Monday, April 30, 2007


Hap Erstein from the Palm Beach Post speaks of the rapturous standing ovation at the marathon he attended, and more:

[...] Standing ovations have become distressingly commonplace in the theater, devaluing their meaning, but after spending eight-and-a-half hours with pamphleteer Alexander Herzen, novelist-poet Ivan Turgenev, revolutionary hothead Michael Bakunin and Communist Manifesto writer Karl Marx, the sold-out Lincoln Center audience rose as one, in awe of the cast - which included the likes of Ethan Hawke, Billy Crudup, Amy Irving, Martha Plimpton and Tony winners Brian O’Byrne and Jennifer Ehle.

During the curtain call, someone had the good sense and chutzpah to yell out “Author!,” something you hear about, but I really can’t recall ever seeing done. Sure enough, the shaggy-headed Stoppard had been lurking about the theater all day and he came out onstage to the crowd’s delight.

The Coast of Utopia is the sort of play that you want to read and study to learn how much you missed in performance, so that is probably a failing, but it is breathtaking in its overload of ideas and wit. No matter what I see the rest of this week, there will surely be nothing to compare to it. [...]
Annie shares her marathon trick: caffeine. She also notes the "author" call:
[...] Before posting my comments, I have to say that Mr. Stoppard was in attendance at the shows. Word got around the audience, and after the curtain call (the company only does one at the very end on marathon days,) someone shouted 'author!' and the entire audience burst into applause once again. He had ducked out of the house, but the thunderous clapping was hopefully going to bring him back for acknowlegement... it went on and on, and no Tom. Suddenly, the focus shifted back to the stage, where some of the company had trickled back, and Mr. Stoppard and the director, Jack O'Brien, entered from the side of the house and took the stage. The impromptu recognition gave me chills - for, whatever one's opinion about the pieces, it is obvious that the work as a whole is a tremendously intense and brilliant undertaking. [...]
and I thought this praise of Billy Crudup was on the money:
[...] Mr. Crudup is always a joy to watch on stage, as he inhabits each character he portrays with individual humanity. As an actor, he raises the level of quality of those performing with him onstage. [...]
Jere of Jere-Rigged liveblogged from the same marathon - which he got rush tickets for! - during the breaks: lunch, dinner (he goes against the tide, preferring Voyage over Shipwreck) and post-show (he spotted actress Jane Krakowski in the audience).

At deliasherman's LJ, there's this on Voyage:
[...] The Coast of Utopia: Voyage doesn't threaten Arcadia's throne, but it shares some of the things I like best about it. It's intelligent (duh. It's Tom Stoppard); it has heart without being sentimental; parts of it are very funny at the same time they're harrowing; it demonstrates and makes comprehensible the glories and the horrors of intellectual passion.
I'll have to read the play to figure it all out, but the point was, last night, I didn't care. I was too busy mourning the death of the gently clueless Liubov, and the blindness (both moral and physical) of her father, who owned 500 souls yet called himself a liberal, and adoring the literary critic (Russian names skate right out of my mind--Vassarion, that was it) played by Billy Crudup as an earnest, passionate, clumsy, socially-challenged and still utterly charming and period-appropriate politics geek who, were he alive today, would have a huge and widely read political blog. [...]
And yet more love for Voyage and Billy Crudup from rm:
Amazing. More amazing than I was anticipating and in ways I didn't expect. The staging was both intelligent and innovative and really perfectly, perfectly executed -- certainly, I didn't expect the play to make me have directorial itchiness, but that was exactly what it provoked. Also, great use of music.

The performances were also astounding, with people in, what I thought, were somewhat unlikely roles. Or, perhaps I was just surprised by the nuance in the characters in a time and place and style of play that really could have easily chosen to forgone it and not received too much criticism for it. Billy Crudup plays this bumbling, unnattractive, nervous, lovesick, overwraught critic, and yet, we find out at the end of the play, he's the only guy getting laid, and suddenly we are aware of the character as more deeply human than than perhaps even his peers are. [...]
To the forums: some All That Chatter on marathon dining and similarities between Utopia's musical theme and a Hindemith concerto. At BroadwayWorld, nomdeplume is impressed by Billy Crudup and the production in Voyage, though finds the philosophy a bit much. Another poster shares his Tony predictions- there's much agreement that Utopia is a strong contender.

If reading Russian Thinkers, Romantic Exiles, My Past and Thoughts, etc etc wasn't enough for you, check out these further background reading recommendations from Ask Metafilter.

Keep an eye on the Ghostlight Records site, the company that is releasing the Coast of Utopia score. The CD isn't listed yet, but apparently they will ship free to the US. Thanks to Pinky for the tip.

Another date for your calendars is May 8th, when the 2007 Tonys site will be updated with new "Tony memories" daily from previous winners Jennifer Ehle, Richard Easton and Liev Schreiber amongst others, according to site manager Andrew McGibbon. Oh and the very last marathon ever is on this Saturday May 5th - don't miss out!

PS. She blogs! Ok not really. But cute.

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