18 June 2009

Theater Review: August: Osage County

I finally got around last night, to seeing potentially the only straight (i. e., non-musical) play on Broadway that I had any real desire to see: August: Osage County, winner of the 2008 Tony Award for Best Play and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; and, indeed, I do think it was worth the wait. Phylicia Rashad, who took over the leading role of Matriarch after Tony-Award-winner Deanna Dunagan vacated in the Spring, was wonderful and truly the ensemble cast was fantastic as a whole, with maybe one or two exceptions from the minor players. Nevertheless, I found the show to be intense, engaging, and lingeringly contemplative, even if it takes brusque strokes to arrive at its topics of contemplation. Yes, in almost every way, I have to say, the play was (in terms of quality and measure) exactly the theatrical equivalent of P. T. Anderson's filmic Magnolia (1999). Even in its primary source of stagnation (i. e., its crumbling and increasingly exorbitant third act), it was the same; and so, while a shortcoming is still a shortcoming, such an evident comparison in my mind is a good thing. I'd highly recommend your venturing into Manhattan, whenever you have the free night - or early afternoon on matinee days, to see it before comes that inevitable day when it closes on Broadway. Tickets are currently half-off (and pretty great seating-wise) at the TKTS booths in Times Square, South Street Seaport, and downtown Brooklyn.

See Whoopi Goldberg summarize the play, along with its fellow competitors for the Best-Play--Tony-Award, during this clip from the 2008 telecast of the 62nd Annual Tony Awards.


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