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Present Laughter

Present Laughter is playing at St. James Theatre located at 246 West 44th Street. It runs two hours twenty minutes with one intermission. The show closes on July 2, 2017.

Noel Howard is the playwright (December 13,1889 to March  26,1973).

The original production premiered at the Plymouth Theatre on October 18, 1946 and starred Clifton Webb. Other revivals were in 1958 at the Belasco Theatre (Noel Howard), 1982 at Circle in the Square (George C Scott), 1996 at the Walter Kerr Theatre (Frank Langella) and 2010 at the American Airline Theatre (Victor Garber).

Moritz Von Stuelpnagel is the director. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Hand to God in 2015.

David Zinn is the scenic designer. He won a Tony Award for The Humans (2016 Scenic Design) and was nominated for three Tony Awards for Airline Highway (2015 Costume Design), Fun Home (2015 Scenic Design) and In the Next Room, the vibrator play (2010 Costume Design).

Susan Hilferty is the custom designer. She won a Tony Award in 2003 for Wicked . Susan was nominated for three Tony Awards for Spring Awakening ( 2006), Lestat (2006) and Into the Woods (2002).

Kevin Kline won two Tony Awards for The Pirates of Penzance (1981) and On the Twentieth Century (1978). He was nominated for a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Henry IV (2004). Kevin won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for A Fish Called Wanda (1988).

Kate Burton was nominated for three Tony Awards for The Constant Wife (2006), Hedda Gabler and The Elephant Man (2002). She is one of only five actors, including Amanda Plummer, Dana Ivey, Jan Maxwell and Mark Rylance, to be nominated for Tony awards in two different categories in the same year. Kate has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy’s for Scandal (2014) and Grey’s Anatomy 2006-2007) and a Daytime Emmy for ABC after school Special (1995).

Kristine Nielsen was nominated for a Tony Award for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2013).

Reg Rogers was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for Holiday (1996).

The play takes place in Garry Essendine’s studio in London 1939. Act 1 in the morning, one minute pause it’s the evening three days later. Act 2 is the next morning, one minute pause and it is the evening a week later.

Dalpne Stillington comes out of a room from the left in a men’s bathrobe. It seems she spent the night in Gary’s (Kevin Kline) studio.

Garry is a well-known actor. She has a crush on him. They met at a party. Dalpne told him she forgot her key to her apartment key and can’t reach anyone to let her in. Garry lets her sleep in his place. Fred (Matt Bittner) his valet gets her coffee. His housekeeper Miss Erikson (Ellen Harvey) tells her she has no idea when he will get up.

In walks Monica Reed (Kristine Nielsen), Garry secretary. She is not surprised to see Dalpne there.

When Garry comes down the stairs he surprised Daphne is still there. He tries to get her to leave. His wife Liz (Kate Burton) comes in. They are married but don’t live together.

We meet his manager Morris Dixon (Reg Ryan) and his producer Henry Lyppiatt (Peter Frances James). Morris is having an affair with Henrys wife Joanna (Cobie Smulders). To add to the madness is a wild playwright Roland Maule (Bhavesh Patel) who is off the wall.

Act two Joanna use the same the same excuse as Daphne about her key. When he gets up he is preparing to leave for a tour in Africa. She says she is coming with him. Other things happen but I don’t want to spoil it if you decide to see the play.

The first act is bogged down. It was boring and mind-boggling. The second act was better if you could live thru the first act. You will enjoy the second act.

The set was overwhelming. It took away from the show.

Kevin Kline made a statement about having sex. Would they have said that in 1939 at least out loud?

I did like it when the curtain came down for the minute pause. It was used to change a scene. Comments were put on the curtain that were funny.

Kate Burton and Kristine Nielson did a great job.

Review by Rozanna Radakovich.

Photos by Annazor.

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