Saturday, March 11, 2017
You Have GOT To Be Kidding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When I first heard "The Glass Menagerie" was to be revived on Broadway, again, I was simply incredulous. John Tiffany, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Company had gotten it SO right, back in 2013, that it was the best presentation this play has had since the 1945 original production. Hence, it is definitive for this time.
To revive it again is an act of arrogance and desecration that arouses my incredulity.
Now, keep it in mind that I have not seen it. Nor do I intend to. One look at this photo will yield several clues as to why.
What the hell is Sally Field wearing? Some frou-frou over aged prom thing she found in a costume vault, going back to her "Gidget" days?????? That's exactly what it looks like. And what's with dressing Laura in some sleeveless paisley thing, with black leggings suggesting some Goth gal emerging from an East Village pub crawl? What hell is Sam Gold (who did such a masterly job with "Fun Home") perpetrating on Tennessee Williams??????????????
Get this, Madison Ferris, whom I am sure is a competent actress, is making her Broadway debut as Laura. Leaving aside Celia Keenan-Bolger's lifetime ownership of the role, for a moment, recall, if you will, that Laura's being crippled was always couched in poetic ambiguity. Well, forget poetry; it has been done away with here, but what is worse, Gold gilds the lily with Laura by casting an actress who is actually handicapped, and plays Laura from a wheelchair!!!!!!!!!! Miss Ferris suffers from muscular dystrophy. I give her credit for forging an acting career; I am not blaming her handicap for her performance. I am all for the handicapped pursuing their goals, whether on Broadway, or in theater groups tailored to such specifics--and they are out there. Miss Ferris is not to be blamed, but Mr. Gold is. Those of us, such as I, who know and understand Laura, realize the director is creating an agenda that never existed in Tennessee Williams. There is nothing wrong with pushing the envelope on a text--the New York Theatre Workshop's "The Little Foxes," with Elizabeth Marvel did a superb job of that--as long as the intent of that text is preserved.
Gold her massacres it.
Now, we come to the piece de resistance. When I read Joe Mantello was going to play Tom, I said--what?????????? First, like Celia, Zachary Quinto has defined Tom for our time, but, face it, Mantello, in his Fifties, and looking it, is woefully miscast. He looks older than Sally Field, from the photos I have seen. He is supposed to be a trapped young man, champing at his family's psychological bit, wanting to break free from his present life, to one more suited to him, one that involves more than temporary respite at the movies. Mantello is so ancient and withered looking, how can he have any kind of believability? When the play starts, we know Tom has left home, and joined the Merchant Marine. Who would take someone as ancient as Mantello's Tom????????? I mean, come on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Joey, doll, you are a good actor, but the time for doing this was around the time after you played Louis in "Angels In America," now almost twenty-five years ago. As for all this talk about exploring Tom's gay identity, offering up a Tired Old Queen is not what it is about. Besides, Mr. Quinto, the best Tom I have seen, got there first.
Anyone having seen the perfect 2013 production would not be satisfied with this "Glass Menagerie." Nor should it have been revived so soon.
Instead, how about a musical of "This Property Is Condemned," entitled "Wish Me A Rainbow!," using the song from the 1966 Natalie Wood film??????????
One more thing. That wonderful actor, Finn Wittrock is the only one whose character has not been deconstructed. I wonder why there was no interest there? At least, Laura shows she has that potential for happiness, before reality, and her mother's crushing co-dependence--yes, dears, Amanda uses her children to ward off fear of loneliness and abandonment--irrevocably dampens it. For the unaware, who I am certain would not get the point from this production, the title is a metaphor--all are trapped in this apartment like animals in a menagerie.
Don't forget to set your clocks ahead before bedtime, girls. As for Sam, Sally (she just got lucky in her over reaching as an actress; her career should have stopped after "The Flying Nun!!!!!!!!!!!") and Company--quit while you are ahead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!