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NY Theater Reviews

Samuel H. Levine, Kyle Soller and Andrew Burnap/ Ph: Marc Brenner

DZIEMIANOWICZ'S TOP PICK OF 2019

By JOE DZIEMIANOWICZ

This spare, eloquent staging will make you laugh, cry and think.

A good show will make you laugh, or cry, or think. The Inheritance, the most ambitious and emotionally charged production of the year, does all three – and then some. Inspired by Howards End, E.M. Forster’s 1910 novel of curvy connections, Matthew Lopez has written a big play – two parts, nearly seven hours in all – covering big themes – love, loss and legacies, among them. But as the story traces the intertwining lives of gay men in New York City who lived through the AIDS plague and a younger generation untouched, seemingly, by that life-and-death crisis, tiny details get etched in the mind. Like fluttering cherry blossoms preceding the end of the play’s first half, where the production works its most transcendent, heart-stirring magic. I keep thinking about those petals, swirling like pastel confetti tossed at a celebration – only here it’s a gathering saturated in tears. High-definition images – and feelings to match – are par for the course in the spare, eloquent staging by director Stephen Daldry, who forsakes showy moving parts to focus firmly on the cast. That’s a dream for the actors. And, in this case, the audience.