Playing at The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre located at 261 West 47th Street. It runs one hour forty five minutes with one intermission. The show is schedule to run until November 11, 2012.
Boyd Gaines has won four Tony Awards for "The Heidi Chronicles" (1989), "She Loves Me" (1992), "Contact" (2000) and "Gypsy a Musical" (2008). He is the first actor to be nominated for each of the Tony categories for which an actor is eligible. Feature actor in a musical and play and lead actor in a musical and play. Most recently he was in "The Columnist".
Richard Thomas is known for his role as John Boy in the CBS drama "The Walton's" in the 1970's. He won an Emmy for this role. Most recently he was in the off Broadway production of "Standing on Ceremony".
The play is based on Henrik Ibsen's 1882 play.
Arthur Miller adapted the play in the 1950's. It opened at The Broadhurst Theatre December 28, 1950. It starred Fredric March, his wife Florence Eldridge and Rod Steiger. This show is directed by Dough Hughes. He won a Tony, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics, Drama Desk and Callaway Award for director for "Doubt" in 2005. He also won an Obie award that same year for "Sustained Excellence".
The play takes place in a coastal town in Norway.
Dr Thomas Stockman (Boyd Gaines) and his wife Katherine (Kathleen McNenny) are visited by his brother Peter (Richard Thomas). Peter is very stuffy and formal. He is mayor of the town. Thomas who is free spirited and out going is the medical officer at the Municipal Bath.
Horstad (John Procaccino) stops by the house. He is the editor of The People Messenger, the local paper. Also there is Billing (James Waterson) a co-editor of the paper and Captain Horster (Randall Newsome). The captain is a ship master and friend of Thomas.
Living in the house is Thomas and Katherine's daughter Petra (Maite Alina). She is a teacher. There are two sons but we never see them.
Thomas has done some research on his own on the quality of the water in the baths. He has his concerns, people are getting sick that use the baths. He has an outside company test the water too. He's right the waters are contaminated. The water is being compromise by the tannery up the river.
Thomas wants to expose this problem. Hovstad and Billings are 100 per cent behind him. Aslaksen (Gerry Bamman) the publisher of the paper agrees to publishing Thomas findings.
Peter is against it saying this is the livelihood of the town. It would cost to much and take to long to fix.
Needless to say his so called friends back down and turn against Thomas. They brand him at the town meeting as an enemy of the people.
Thomas swears he will fight this to the end, even if he is the only one.
The play has with stood the passage of time. If the costumes were modern it could be happening today.
The set rotates, in the first act its Thomas living and dinning room room and then his study. In the second act its the newspaper office, town hall and Thomas study again. There is a sheer curtain that hides the stage to give you a little peek as to what is behind it. The set was design by John Lee Beatty. His recent scene designs were for "Other Desert Cities" and Venus In Fur".
The costumes have the right touch, Catherine Zuber did the costume design. She was nominated for a Tony for "How to Succeed in Business"
This is a stellar cast. Dough brings out the best in the whole cast. Even the town hall scene some of the cast are in the front row. They are rowdy. You have the the impression that the whole audience is the town. Voices echo in the back to give you that feeling. John Robert Tillotson as the town drunk may have a small part he does steal the scene. He's so good.
Richard Thomas holds his own against Boyd Gaines. He's good. This is one of the best roles I have seen Boyd in. Now you can see why he has won four Tony awards. He is so powerful and touching in this character. Both are tremendous actors and are worth seeing. Kathleen McNenny does a touching job as the anguish wife.
Although this play was written in 1882 but it could be 2012. Things never change. As Thomas said "Politicians are wolves" out for the kill.
Don't miss this wonderful production.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.