Roundabout Round-Up: 2008-2009 Season

Roundabout Theatre

We’ve been Roundabout subscribers for many years. Our tickets for the 2009-2010 are in hand, and we’ve seen the first play of the new season – After Miss Julie, which I’ll talk about in a future post. For now, a short summary of the 2008-2009 season.

The major musical revival was Pal Joey. I’d never seen it staged before, and I don’t recall ever seeing the movie. While certainly not anything near the blockbuster level of some previous Roundabout musicals (1776, Cabaret, and Pajama Game immediately spring to mind), I found Pal Joey very entertaining. Newcomer Michael Risch – who took over when Christopher Hoff left the show — was fine as Joey. For me, the highlight of the show was Stockard Channing’s exposition of what is one of the show’s two most famous song, “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered.”

Many other famous names strutted across the Roundabout’s three stages.

Frank Langella gave an outstanding, absorbing performance as Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, richly deserving his Tony nomination.

Matthew Broderick’s performance in The Philanthropist was criticized by some as being anemic. I think he correctly captured the wishy-washy nature of the character he wa portraying. And the play ended with a nice twist.

Cynthia Nixon gave a perky performance in Distracted, a comedy about parents trying to cope with a son who has ADD.

I’ve seen quite a few Hedda Gablers over the years. May Louise Parker’s portrayal was controversial but, nonetheless, interesting.

Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin acted their hearts out as Estragon and Vladimir. But to be blunt, I would just as soon they’d waited for Godot without me! I hate the play! In my opinion, it’s a 15-minute skit stretched to two hours of utter boredom. Have I mentioned that I hate the play?!

I’d never heard of Streamers, a revival David Rabe’s play written in the 1970’s. It takes place in an army barracks during the Viet Nam war, and involves the issues of racism and homosexuality which culminate in shocking brutality. Though there were no famous names in the cast, the acting was fine. One major problem: the last scene went on much too long.

The final show of the season was Tin Pan Alley Rag. I wasn’t expecting much. Turns out, I loved it. It was my favorite show of the season. Yeah, it was kind of hokey. But I’m a sucker for Irving Berlin’s music.


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