ROBIN’S SHOW RECOMMENDATION: THE LYONS
Nicky Silver’s comedy THE LYONS opened on Broadway at the Cort Theatre (138 W. 48 St in NYC.) on April 23, and it is one of the funniest (yet edgy) plays I’ve seen. Directed by Mark Brokaw, THE LYONS stars the Tony Award-winning actors Linda Lavin and Dick Latessa, along with the talented actors Michael Esper, Kate Jennings Grant, Brenda Pressley and Gregory Wooddell. It is produced Kathleen K. Johnson.
Lavin is Rita Lyons, the acid-tongued matriarch of a family at a major crossroads: her husband is dying of late stage cancer (she didn’t tell her son and daughter when he was first diagnosed because she was “busy” in a backgammon tournament), her son’s in a relationship in his “mind”, her daughter’s struggling to stay sober, care for her children, and find love (if not a rekindled, abusive relationship) and on top of it all, she can’t settle on a new design for the living room. She pours through a copy of House Beautiful in her husband’s hospital room, as he spews out curse words and hopes that a phone call is from Death to put him out of his marital misery.
Lavin couldn’t be more on her game! Armed with hysterical dialogue, deadpan delivery and facial gestures that speak volumes, you can’t take your eyes off her for a moment, or you’ll miss a laugh.
I’m dying!” exclaims Mr Lyons after Rita berates him for being crabby, with just hours or days to live. “Yes, I know,” she responds. ”But try to be positive.”
THE LYONS — the first play by Mr. Silver (PTERODACTYLS, RAISED IN CAPTIVITY, THE FOOD CHAIN, THE EROS TRILOGY, THE MAIDEN’S PRAYER, etc.) to come to Broadway, enjoyed great success during its sold-out run Off-Broadway at Vineyard Theatre last year. Silver’s writing is biting, touching and sharp, and we cackle even though we feel like we shouldn’t given the circumstances. There is lots of depth here as well, as we bear witness to a family at the height of emotional dysfunction, struggling to find their respective “place” of happiness (as they drag each other down), including the notion of passing away in peace.
Linda Lavin appeared in THE LYONS Off-Broadway. She appeared at the Kennedy Center in FOLLIES; at Lincoln Center Theatre in OTHER DESERT CITIES, THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG (Broadway), THE NEW CENTURY (Drama Desk Award; Off-Broadway). Broadway: COLLECTED STORIES (Tony nomination), HOLLYWOOD ARMS, THE TALE OF THE ALLERGIST’S WIFE (Tony nom.), THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (Tony nom., Drama Desk Award), GYPSY, BROADWAY BOUND (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Helen Hayes awards), THE LAST OF THE RED HOT LOVERS (Tony nom.), COP OUT, STORY THEATRE, SOMETHING DIFFERENT, IT’S A BIRD…IT’S A PLANE…IT’S SUPERMAN, A FAMILY AFFAIR. Off-Broadway: CAKEWALK; DEATH DEFYING ACTS; THE MAD SHOW; OH, KAY! (Theatre World Award) and LITTLE MURDERS (Outer Critics Circle Award). Regional: FINISHING THE PICTURE, COLLECTED STORIES, DOUBT, RABBIT HOLE, DRIVING MISS DAISY. Film: the recently-released “Wanderlust,” “The Backup Plan,” “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” “See You in the Morning,” “I Want to Go Home.” TV: “Alice”, “Barney Miller”, “Room for Two”, “Conrad Bloom”. TV films “The $5.20 an Hour Dream”, “A Matter of Life and Death”, “A Place to Call Home”, “Lena: My 100 Children”, “Best Friends for Life”, “The Ring”, “Collected Stories”. Cabaret: SONGS AND CONFESSIONS OF A ONE-TIME WAITRESS; national appearances include Birdland, The Metropolitan Room, Wilmington Symphony, NY. She recently released her first-ever CD, “Possibilities,” a recording of jazz and cabaret standards with musical director Billy Stritch.
Dick Latessa appeared in THE LYONS Off-Broadway. He won the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his performance in the Tony Award-winning musical HAIRSPRAY. Other Broadway credits: CABARET, PROPOSALS, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED… DAMN YANKEES, THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES, RUMORS, BROADWAY BOUND, RAGS, BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, PASSIONE, I OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES, CHAPTER TWO, FOLLIES, AWAKE AND SING!, DuBARRY WAS A LADY, LI’L ABNER. His Off-Broadway credits include CHAUCER IN ROME, OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS, FIT TO BE TIED and SOPHISTRY. His TV and film work includes “The Substance of Fire,” “Alfie,” “The Good Wife” and “Six Degrees.”
Mark Brokaw directed THE LYONS Off-Broadway. His credits on Broadway include directing the musical CRY BABY along with the plays THE CONSTANT WIFE, RECKLESS and AFTER MISS JULIE. He has directed the musicals A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration), MARTY (Huntington Theatre Company), and Cole Porter’s OUT OF THIS WORLD (Encores!). He directed the Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Paula Vogel’s HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE along with her plays THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME and THE BALTIMORE WALTZ. Also at The Vineyard he directed THE DYING GAUL, EIGHT DAYS (BACKWARDS) and AMERICAN FIESTA. He directed the premieres of Kenneth Lonergan’s LOBBY HERO and THIS IS OUR YOUTH as well as Douglas Carter Beane’s AS BEES IN HONEY DROWN and MUSIC FROM A SPARKLING PLANET. He will direct the first-ever production of CINDERELLA on Broadway, aiming for the 2012-13 season.
Kate Jennings Grant appeared in THE LYONS Off-Broadway and was last seen on Broadway in the 2009 revival of GUYS AND DOLLS. Her other Broadway credits are PROOF and AN AMERICAN DAUGHTER. Brenda Pressley also appeared in THE LYONS Off-Broadway and appeared in DREAMGIRLS (original company), THE AMERICAN PLAN, CATS, THE MOONEY SHAPIRO SONGBOOK, SEVEN GUITARS and MARVIN’S ROOM.
Michael Esper appeared in THE LYONS Off-Broadway and has been seen on Broadway in AMERICAN IDIOT and A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. His Off-Broadway credits include THE INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL’S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES. Gregory Wooddell appeared in THE LYONS Off-Broadway and in CYMBELINE at Lincoln Center Theatre, and in the world-premiere of Terrence McNally’s SOME MEN at Philadelphia Theatre Center.
THE LYONS marks the fourth production by Vineyard Theatre to transfer to Broadway, following the long-running Tony Award-winning musical AVENUE Q along with [title of show] and THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS. One of the nation´s leading non-profit theatre companies dedicated to new plays and musicals and bold programming, The Vineyard has consistently premiered provocative, groundbreaking works including the Pulitzer Prize-winning productions of Edward Albee´s THREE TALL WOMEN and Paula Vogel´s HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, Tarell Alvin McCraney´s WIG OUT!, The Civilians´ THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY, Nicky Silver´s PTERODACTYLS and RAISED IN CAPTIVITY, the Laura Nyro musical ELI´S COMIN´, A BOY AND HIS SOUL, written and performed by Colman Domingo, Adam Rapp´s THE METAL CHILDREN, Will Eno´s MIDDLETOWN and Christopher Shinn’s PICKED. The company most recently produced Zayd Dohrn’s new play OUTSIDE PEOPLE as a co-production with Naked Angels, and recently produced the world-premiere of NOW.HERE.THIS. from the creators and cast of [title of show]. Upcoming is as a Lab Production of the musical THE LANDING by Tony Award winner John Kander and his new collaborator Greg Pierce, with David Hyde Pierce set to perform in the 4-person cast. Douglas Aibel is Artistic Director of the Vineyard Theatre, Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell is Executive Producer, Sarah Stern is Co-Artistic Director and Rebecca Habel is Managing Director.
THE LYONS is performed Tuesdays at 7, Wednesdays at 2 and 8, Thursdays at 7, Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 2 and 8 and Sundays at 3. THE LYONS Rush Ticket Policy: priced at $26.50 each, a limited number of general rush seats will be sold for each performance, on the day of the show only, when the box office opens. Cash only. Limit 2 tickets per person.