In a rare treat for Off Broadway audiences, the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave is playing a Polish septuagenarian opposite Jesse Eisenberg in Eisenberg’s own play The Revisionist. I can’t imagine the last time the Oscar- and Tony-award-winning actress has played in a venue as small as the 179-seat Cherry Lane Theatre. But The Revisionist isn’t the only starry premiere on the boards this week; here’s a roundup of notable openings (click links for the full review).
The Revisionist Vanessa Redgrave displays “a well-wrought accent and hard-earned professional brio” in Jesse Eisenberg’s new drama about a young American writer visiting a distant Polish cousin, I write. But Eisenberg, who also stars, “ends his play far too abruptly, with a surprise decision that feels forced and implausible.” EW grade: B
The Madrid Edie Falco, as a kindergarten teacher who abandons her job as well as her family without so much as a note of explanation, “instantly elevates what could be just another wayward-character drama into something that feels moored in a great performance,” writes Tanner Stransky. EW grade: B–
Passion The Classic Stage Company mounts a “beautifully bleak revival” of Stephen Sondheim’s gloomy 1994 musical about a young soldier torn between two impossible loves, writes Melissa Rose Bernardo. As the soldier, Ryan Silverman gives “a where-did-he-come-from performance.” But as the supposedly wretched-looking Fosca, Judy Kuhn “could use a make-under.” EW grade: B
The Wild Bride Writer-director Emma Rice incorporates music, dance, pantomime, puppetry, slapstick, and some ingenious stagecraft to tell a simple but moving fable. I find the new work from the Cornwall, England-based theater troupe Kneehigh an “absolute delight.” EW grade: A–
The Dance and the Railroad In a revival of David Henry Hwang’s 1981 play about two Chinese immigrants working on the Transcontinental Railroad who connect through dance and a shared interest in Cantonese opera, stars Yuekun Wu Ruy Iskandar perform with “enviable grace and ease,” writes Melissa Rose Bernardo. EW grade: B+
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