This year’s Tony nominees for Best Revival of a Play are mostly familiar to New York audiences. Three have been seen on Broadway before, and one has been produced Off-Broadway on two separate occasions. But their directors have staged these works with new insights.
The Cripple of Inishmaan
Martin McDonagh’s darkly funny play has been previously seen Off-Broadway in two separate stagings. In its Broadway debut, a transfer of Michael Grandage’s London production, an all-British cast headed by Daniel Radcliffe vivify the slightly loony inhabitants of a remote 1930s Irish island where the most exciting pastimes are looking at cows, talking to rocks and throwing eggs at each other. Radcliffe is stunning as the title character, a handicapped loner who schemes to leave his home when a Hollywood film crew visits a nearby isle.
The Glass Menagerie
This was the seventh Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’s beloved 1944 drama. There have also been numerous stagings Off-Broadway, in film and on TV. Yet director John Tiffany showed us the dysfunctional Wingfield family in a whole light light. Employing imaginative movement, Bob Crowley’s abstract set, and Natasha Katz’s poetic lighting, Tiffany creates a dreamscape of memory where the faded Southern belle Amanda attempts to wake up her children, the painfully shy Laura and the restless Tom.
A Raisin in the Sun
Director Kenny Leon also staged 2004 revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 drama of an African-American family struggling against racism. But he has found new energy and relevance in the story of the Youngers and their attempt to escape their Chicago tenement. Denzel Washington is explosive as the eldest son Walter Lee, frustrated by his menial job as a chauffeur and his mother’s dominance. Each of the members of the family has plans for an expected insurance check and how they overcome and unexpected loss speaks to their strength.
This authentically 16th-century staging by Shakespeare’s Globe, presented in repertory with Richard III, was one of the highlights of the Broadway season. From the moment the audience entered the Belasco Theater to see the all-male cast donning their period costumes and make-up, the audience was enveloped in a richly-detailed recreation of the Bard’s world. Accompanied by instruments of the time and directed with precision by Tim Carroll, the brilliant cast launched into the zany romp of crossing-dressing, mistaken identities, and thwarted love as the maiden Viola disguised herself as a male page and her twin brother Sebastian unexpectedly appeared.