By Robert Simonson
25 Apr 2014
Photo by Johan Persson
The least ballyhooed of the week's openings, Eric Coble's new family drama The Velocity of Autumn, starring Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella, opened at the Booth Theatre April 21. Molly Smith, who directed the play — about Alexandra, a 79-year-old artist in a violent showdown with her family over where she'll spend her remaining years — at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., also helmed the Broadway production.
In general, the critics liked the performers far more than the play, which they found formulaic and cliched. The main question was whether they thought the performances made the production worthwhile or not. The Times thought they did: "While the conversation occasionally strays into unprofitable byways, the play passes by breezily because Ms. Parsons is such fun to watch." AP agreed, saying, "Both of these pros imbue their characters with genuine poignancy, rueful humor and their own adept timing. Molly Smith's deft direction also creates a sense of urgency during the 90-minute showdown about a seeming no-win situation."
The Broadway premiere of the John Cameron Mitchell-Stephen Trask rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, starring TV star and frequent Tony Awards host Neil Patrick Harris, was arguably the most anticipated opening of the week, owing to the verve and unorthodox un-Broadway vibe of the piece and the likability of its star. It was unveiled on Broadway April 22 at the Belasco Theatre.Continued...