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dana Dec 6th, 2002 09:52 AM

Our Town Broadway Play New York City
 
Has anyone seen the new production of<BR>Our Town with Paul Newman at the Booth Theater in New York City?

xxxx Dec 6th, 2002 09:58 AM

Yawn!!!

lovethem Dec 6th, 2002 09:59 AM

No, but going in January

Stacy Dec 6th, 2002 10:10 AM

Well, the New York Times didn't like it much; and a theatre friend of mine called it too sentimental. Sounds like they missed Thornton Wilder's point.

Ellen Dec 6th, 2002 10:37 AM

I saw it when it was up in Westbury CT at Newman's Theater. The only reason to go is to see Paul on stage. Otherwise, Our Town is Our Town. A sleeping vehicle.

Theatre Nut Dec 6th, 2002 10:46 AM

Oh Ellen, you have obviously never seen a production of Our Town done exactly as Wilder requested it be done. It is a magnificent, timeless piece--when properly done!!! Otherwise, it is, as you said, a boring sleepy vehicle.

Patrick Dec 6th, 2002 10:52 AM

I agree that Our Town is one of the great plays of the world. But the article I read in the NY Times on Sunday, really about Paul Newman, also mentioned the detailed &quot;intrepretative set&quot; of an empty theatre -- artificially painted fixtures and tons of sandbags. Why? I realize that is a minor point, but certainly doesn't sound like Thornton Wilder's intention.<BR><BR>I'm sure that mainly people will go just to see Paul Newman, but hopefully they will come away touched by this simple, but very moving play.<BR><BR>Of course there are no chorus lines, flying helicopters, falling chandeliers, or other exciting gimmicks here, but if you like pure theatre it can be magical.

Ellen Dec 6th, 2002 10:59 AM

Dunno. I have seen the play 3 times, with 3 different interpretations. Never liked it. Never will. Sorry. I am usually more forgiving, but I will never see another production of this play as long as I live. My husband has a set for a production at another theater in May. I hope he gives them away.

Ellen Dec 6th, 2002 11:02 AM

Sorry. Meant to say my husband has another set 'of tickets'. By the way, I do like theater that is interpretive. This story just doesn't interest me in the slightest. And lord knows, I've tried. I even worked on the set of Our Town in my High School production.

Howard Dec 6th, 2002 01:35 PM

We got tickets to see the show on Sunday for just one reason: a rare opportunity to see one of the great actors of our lifetime making his first NY stage appearance in at least 30 years, probably more. And based on the New York Times review, Paul Newman will not disappoint!<BR>Stacy, calling Our Town too sentimental should not be considered a criticism of that play!

Dan Dec 6th, 2002 02:57 PM

Ellen, Patrick &amp; Howard: I value your opinion on NYC theater and I was very interested in your views on &quot;Our Town&quot; - thanks for posting. I probably should start a new thread for this, but I wanted to ask you if you have seen &quot;Dance of the Vampires&quot; I realize that it doesn't officially open for a more few days, but I was interested in your &quot;take&quot; on the production. Thanks in advance!

Howard Dec 6th, 2002 03:49 PM

Sorry, Dan, but I can't be of too much help on Dance of the Vampires. The second-hand reports I hear seem to be that the show is good, not great. Also, fans of Michael Crawford will be satisfied.

Woody Dec 7th, 2002 06:24 AM

I saw Our Town earlier this week, largely to see Paul Newman's return to Broadway after some 40 years. His performance alone is reason enough to see it. This Thornton Wilder play takes place in Grover's Corners, New Hampshire in the early 1900's, and was originally produced in 1938. It uses minimalist staging, which -- if you read the play -- Thornton Wilder intended so that each viewer will see much of his or her own routine daily life and local community in the story. Jane Curtin also stars.

Emily Dec 7th, 2002 07:04 AM

To see such fine actors perform on Broadway would be a wonderful treat - any idea how long the play will run with THIS cast?

Patrick Dec 7th, 2002 06:25 PM

It is a limited run show and closes January 26.

Emily Dec 7th, 2002 06:55 PM

Thanks for the info Patrick - looks like I will miss this one as I won't be back in NYC until February. Oh well , , , I'll check into some other shows. Thanks!

Bryan Dec 7th, 2002 07:59 PM

Last week I saw 2 shows while in NYC. I enjoyed Our Town, for the sake of Paul Newman...not really much more,. I'm in the 50 age range so have fond memories of Paul Newman for sure and this is why I chose this play. It was good in it's own rite, but perhaps difficult to recommend . It was a bit on the slow side, although Newman was good. I also saw Man of La Mancha (again because I'm a fan of Brian Stokes Mitchell). To me, this was FAR superior and much easier to highly recommend than Our Town. Given the choice between the two, there is no choice.

Sarah Dec 8th, 2002 06:23 AM

I saw it Friday night I was just going to make a post to tell people to try to see it when I saw this thread. I got my single ticket Friday afternoon by calling telecharge, someone cancelled . This is a very inspiring production, certainly a story that stays with you for days. So surprised to see people here saying that it is only worth it if you are watching Newman. Perhaps the people that made these comments don't really enjoy plays? That is my message to people reading the thread making judgments on those statements.<BR><BR>I could care less that Paul Newman was in it. This is a great play. I am not in the theatre but I have read this play and watched it a number of times on film since I was a child. Perhaps the best production I have seen in NYC. I don't care for musicals though so that will separate me somewhat from the typical Broadway crowd. Our Town in my view is the type of theatre that is missing in NYC. The type of theatre you do find plenty of in London.<BR><BR>The most compelling performances come from Maggie Lacey as Emily Webb and Jane Atkinson as Mrs. Gibb. Jane Curtin was ok but I was surprised not to hear a thicker New England accent from her. In the first act everyone else sounded like they were from N.H and she seemed like she was from Wisconsin. Most other cast members including Newman were sensitive enough to attempt a country N.E accent. When you looked at the bios though you could also see that they did more theatre and less television than Curtin so I suspect this was part of it.<BR><BR>I can't understand how anyone would be less than moved by this play. Had to say this again. It is about life and appreciating the moment. Touches you by using the themes of love, Family and coming of age. But saying that gives a simpler picture than I intend it is also about loss and dissappointment. In short the things that make life life. The entire orchestra area seating was crying at different points, you could hear it and see this. Paul Newman was as good as any of his cast members. His role is kind of flat though so there was not a lot of opportunity to show a range. <BR><BR>The characters I mention though are full of personality. A very touching play. I highly recommend seeing this.<BR>

Sarah Dec 8th, 2002 06:31 AM

PS sounds like this is a good reason to avoid NY Times reviewer.<BR><BR>At our performance people cheered and yelled and then stood up. I don't think that happens when people decide they will never see a play again. It also happened before Newman came out.

Patrick Dec 8th, 2002 07:44 AM

I may be old fashioned, but I can remember the days when people went to Broadway to actually see plays. So many people today actually say, &quot;I went to see Paul Newman (or Brian Stokes Mitchell, or Bernadette Peters or whomever) on Broadway!&quot;, not &quot;I saw Our Town or Man of LaMancha&quot;.<BR><BR>I don't want to complain about it, because to be perfectly honest it is really the big names that sell the tickets today which enables live theatre to still survive.<BR><BR>Our Town is really kind of a good example, because to be really good in it, Paul Newman is required to do almost nothing. The stage manager is a great role mainly because he is so characterless and is supposed to register no real emotion. So it seems almost funny that people would go mainly to see Paul Newman act. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure he's great in the role, but I'm sure the vast majority love him because he IS Paul Newman, not because of anything in particular he does with this role. But the important thing is that people are going and in doing so they happen to see one of the great plays of our time.

Anna Dec 8th, 2002 10:55 AM

I've always loved &quot;Our Town&quot;. It is my favorite play, and it always manages to make me shed tears. I think that people who don't care for this play are those that probably didn't think much of the film, &quot;Field of Dreams&quot;, which caused my sons to weep.

Ellen Dec 8th, 2002 02:33 PM

I guess it is all a matter of opinion. Sarah-I got your 'message' about the 'judgement' of anyone who doesn't feel about the play the way you do. But, contrary to your belief, some of us who don't share your opinion of Our Twon, do enjoy theater. Dramatic performances I HAVE enjoyed recently would be Far Away, Frankie &amp; Johnny, Imaginary Friends, Medea, A Man of No Importance, Book of Days, Boston Marriage, Burn This, and The Exonerated. I would recommend any one of these over Our Town any day of the week. And, I have also seen many overzealous audiences standing, cheering &amp; bravo!ing away at performances so bad they have been shut down in 2 weeks. So, to each his own opinion and judgement.

Sarah Dec 8th, 2002 06:57 PM

Gee Ellen I did not mean to offend. It would be difficult for me to highly recommend a musical so that is where this thinking was coming from. I know I have come on the forum before and told people to head to Lincoln Center and skip Broadway Musicals entirely.<BR><BR>Thanks for the heads up on Imaginary Friends. I was looking at that as a gift for a friend.

Sara Dec 8th, 2002 07:20 PM

It is all such a personal thing. Although I have utmost respect for some deeper dramas I've seen which have a lot of depth....I actually prefer light musicals or comedies. I try to go to the theater as often as affordable and my favorite is to be entertained. I guess I have enough of my own stresses going on (recently divorced and have a 9 yr. old with Down Syndrom) so I most enjoy the &quot;escape&quot; and real entertainment. I have seen such shows as The Producers, Hairspray, Man of La Mancha,Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Oklahoma. (have tickets for Movin' Out as well).These may all be considered &quot;light&quot; (except perhaps Man of La Mancha). I really enjoyed this type although like I said, I DO APPRECIATE the depth of shows such as Our Town as well. It is a very personal thing!! Some people are opposite of me and really don't care for musicals etc. GIVE THOSE TICKETS TO ME!

John Dec 9th, 2002 04:09 AM

I am not sure Sara that art is all about what individuals like. You have quality literature and you have mass produced literature like &quot;Daniel Steele&quot;. It is the same with theatre, Broadway has become an industry focused on consumers and less of an arena for theatrical art. Something is lost with this. Difficult to see emotion when someone breaks into song and dance every few minutes.<BR><BR>I have to agree why are there are so few plays of substance on Broadway? I like walking away thinking about maybe considering a new angle on human condition not how did they wear such big hats. How long did they have to stretch to make that kick. Not sure this is all about what individuals like. I think there is a line between Art and commercial entertainment.

sandra Dec 9th, 2002 05:20 AM

I saw It when it was in Westport Playhouse where his wife is Creative Director. It was a lousy production, along the lines of a high school play, only it starred Paul Newman. The Review in the paper yesterday basically stated that. People will go as it is completely sold out till the end of the run on 1/26/03

Ellen Dec 9th, 2002 06:00 AM

I agree that Broadway can fall way short as far as dramatic performances. For about a year all you could see was Proof or the Allergist's Wife. That is why I tend to go to more off and off-off productions. But as this is a travel board that attracts mostly tourists coming into NYC for just a few days, the focus here is always on the 5 lavish commercial productions of the moment. Hardly anyone inquiring about NYC has an interest in Lincoln Center or off Broadway theater--just pull up the old threads and try to find even one. Some of our favorite subscriptions are The Drama Department, Public Theater, Second Stage, Manhattan Theater Club, Classic Stage Company, the Pearl Theater, and Roundabout. Many of these shows rival those on Broadway. In fact, Cynthia Nixon was a part of the regular company at Classic Stage before she hit the big time.

Sarah Dec 9th, 2002 06:06 AM

Ellen thanks good to have those nameson hand. I have heard about the round about but just gave up on Drama in NYC years ago.<BR><BR>Spent a year in London and was forever ruined in my expectations of Theatre. If I have not seen anything great in a while in NYC I will schedule a brief trip. Never thinking I could find an equivalent here.

Ellen Dec 9th, 2002 06:07 AM

I also forgot to add that you can see a fantastic off-Broadway show for 1/2 the price of a Broadway ticket, without standing in line for 2 hrs. And since the theaters are smaller, you can almost always get a great seat. Some stars off broadway at the moment? Kate Burton, Martha Plimpton, Frances McDormand, Al Pacino (Salome in Brooklyn), Danny Aiello, Sigourney Weaver, Liev Schreiber, Chris Noth, Elisabeth Shue, Sandy Duncan, and Amy Irving. Anyone with off-broadway questions, I would be most happy to help.

Sarah Dec 9th, 2002 06:11 AM

What was the story line with Imaginary Friends?

Howard Dec 9th, 2002 06:29 AM

Getting back to the original subject of this thread, we saw Our Town yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed. No, Our Town is probably not for everyone's taste, but it should on the must-see list for most serious theatergoers. (Ellen, I'm sorry you didn't get tickets for it. To see Paul Newman playing, well, Paul Newman, was a joy!)<BR>While Patrick makes some valid points about star vehicles, I'll have to disagree somewhat. The incentive for us to get tickets to see Our Town was the rare (and probably only) opportunity to see our of our nation's great actors on stage. Mr. Newman did not disappoint. It is an experience we will treasure. The fact that we found the entire production a most pleasable experience was a definite added plus.<BR>I might add that our motivation to see Dance of Death starring Ian McKellan and Helen Mirren last year was similar.<BR>Neither play is for everyone. But they were &quot;for us&quot;!

Ellen Dec 9th, 2002 07:08 AM

Howard, I did see it with Paul Newman. I saw it in Westbury CT at his wife's theater. Loved him, despite the walk on/recite/walk off narrator role, but really disliked the production itself. I also can't stand that venue in CT, but that is a whole other story. <BR><BR>Sarah-Immaginary Friends is starring one of my favorites, Cherry Jones (The Heiress, Pride's Crossing, etc.) and Swoosie Kurtz. It is Nora Ephron's play about Lillian Helmman &amp; Mary McCarthy. They were professional writers with differences.

Sarah Dec 9th, 2002 07:46 AM

AH HAA!!!! Ellen not far from what I thought!!! You had a bias against this production from the get go!!!! <BR><BR>just kidding thanks for Imaginary Friends info

ellen Dec 9th, 2002 08:03 AM

Sarah - actually, I went into it with optimism, thinking that Paul could improve on a drama that I previously did not enjoy (and had seen twice already). Alas, it was not to be.<BR><BR>It was actually my first time at the Newman's Theater, and my last. It was 100 degrees outside, and their barn of a theater has NO air conditioning or fans. It was a steambath inside. Not to mention that the seats are hard-as-rocks church pews that creak and groan every time someone shifts into yet another uncomfortable position. The rows are all on the same level and it is really hard to see over the head in front of you. The balcony is suicide.<BR><BR>

Patrick Dec 9th, 2002 09:13 AM

Howard, I have great respect for your theatre-going and theatre knowledge, but I don't get how what you're saying is in disagreement with what I said. In fact, I think you empasized exactly what I was saying. It is the fact that stars appear in shows that often gets people to go the theatre. As you have said, that is precisely what got you to go to those two productions. And while you're there you were rewarded with otherwise good theatre experiences as well. I agree. If it weren't for the fact that Paul Newman is in Our Town, I doubt they would have sold many tickets. It is his appearance that makes people go, and then possibly enjoy the entire theatrical experience as well.

Donnica Dec 9th, 2002 10:16 AM

I've been reading this entry with great interest. I had the good fortune of travelling in southern New Hampshire a few years ago and happened upon a production of Our Town in Peterborough, which is supposedly the model for Grovers Corners, at the Peterborough Players, an equity company that performs in what used to be a barn. In addition, Peterboruogh is the is the home of the McDowell Colony where the play was written. (Fletcher Dole's home is just down the street.) Legend has it that Wilder tried it out on thte Players stage first. Anyway, it was the most stunning performance of the play that I had seen (I've seen it twice, not counting high school), and James Whitmore was the stage manager (he is a friend of the late founder and her daughter). It's an evening that I will never forget.

Howard Dec 9th, 2002 10:24 AM

I agree, Donnica. This is an interesting thread, and your contribution is helping to make it more interesting!<BR>Sorry, Patrick, for misreading your comments. I'll return the compliment and say that I, too, appreciate your theatrical savvy...and good taste!

David Dec 14th, 2002 05:38 PM

Topping for Cathy ([email protected])<BR>

Woody Feb 17th, 2003 06:12 PM

&quot;Our Town&quot; has closed. But according to the L.A. Times, Paul Newman and &quot;Our Town&quot; are coming to TV.<BR><BR>Showtime and PBS' &quot;Masterpiece Theatre&quot; are teaming up to tape a TV version of the production. It will debut on Showtime later this year, and then will be shown on &quot;Masterpiece Theatre's American Collection.&quot;


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