Navigating Your Way Through…. The Little Foxes

Manhattan Theatre Club’s presentation of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes succeeds in stressing the domestic issues within a complex family dynamic in Alabama during the early 1900s. Cynthia Nixon is ruthless, icy and fierce, and successfully conveys the idea of seeking justice, and battling sexist viewpoints and judgements throughout her portrayal. Although one may view her character as a vile for letting her husband die, it was crucial to exhibit Regina’s lack of empathy and detachment from any morals – in order to illuminate her desire for change: no longer be silenced, dominated and manipulated by any male. It is strongly suggested that Regina knew how her life potentially turned out – if she stayed married – like Birdie’s. This was her only salvation.

Laura Linney played the silenced, dominated and submissive Birdie. Her character’s dialogue was staccato like, and the lack of voice was clearly noted, highlighting the position women held in society during the 1900s. Brutal scenes of her husband Oscar abusing verbally  were included, in addition to a glimpse of the physical abuse. The scene of her sitting silently on a chair on the corner of the stage was poignant, in addition to her drinking addiction-  all highlight her impulse to escape, simultaneously highlighting her inability to do so.

With strong and intense performances from the rest of the supporting cast, this play is more applicable to today than to when it was originally produced. Congratulations to the cast and company for winning 3 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Actress in a Play (Linney), Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play (Nixon) and Outstanding Costume Design (Jane Greenwood). Congratulations to Cynthia Nixon on her second Tony Award, for her performance in The Little Foxes.
The Little Foxes is currently playing at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. I entered the TodayTix Rush sale at 10:00AM the day of the performance, and got $30 tickets, for the front row of the mezzanine, which was great value.

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Navigating Your Way Through …. Groundhog Day

As one might expect, with all the hype about the new, 7 Tony Award nominated musical , which just won an Olivier Award for Best Musical, I was expecting excellence from the new Tim Minchin show.  However, from the commencement of the show, after the poorly composed opening number, I was genuinely disappointed throughout Saturday’s performance of Groundhog Day. The music was childish, annoying and simplistic. This is quite surprising when comparing the score to Matilda, whose lyrics seemed to be wittier. The jokes were not funny, and I do not recall laughing throughout this production.

The show primarily focuses on the protagonist, his issues, and the fact that he relives Groundhog Day, February 2nd, continuously. Thus, the structure of the show is repetitive. If the music was enjoyable, and the cast members were presented in more elegance, it may have been somewhat more enjoyable listening to the same words on a continuous basis, however this was not the case. The songs, dialogue and costumes all lack any sense of thrill, excitement and originality.  The humor was inane , which made me question what audience the production is tending to gravitate towards. Regardless, it did not resonate with me on any level.

Andy Karl delivered the role of the arrogant weather reporter in an expected manner, and I have been very fond of his career path. Not many standouts in this performance.

The only idea which resonated with me, was the notion of existentialism, which was conveyed throughout the plot, and dialogue. Karl successfully explored this idea throughout, with his internal conflicts and frustration. The scenery was simplistic, but it seemed to work. The idea of the revolving platform and stage, was used as a device to enhance the theme of existentialism, which was a clever touch by the set designers and director.

To get cheap seats, visit the box office, at the August Wilson Theater on 52nd street. I managed to get $39 tickets, for the very back of the mezzanine, however, asked the usher if it was possible to move downstairs, and was relocated to the rear stalls.

Navigating Your Way Through … WAR!(Paint)

War Paint – May 28th – 3PM18699785_1785166684833844_4843699022301766710_n

Not knowing much about War Paint before seeing the show, I was genuinely intrigued by the the story-line focusing on two strong, independent women, in the 1930’s-1960’s in New York City. The costumes, sets and music were fabulous, and LuPone’s portrayal of Helena Rubinstein was superb, delivered through her distinctive Polish accent, mannerisms and Jewish humor. Ebersole’s depiction of Elizabeth Arden, displays her as rather flawless and ethereal – a character with more initial structure in contrast to Rubenstein. However, she still manages to convey the magnitude of the issues women faced within society at that time, which is poignant.

As displayed by the “Arden Girl” characters; it was common for women to have jobs, however, it was the careers these two women (Arden and Rubinstein) had back then which was unusual, oftentimes questioned even disapproved upon by amongst society. This is primarily demonstrated by Arden’s denial to the Mayfair Club, Rubenstein’s conflicts due to her Jewish heritage, and the common disputes between the two women, Tommy Lewis and Henry Fleming.

The show isn’t necessarily essentially about the competition between Arden and Rubinstein, but instead, it uses these two women as a device to highlight the struggles and difficulties many women would encounter throughout the 20th century, to ultimately display a social commentary. This notion is only illuminated by using Arden and Rubinstein, two successful and dominant women, displaying the fact that even they encountered issues due to their gender. The reason why this show resonated with me, is that this theme, sadly, still remains applicable within today’s society in the 21st century, with women oftentimes being silenced by society, due to not conforming in the exact way as expected. War Paint emphasizes the success of these two women , and demonstrates the impact they made in the world of beauty, helping celebrate, highlight and appreciate the women of their time.

War Paint is currently playing at the Nederlander Theatre on 41st street. Grab a bargain like I did, and arrive two hours before the show, and request a RUSH seat for $40, instead of paying insane prices.