spirited evening

I’ve seen many good plays but occasionally you get that rare night when every actor is firing on all cylinders and the material is strong and it’s being performed in a proper old theater.

CB I saw Nöel Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Shubert Theater. The dialog was fast and clever and it was flying out of the mouths of some of the most accomplished actors in town. The show is in its infancy, just having opened a few days ago, and some lines of dialog were stepped on and dropped but it was a fun evening, regardless.

As good as the play is, that’s how bad the ad campaign is. Take a look at this ugly illustration. It makes me not want to see the play.

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British theatrical treasure Angela Lansbury played a crazy old medium and Rupert Everett was the spirit-tormented husband. Everett was the big surprise. We thought he was going to be the weak link in the chain but he was terrific.

I like Nöel Coward’s England. His is the England where the sun never set on the Empire and every problem was solved with another round of dry martins. Money was never an issue. P.G. Woodhouse is like that. So is Woody Allen. Money isn’t part of the plot. It’s just there in abundance.

The Shubert is one of New York’s classic original theaters. It was was built in 1913. In the 1930s you could have seen Fred Astaire in Gay Divorce or Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story. In the 40s you could have seen Paul Robeson, Jose Ferrer and Uta Hagen in a legendary production of Othello. There’s lot of history on them boards.

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