The following five shows are closing within the next ten days. Each of them I found worth seeing for one reason or another.
Eclipsed – closing June 19
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) is making her Broadway debut in this play by Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), a forceful drama about the effect of war on five women in Liberia. What could easily have been a noble, grim and largely unwatchable testament to man’s inhumanity towards woman in wartime turns out to be a well-acted ensemble piece and a thought-provoking drama that is surprisingly vibrant, and sometimes even whimsical. Nominated for six Tony Awards, it won for Clint Ramos’s costume design.
The Father – closing June 19
Frank Langella just won his fourth Tony Award for his performance as a man with dementia in this deliberately disorienting new play, and he is the main reason to see it.
Long Day’s Journey into Night – closing June 26
Jessica Lange won her first Tony for her portrayal of Mary Tyrone, whom she makes the center of attention in this sixth Broadway production of Eugene O’Neill’s most personal play. She is not just a fading ethereal figure, but a robust woman whose entire life unfolds before us—alternatively innocent, skittish, coquettish, sneering, full-out furious, resigned. Gabriel Byrne, John Gallagher Jr. and Michael Shannon co-star. Nominated for seven Tonys, it also won for Natasha Katz’s lighting design.
Bright Star – closing June 26
The score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell of this tuneful, well-performed display of American roots music almost makes up for the preposterous if occasionally moving story.
The King and I -closing June 26
It’s baffling that this luscious production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical, which won four Tonys a year ago, is closing after only 15 months. (Such is Broadway.) I have not seen the new leads, Daniel Dae Kim and Marin Mazzie, but terrific featured performers Ruthie Ann Miles and Conrad Ricamora are still in it, as are the glorious costumes and sets.
Of the three scheduled to close in July, I recommend:
She Loves Me — closing July 10, 2016
Even somebody who has never heard of this romantic musical comedy could fall in love with this revival, thanks to the gorgeously melodic score, David Rockwell’s jewel box of a set, which won for him a Tony Award, and the stand-out performances by Laura Benanti and Jane Krakowski as two lovelorn shopgirls in an elegant European parfumerie. The production was nominated for eight Tony Awards.