London's prolific Ambassadors Theatre Group has announced that Love Song will make its West End debut this November 25. John Kolvenbach's romantic comedy, which enjoyed its world premiere earlier this year at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, ranked as my 7th favorite theatrical production of the 2006-06 Theatrical Season.
The new production will be helmed by John Crowley and star Neve Campbell (television's "Party of Five"), Kristen Johnston, Michael McKean (most recently in Broadway's The Pajama Game) and Cillian Murphy ("Batman Begins" and "Breakfast on Pluto"). Performances at London's New Ambassadors Theatre begin November 25 with an opening set for December 4.
Johnston's inclusion alone has me wistfully contemplating a U.K. visit -- I have had the pleasure of seeing this incredibly versatile actress on the stage three times: The Women (2001), Aunt Dan And Lemon (2003) and The Baltimore Waltz (2005). She's a truly underrated, captivating actress whom I go out of my way to see. In a word, she's breathtaking.
As for the play itself, here's a sampling of my critique of the show from this past May:
Though no song is ever sung, John Kolvenbach’s Love Song deserves to be heard and seen. In fact, it is in essence sweet music for the soul....Love Song centers around a troubled man in a dark retreat from the world. With delirious precision, Ian Barford plays Beane, whose lonely, depressed existence is punctuated only by his occasional visits with his devoted sister, Joan and her often contrarian husband Harry....Beane’s hapless life appears to take a momentous turn for the better when he meets and falls for Molly, a mystifying woman.
Suddenly, Beane exudes a spring-like buoyancy and emerges from his own personal darkness. Indeed, Beane’s fresh hunger for love and thirst for living initially alarm Joan and Harry. Yet despite their concern, they themselves catch Beane’s contagious love bug, surprising themselves with a newfound level of affection and intimacy of their own. Long Song provides other crucial twists and turns, but none of them are as touching or as honestly portrayed as the real love ultimately shared between Beane and his sister.
Kolvenbach’s expert writing leaves us with the hope that love, whether real or imagined, has the power to reinvigorate and illuminate life itself.
I'm hopeful British audiences will be equally touched by this outstanding play.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Click here for more information about the New Ambassadors Theatre.
Flashback: Best of 2004-05 (May 26, 2006)
Flashback: Best of 2001-02 (May 24, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #7 – Love Song (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL) (May 19, 2006)