PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Dec. 8-14: Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari Are Broadway Bosom Buddies

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14 Dec 2012

Al Pacino
Al Pacino
Photo by Scott Landis

It took as long as Nick and Nora to open, but the Al Pacino revival of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross finally pulled back the curtain at the Schoenfeld Theatre and let the critics take a look.

Glengarry, directed by Dan Sullivan, began previews on Oct. 19, when kids were still deciding on their Halloween costumes and there was still a possibility that Mitt Romney might be our next President. It had originally been scheduled to open Nov. 11, but was delayed by several weeks to account for canceled rehearsals "as a result of Hurricane Sandy," according to producers. But some strange calculus, a storm that shut down Broadway for a couple days pushed the opening of Glengarry back a month. Go figure.

But it did finally open. And reactions were mixed. The New York Times found the production's tone on the defeated side, and too much about Pacino's grandstanding, but low-energy performance. "The production's strange combination of comic shtick and existential weariness makes it feel rather like a long-running sitcom being filmed before a live audience that knows its characters' signature tics and flourishes by heart."

The Daily News states, "It's a powerful play. But the new Broadway production just gives you a nudge… A lot of that has to do with Al Pacino, the star of the show… as Shelly Levene, a dinosaur who can't close a deal, Pacino seems small and insignificant… As the result, the play simmers when it wants to boil."

Others were more than satisfied with Pacino's work. "Al Pacino, as Shelly (The Machine) Levene, stands out as one of the best messengers of Mamet's gorgeous, vicious music," said The New Yorker. The Post, in its typically pithy way, encapsulated the situation by saying, "So it's all about Pacino, and guess what? He's good. Not awesomely, life-changingly good. Just good."

No bother. The show's selling like hotcakes, and will continue to until it closes in January.


Shia LaBeouf

In what is surely the biggest piece of teen heartthrob news to hit Broadway since Daniel Radcliffe signed on for Equus, it was announced that Shia LaBeouf—known to successfully fight Soviet agents and Decepticons on the big screen—will star alongside Alec Baldwin in the Broadway bow of Lyle Kessler's Orphans. (I personally would consider Baldwin a more formidable foe than Megatron.)

Directed by Daniel Sullivan—who is working with his share of Mametian actors this season—the production will begin previews March 19, 2013, at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Opening is April 7.

LaBeouf will play the oldest of two orphaned brothers who are living in a decrepit North Philadelphia row house, and kidnap a rich older man, Harold (Baldwin), who turns out to be a mobster. Casting for the role of Phillip will be announced later.


In more casting news, George Wendt of "Cheers" fame will get to play a bartender, not a barfly, in his next project. He will portray drink slinger Joe Bell in the new Richard Greenberg adaptation of Truman Capote's novella Breakfast at Tiffany's. Bell is a character that didn't appear in the famous Audrey Hepburn film of the book, but plays a significant role in the original story.

Also cast was Cory Michael Smith in the difficult-to-fill role of narrator Fred, a character based somewhat on Capote himself. It is through Fred's eyes that we learn the story of happy-sad New York party girl Holly Golightly. The role was played by George Peppard in the 1961 movie. As previously announced, Emilia Clarke will embody Holly.


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