Thursday, June 08, 2006

Cynthia Nixon Lands Prime Role

Cynthia Nixon Lands Prime Role

Just days before Cynthia Nixon is expected to go home from the Tonys with award in hand for her work Rabbit Hole comes word from The New Group that it will start its season in September with the thespian taking the lead role in its revival of of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Helmed by Scott Elliott, whose productions seem to be virtually everywhere on and Off-Broadway, the play could give Nixon a role worth checking out.

Back in the heady days after 9/11, I made tracks to the American Airlines Theatre to see Nixon and a cadre of amazing female actresses tackle a revival of Clare Boothe Luce’s The Women. It was a much needed salve for aching souls in New York City. Up to that point, I had only infrequently seen Nixon as Miranda Hobbs on television’s “Sex And The City.” Having few preconceived notion of her acting capabilities, I thought she worked magic in the leading role of the forlorn, cheated Mary Haines opposite Kristen Johnston’s Sylvia Fowler. Quite frankly, I was irked that neither of these actresses were Tony nominated for the show.

Fast forward to earlier this year. By 2006, I had somehow managed to watch every single episode of “Sex And The City” -- it was one of the best places on television to catching New York/Broadway talent short of “Law And Order” -- and the image of Miranda became indelibly stamped on my mind. When I took in Rabbit Hole, largely to see her and Tyne Daly, I was struck by how much Nixon’s portrayal of Becca just seemed like only an extension of Miranda, as if she was mourning little Brady.

Instead, what I had hoped to see was a dramatic departure from her, yet all I saw was Miranda. Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed the character of Miranda on the tiny screen, but I expected so much more from Nixon on Broadway. Admittedly, I only saw this play in previews, so it’s entirely possible that by the time opening night arrived, Nixon had finally found the soul of Becca rather than providing a mere Miranda redux. I just never saw it and believe her performance was vastly overrated.

I know Cynthia Nixon is a fine actress, who has shown tremendous range playing everything from teenager Sunshine in “Little Darlings” (her first Silver Screen movie in 1980) to Eleanor Roosevelt in last year's "Warm Springs," a role for which she received an Emmy nomination. So it’s with great hope and anticipation that when I visit The New Group’s stage this fall, I’ll once again be wowed by Nixon as she tackles a role that has previously been played to great acclaim by everyone from Maggie Smith to Vanessa Redgrave.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for ticket information.


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