PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 2-9: First Date Opens on Broadway, Harbor Docks at 59E59 and Pal Joey Makes a Friend at Arkansas Rep

By Robert Simonson
09 Aug 2013

And Time Out New York praised the show by lowering the critical bar, writing, "If ever there were the platonic ideal of a Broadway summer engagement, this is it: no serious competition, low expectations, emerging talent."


Randy Harrison and Paul Anthony Stewart
photo by Carol Rosegg

In the week's major Off-Broadway opening, Randy Harrison, Erin Cummings, Paul Anthony Stewart and Alexis Molnar opened in Primary Stages' Off-Broadway premiere of Chad Beguelin's Harbor, which officially opened Aug. 6 after previews that began July 23 at 59E59 Theaters.

Harbor, which premiered at the Westport Country Playhouse last August, is staged by Westport artistic director Mark Lamos. It will continue through Sept. 8. Beguelin is best known for his musical work; he was the lyricist of Elf and The Wedding Singer.

The play tells of what happens when 15-year-old Lottie and her ne'er-do-well mother Donna drop in unannounced on the beautiful Sag Harbor home of Donna's brother and his new husband.

Reviews were mixed. "Despite its ultimately serious concerns," wrote Time Out New York, "most of the play unfolds at a B-sitcom level, salted with familiar gays-have-fussy-taste jokes and crassly sardonic one-liners."

"The nagging issue is that the dialogue seldom sounds like characters talking," wrote the Daily News, "but like a writer's words spilling out of their mouths." The New York Post was more encouraging, saying, "When Harbor stops trying to be Noel Coward in the Hamptons, it offers a flawed but interesting look at what it means to make tough decisions. By the end, the show has almost grown up, too."


A couple weeks ago, when I reported on the premiere of Because of Winn Dixie, the new musical by Duncan Sheik and Nell Benjamin that will premiere in December, I thought that would be the last time I would mention Arkansas Repertory Theatre in this column.

Not so.