Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Broadway Preview: The Seagull

Broadway Preview: The Seagull

More than a year after its Olivier Award-winning run at London's Royal Court Theatre, Ian Rickson's revival of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull will play Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre. The 14-week limited run production will open October 2 after beginning previews on September 16.

With fresh translation by Christopher Hampton, The Seagull will star Kristin Scott Thomas (pictured) opposite Peter Sarsgaard (who replaces Chiwetel Ejiofor, left, from the London production). Both will be making their Broadway debuts, but it should be duly noted that the Academy Award-nominated actress earned an Olivier Award for her turn as Arkadina.

Mackenzie Crook (pictured right) will reprise his turn as Constantin. I first became familiar with Crook for his hysterically funny portrayal of Gareth Keenan in the original British version of "The Office," but American audiences may know him best for his work as Ragetti in "The Pirates Of The Caribbean" trilogy. In addition to his television and film credits, Crook has been busy burnishing some impressive theatrical credentials across the pond.

While much of the London revival's original cast will transfer to the Great White Way, one notable American actress has been announced: Zoe Kazan as Masha.

The Seagull has been performed on Broadway's boards a total of seven times (eight if you count 2004's Drowning Crow). The first production came in 1916. A 1938 revival featured Rialto royalty Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt, along with Sydney Greenstreet and Uta Hagen. A 1992-93 revival was star-studded with Tyne Daly opposite Jon Voight, along with Danny Burstein, Ethan Hawke, Laura Linney and Tony Roberts.

If this revival lives up to its advance acclaimed billing, expect critics to go gaga for the production. But I'm reminded that in calling the London incarnation "turgid, painfully languid," the reliable West End Whingers have said "The characters (in) The Seagull are so self-pitying or self-absorbed that it really is funny."

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
Broadway Preview: Equus (June 30, 2008)
Broadway Preview: A Tale Of Two Cities (June 28, 2008)
Broadway Preview: for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf (June 25, 2008)
Broadway Preview: [title of show] (June 24, 2008)
Broadway: What's Next (June 20, 2008)

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At 01 July, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Steve, you had me excited there for a minute when I saw that picture! I've enjoyed Chiwetel Ejiofor's performances in a couple of movies and I'd love to see him on stage. Oh well, hopefully he'll be on Broadway soon.

I read the Whingers' review. I do like Kristin Scott Thomas and Peter Sarsgaard, but I'm not a big fan of Russian literature. I had to slog my way through The Brothers Karamazov in high school, which I think ruined it for me.

And frankly, after being disappointed by Rock 'n' Roll and underwhelmed by Frost/Nixon, I'm proceeding cautiously about the next highly touted British import. (Although I do love The 39 Steps!)

Thanks for the background. I had no idea that Sidney Greenstreet had been on Broadway, or Jon Voight!

At 01 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, I know what you mean about Russian literature. It all depends on the director's vision.

I'm most intrigued by the opportunity to see Crook on stage.

At 01 July, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Oh wow, I guess I read over that paragraph a little too quickly, and I didn't recognize Mackenzie Crook as Gareth from the picture. I absolutely loved the British version of The Office! You're right, that is intriguing.

At 01 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

I have a confession. I just added that paragraph in!

At 01 July, 2008, Blogger StephenMosher said...

my dear friend!

i think it is so funny that you wrote to me today! i was on the plane to dallas thinking "i haven't visite sob's page lately. i must do that and leave a message" and when i got to my parent's house there was a message from you!

how lovely that we are in sync!

hope all is well, and i send all my love and affection!


At 01 July, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why the Seagull is getting yet another NY performance. Just last year NY saw an off-Broadway production with Dianne Wiest and Alan Cummings as well as the touring RSC production. Enough already!

At 01 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Ste, Great to hear from you! More to come off-line.

At 01 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

BB, Looks like British production + Olivier Award + well-known stars = Broadway berth. And while BAM is an excellent place to see great theatre, the audiences visiting Broadway can often be a different breed.

At 24 September, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

heard great things about the london show and could not wait to see the production in NYC. Sorely disappointed. saw it last night in preview. pater sarsgaard is horrible. he murders the play. his ambivalence as trigorin kills the character as written and pulls down the entire production. i wouldn't see it again if i was paid to do so.

At 24 September, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Anonymous, Thanks for sharing your assessment of the play.

I'll be seeing the show in the days ahead, so your assessment sent a chill down my spine. I'm only hoping that what I see is better!

At 30 September, 2008, Blogger Unknown said...

I saw the show on Sunday night, and I was also very disappointed. Kristin Scott Thomas overacts as does the actress who plays Nina in an overwrought manner. The only moving and credible actor is Mackenzie Crook as Konstantin--who makes the character very sympathetic in spite of his use of a monotonous voice. There is no chemistry between the cast members. It's all so shallow. It's hard to care about the characters. Skip it.

At 03 October, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the production with high expectations last night, but was disappointed. I did love Kristin Scott Thomas and I thought Peter Sarsgaard was quite good though there was no chemistry between him and Kristin Scott Thomas nor between him and Carey Mulligan.

The biggest disappointment for me was Mackenzie Crook, who close to ruined the play for me. He was extremely flat in his voice, kept the same monotonous tone throughout and played a quite general and stereotypical version of a bitter, angry writer, without complexity, believable talent or even passion. The monologue in the 4th act, when he's writing in the study before Nina enters, was particularly uninteresting.

The set was beautiful and the transitions really great. Yet, the play did not lead up to my expectations!


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