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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  LATEST NEW YORK NEWS

 
COUNTRY GIRL
at Bernard B. Jacobs Theater (Broadway)

THE MOURNING AFTER
By David Lefkowitz
Published April 28 2008

  Frances McDormand

Though Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams are the 1950s playwrights by far most frequently revived on Broadway, occasionally their compatriots get a shot, too. In fact, although this season boasts neither a Miller nor Williams work, William Inge's Come Back Little She enjoyed a limited run this winter, and now, Clifford Odets' The Country Girl has opened at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater.

More traditional than his politically charged Waiting for Lefty and Awake and Sing, The Country Girl is a relationship drama, wherein Frank Elgin, a washed-up, alcoholic actor given a second chance, lies and charms his way around everyone - except the wife who tolerates and forgives him.

Making his first Broadway appearance in 20 years (since The Gospel at Colonus), Morgan Freeman stars, with Fargo's Frances McDormand also returning to the stage after a two-decade break. (Her last Broadway assignment? Playing Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire by, well, you know.)

Paul Kelly and Uta Hagen starred as Frank and Georgie in the 1950 Broadway premiere of The Country Girl, with Hagen winning a Best Actress Tony for her performance. The drama was also revived in 1972 with Jason Robards and Maureen Stapleton featured in a John Houseman-directed mounting. On film, Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly headed the acclaimed 1954 film version, while Dick Van Dyke and Faye Dunaway appeared in a 1982 television staging.

The current Broadway cast also features the O C's Peter Gallagher , Falsettos' Chip Zien, Remy Auberjonois and Anna Camp. Directing is Spamalot and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? wunderkind,Mike Nichols,, who's been hammered in the press (i.e., the New York Post) for cutting the play and under-rehearsing the cast during previews (which began April 3), and then pressured to set things right by opening night. Much like Frank Elgin, whether he's held it together or lost it will only be known the morning after.

 


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