Theater News Online
free issue
London Theatre Reviews
NY Theater Reviews
LTN Recommendations
NYTN Recommendations
Book Reviews
Movie Reviews
London Theatre Archives
NY Theater Archives
Latest New York News
Latest London News
NY News Archives
London News Archives
Peter Filichia's Monday Quiz
Dining and Travel
London Theatre Listings
NY Broadway Listings
Off-Broadway Listings
London Tickets
Advertise with us

Subscribe
Renew
Give a Gift


Logo

Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
BORN YESTERDAY
at the Cort

THE GENIUS OF BILLIE
By MATT WINDMAN

  Jim Belushi and Nina Arianda/ Ph: Caroll Rosegg

George Cukor’s 1950 film version of Garson Kanin’s 1946 comedy Born Yesterday has proven to be both a blessing and a curse for the original play. Since Judy Holliday’s star-making stage performance was immortalized in the film, it has been generally assumed that the show doesn’t need a major revival.  
 
But Holliday was also in the film version of Bells Are Ringing, and that hasn’t stopped producers from reviving that musical comedy. Kanin’s play deserves a second look with a new cast, especially since its theme of corruption in big business and politics couldn’t be timelier.
 
The screwball comedy, which also has some serious elements, centers on the relationship between corrupt junk dealer Harry Brock (Jim Belushi) and his quirky, blonde bombshell mistress Billie Dawn (Nina Arianda).
 
Harry, who is settling down in Washington in order to champion new legislation that would significantly increase his profits, decides that he needs to make Billie more presentable and less crass. 
 
In a My Fair Lady kind of twist, he enlists clean-cut reporter Paul Verrall (Robert Sean Leonard) to educate her. But in doing so, Billie loses her blissful ignorance and gains the confidence to question Harry’s duplicitous dealings and finally leave him.
 
While Doug Hughes’ production comes across as more old-fashioned than one would hope, the performances contained within it couldn’t be better or more thrilling.
 
Arianda gained attention last season as a temptress in Venus in Fur off-Broadway. She delivers a playful and sexy performance that is a joy to watch. Her bits of comedy business range from humming the title song of “Anything Goes” to counting with her toes.
 
Belushi is surprisingly intense as the sloppy, self-centered Harry. In addition to nailing the humor and providing a burly presence, he highlights the character’s dangerous and abusive qualities.
 
Other standouts in the cast include Leonard, Michael McGrath and Frank Wood. Also worthy of mention is John Lee Beatty’s spectacular hotel room set. 

 


SUBSCRIBE TO New York Theater News
SUBSCRIBE TO London Theater News

SCHEDULE UPDATES -
Yes, Prime Minister contracts its run, while A Chorus Line expands its own.
POWERHOUSE OF THEATRE - After 11 years as the Almeida Theatre's artistic director, Michael Attenborough is stepping down to focus on directing. 

SONGS FROM THE HEART - Once the Tony-Award winning musical is set to hit London in January.


Wine, Fruit, and Gourmet Gift Baskets.
Privacy Notice   |   Front Page
Copyright © TheaterNewsOnline.com. All Rights Reserved.