Act One is playing at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre located at 150 West 65th Street. It plays two hours forty minutes with one intermission.
The show closes on June 15, 2014.
James Lapine is the playwright and director. He won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1985 for “Sunday in the Park with George”. James won three Tony Awards “Passion” (1994 Best Book of a Musical), “Falsettos” (1992 Best Book of a Musical) and “Into the Woods” (1998 Best Book of a Musical) . He was nominated for a Tony Award for “The 25th Annual Putman Spelling Bee” (2005 Best Direction of a Musical), “Into the Woods” (2002 Best Direction of a Musical), “Dirty Blonde” (2000 Best Direction of a Play), “Passion” (1994 Best direction of a Musical), “Falsettos” (1992 Best Direction of a Musical) “Into the Woods (1988 Best Direction of a Musical) and “Sunday in the Park with George (1984 Best Direction and Best Book of a Musical). James was nominated and won several Drama Desk Awards.
Beowulf Boritt is the set designer. He was nominated for a Tony Award for “The Scottsboro Boys” (2010). The most recent show he has design was “Bronx Bombers”.
Moss Hart was born on October 14, 1904 and died on December 10, 1961. He died of a heart attack. Moss was a play writer and director. His first play that he wrote was in 1930 “Once in a Lifetime”. He wrote it with George S. Kaufman. They had a string of successful plays such as “You Can’t Take It With You” (1936) and “The Man Who Came to Dinner” (1939). “You Can’t Take It With You” won the 1937 Pulitzer for Drama. The screen play “Gentlemen’s Agreement” (1944) was nominated for an Academy Award He wrote several Broadway shows but the most successful was the musical My Fair lady” (1956). It was adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The show ran over seven years and won a Tony Award for Best Musical. Hart picked up the Tony for best director. His autobiography “Act One” was written in 1959. Kitty Carlisle was his wife. She died in 2007.
Tony Shalhoub is known for his role in the television show “Monk”. He was nominated for an Emmy for this role eight consecutive years 2003-2010 and won in 2002, 2002 and 2006. Tony won a Golden Globe for this role in 2003. He was nominated for a Tony Award for “Golden Boy” (2013) and “Conversations With My Father” (1992).
Santino Fontana was nominated for a Tony Award for “Cinderella” (2013).
Bob Stillman was nominated for a Tony Award for “Dirty Blonde” (2000).
Andrea Martin won a Tony Award for “Pippin” (2013). She won an Emmy Award for outstanding writing in a variety and music Program in 1982 and 1983.
Chuck Cooper won a Tony Award for “The Life” (1996).
The play takes place in New York and environs from 1914-1930.
The story revolves around the rags to riches life of Moss Hart.
Young Moss Hart (Matthew Schechter) is introduced to the theater by his mother’s (Mimi Liber) sister “Aunt Kate” (Andrea Martin). He skips school to attend the theater with her.
Growing up in the Bronx is not easy. His parents have to take in borders in order to make ends meet. His father Barnett (Tony Shalbough) kicks his Aunt Kate out for helping with finances.
Moss (Santino Fontanna) at an early age helps support his family. As an adult he gets a job in an office of a producer of Broadway plays. He works his way up becoming the secretary of the producer. Moss informs his boss he’s heard of a great western play. It turns out its Moss first play “The Beloved Bandit”. The play premieres in Rochester and is a flop.
Through connections he meets George S. Kaufman (Tony Shalhoub). They collaborate on his play “Once in A Lifetime”. The play is a success. He now has money to move his parents out of the slums and get an apartment by himself.
What happens in his life during this time period, you will have to see the show.
Three actors play Moss Hart, Matthew Schechter (young), Santino Fontana (20’s) and Tony Shalhoub (mature).
There are 22 actors in the cast. Some play several roles. They do a wonderful job.
Tony Shalhoub is fantastic as George S. Kaufman and Brett Moss.
Santino Fontanna does a great job as young Moss Hart.
The set is remarkable. It revolves around in a circle to change scenes. There are two levels.
The only problem is it’s too long. Despite this the show is still worth seeing.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
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