THEATRE LOVER MOM: Too Much Sun: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman
Nicky Silver’s new play TOO MUCH SUN opens with Linda Lavin adorned in a gilded costume as MEDEA where she is running through her role, complaining about everything, ultimately storming off stage and abandoning the production and taking up residence with her estranged school teacher daughter and her aspiring sci-fi novelist husband at their Cape Cod summer home.
Lavin is a joy whether reciting Euripedes or serenading in German, as she does in the opening of Act 2. The play touches on a multitude of subjects from gay romance to spousal abuse to binge eating to infidelity to suicide to single, unplanned motherhood, but never quite finds its ground. It’s a bit of a theatrical whirlwind, with some plot predictability, yet the cast triumphs, with Lavin at the helm.
Directed by Mark Brokaw, Lavin is joined by Ken Barnett, Richard Bekins, Matt Dellapina, Matt Dickson and Jennifer Westfeldt. TOO MUCH SUN reunites Ms. Lavin, Messrs. Silver and Brokaw along with The Vineyard, where Mr. Silver’s acclaimed play THE LYONS debuted in 2012 prior to its transfer to Broadway, earning Ms. Lavin her 6th Tony nomination. Silver is the master of pithy one liners, and Lavin is at the top of her game with delivery. Westfeldt is heartfelt, and Barnett, Bekins, Dellapina and Dickson are each engaging and on the mark.
The design team for TOO MUCH SUN is – scenic design by Donyale Werle; lighting design by David Lander; costume design by Michael Krass; and sound design by David Van Tieghem.
Mr. Silver’s previous Vineyard premieres include PTERODACTYLS, RAISED IN CAPTIVITY, THE EROS TRILOGY, THE MAIDEN’S PRAYER, THE ALTRUISTS, BEAUTIFUL CHILD, MY MARRIAGE TO ERNEST BORGNINE, THE AGONY AND THE AGONY, and, most recently, THE LYONS, which transferred to Broadway and debuted this fall in London. His other notable plays include THREE CHANGES, THE FOOD CHAIN, FAT MEN IN SKIRTS, FIT TO BE TIED, FREE WILL AND WANTON LUST. He also wrote the new book for the Broadway revival of the Rodgers and Hart musical, THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE.
Mr. Brokaw’s directing credits at The Vineyard include THE LYONS (also on Broadway), the Pulitzer Prize-winning production of HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (Drama Desk, OBIE and Lucille Lortel Awards for Best Director) and THE DYING GAUL. His other Broadway directing credits include the musicals RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA and CRY BABY, along with the plays THE CONSTANT WIFE, RECKLESS and AFTER MISS JULIE. Other credits: the musicals A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (Kennedy Center), MARTY (Huntington Theatre), and OUT OF THIS WORLD (Encores!), as well as the Off-Broadway productions of AS BEES IN HONEY DROWN, LOBBY HERO and THIS IS OUR YOUTH. He is the Artistic Director of the Yale Institute for Music Theatre.
Vineyard Theatre is one of the nation’s leading non-profit theatre companies now in its 31st year. Dedicated to the creation and production of daring new plays and musicals, The Vineyard has consistently premiered provocative, groundbreaking works, including Nicky Silver’s THE LYONS; Marx, Lopez and Whitty’s Tony Award-winning musical AVENUE Q; Kander and Ebb’s THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS; Bell and Bowen’s [title of show]; Paula Vogel’s HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (1998 Pulitzer Prize); Edward Albee’s THREE TALL WOMEN (1994 Pulitzer Prize); Tarell Alvin McCraney’s WIG OUT!; Will Eno’s MIDDLETOWN and many more. The Vineyard’s productions have been honored with two Pulitzer Prizes, three Tony Awards and numerous Drama Desk, Obies, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards. This season, The Vineyard produced the world-premiere of THE LANDING, the new musical by John Kander and Greg Pierce, and the NY debut of the chamber musical ARLINGTON by Victor Lodato and Polly Pen, directed by Carolyn Cantor and starring Alexandra Silber. The Vineyard Theatre’s leadership includes Douglas Aibel (Artistic Director), Sarah Stern (Co-Artistic Director), Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell (Executive Producer).
Now scheduled through June 22, TOO MUCH SUN will perform Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7 pm; Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 3 and 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets are $80 and can be purchased at the box office, by phone at 212 353 0303 or online at www.vineyardtheatre.org.