design looks like an Irish gay pride parade float.