Those rose-colored "glasses" being worn in the poster for the upcoming Broadway revival of Mrs. Warren's Profession not only work in terms of how the title character's daughter initially views her mother, but also how I'm at least momentarily viewing Roundabout Theatre Company.
Not only are they bringing my personal favorite show I saw anywhere last year to Broadway, but they're also responsible for enticing Cherry Jones back to the Great White Way.
As the titular character in Mrs. Warren's Profession, Jones finally makes her overdue return to Broadway in Doug Hughes' revival of the George Bernard Shaw work. The play centers on the lengths one mother goes toward keep her daughter comfortable, including one well-kept secret. Roundabout describes the play as follows:
Tony Award winner Cherry Jones returns to Broadway in George Bernard Shaw’s scorching tour de force! Mrs. Warren’s Profession tells the story of Kitty Warren, a mother who makes a terrible sacrifice for her daughter Vivie’s independence. The clash of these two strong-willed but culturally constrained women is the spark that ignites the ironic wit of one of Shaw's greatest plays.Jones will be joined by Sally Hawkins as her daughter Vivie, Edward Hibbert as Mr. Praed, Adam Driver as Frank Gardner, Mark Harelik as Sir George Crofts and Michael Siberry as the Reverend Samuel Gardner.
Hughes' revival marks the sixth time Mrs. Warren's Profession has been mounted on Broadway.
Written in 1893, it wasn't until 1905 that the play was first produced on the Great White Way. Due to its highly controversial subject matter (at the time), it was essentially shut down after just one performance when the cast and crew were arrested by the police. The play was revived in 1907 for 25 performances, then again briefly in 1918 and once more for another 25 performances in 1922. Actress Mary Shaw starred as Kitty Warren for each of those four earliest incarnations.
Then, the play lay dormant, at least on the Great White Way, for over fifty more years before it was revived at Lincoln Center in 1976. Gerald Freedman directed a stellar cast, including Ruth Gordon as Kitty, Lynn Redgrave as Vivie, Edward Herrmann as Frank, Philip Bosco as George and Milo O'Shea as the Reverend. While the revival would only play 55 regular performances, it earned Tony nominations for both Herrmann and Redgrave (Herrmann would win for Best Featured Actor).
My only previous experience with this work was back in 2003 at the Guthrie in Minneapolis. Fortunately, I was well-armed with their excellent study guide, which I strongly recommend reading only after you see the performance. It certainly increased my understanding of and overall enjoyment for what was once a truly groundbreaking work.
Previews for Mrs. Warren's Profession begin at the American Airlines Theatre on September 3, with opening night slated for one month later on October 3. The brief run is slated to conclude on November 28, 2010.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
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