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Review Roundup: GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS Opens on Broadway

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Glengarry Glen Ross opened, Saturday, December 8, 2012, at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (236 West 45th Street). The limited run has been extended through Sunday, January 20, 2013.

The cast is led by two-time Tony Award winner Al Pacino, who is joined by Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale, Tony nominee David Harbour, Tony nominee Jeremy Shamos, Emmy Award winner Richard Schiff, John C. McGinley and Murphy Guyer in this revival of David Mamet's acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. Tony Award-winning director, Daniel Sullivan directs.

Glengarry Glen Ross has set design by Tony Award winner Eugene Lee, costume design by Tony Award winner Jess Goldstein and lighting design by James F. Ingalls.

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Ben Brantley, The New York Times: The fight has gone out of the once-robust boys from "Glengarry Glen Ross,"...That sense of defeat has always lurked beneath the speeding dialogue of "Glengarry." But in Daniel Sullivan's deflated production...subtext has been dragged to the surface and beached like a rusty submarine. This is a "Glengarry" for a recessionary age...Whether comic or bitter, dialogue is often allowed to resonate in empty air...Much of the beauty of this play comes from its revved-up rhythms....though Shelly may be flushed with new confidence, he hardly inspires it...By the way, it doesn't look as if Shelly is addressing his fellow employees; his gaze is focused directly on us, the folks out there in the dark. This performance places Shelly firmly and dominatingly at the center of "Glengarry," which needs to be a tight ensemble piece. There's not much the other actors can do to compete with or even balance Mr. Pacino's grandstanding...The production's strange combination of comic shtick and existential weariness makes it feel rather like a long-running sitcom being filmed before a live audience that knows its characters' signature tics and flourishes by heart.

Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News: David Mamet's 1984 Pulitzer Prize winner "Glengarry Glen Ross," about ruthless salesmen, can grab you by the throat and punch you in the gut. It's a powerful play. But the new Broadway production just gives you a nudge. That's better than nothing in this season of mostly meaningless Broadway plays, but you'd expect more from a production that delayed the opening a month. A lot of that has to do with Al Pacino, the star of the show. Pacino is a terrific actor and gave a riveting performance two years ago in "The Merchant of Venice." But as Shelly Levene, a dinosaur who can't close a deal, Pacino seems small and insignificant. As much as Pacino resorts to trademark tricks — bugging his eyes, talking in falsetto, sticking out his gut — he's not able to generate much empathy for Shelly, who represents the price of American commerce. As the result, the play simmers when it wants to boil.

Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg NewsBut enough about me. This revival of David Mamet's 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about Chicago real estate salesmen makes for a pretty enervating hour and forty-five minutes. That will surprise fans of Mamet's blistering excoriation of business in what was hailed as the successor to Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman."

John Lahr: The New Yorker: Al Pacino, as Shelly (The Machine) Levene, stands out as one of the best messengers of Mamet's gorgeous, vicious music. The play, it occurs to the writer, could be retitled "Death of a Fuckin' Salesman."

Marilyn Stasio: Variety: Al Pacino may be pulling them in for David Mamet's 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning ode to American con artistry, "Glengarry Glen Ross," but the guy who's blowing them away is Bobby Cannavale, a live wire in the role played by Pacino in the 1992 film version. Show's hefty $377 tab for prime ducats and the long-delayed opening provided much grist for the gossip mill. But despite production flaws, in this post-Recession era of mortgage foreclosures and crooked real estate deals, it's a treat to revisit the best American play ever written about merciless men and their predatory business practices.

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: First seen on Broadway in 1984, Mamet's tight-as-a-drum drama should still retain its bite, but it never quite catches fire in this latest revival. Allowing the play to be twisted from an ensemble piece into a platform for Al Pacino, an actor not averse to showboating, director Daniel Sullivan and his producers have done a disservice to the Pulitzer-winning work....The production packs some heat in the performances of Bobby Cannavale and John C. McGinley, along with assured work from David Harbour, Richard Schiff, Jeremy Shamos and Murphy Guyer. But their collective efforts are not enough to make the somewhat routine staging crackle....Even in an underpowered production, these guys are fascinating specimens to watch as they navigate the vicious fray of office politics. The same goes for Mamet's tautly structured play. With its fusillade exchanges and fat-free set-up, it remains a model of dramatic economy. Too bad its nasty punch is a tad soft here.

Elysa Gardner, USA TodayIt's not every day that you get to see such top-notch performers play hardball onstage, and their flashes of electricity sustain this imperfect Glengarry.

Brendan Lemon, Financial TimesEven in an only reasonably involving production, such as the new Broadway revival starring Al Pacino, we are reminded that, whatever the state of the playwright's recent fortunes – his latest play, The Anarchist , is being pulled from Broadway two months early after disastrous notices – his earlier work remains powerful enough to spawn envy.

Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: This "Glengarry Glen Ross" is a hoot. The timing is pretty good too: Florida real estate and horrible desperation in offices is now in vogue.

Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY PostSo it's all about Pacino, and guess what? He's good. Not awesomely, life-changingly good. Just good.

Robert Feldberg, NorthJersey.comThat the production, which finally debuted Saturday night at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, turns out to be flawed in some fundamental ways is both surprising and, on reflection, predictable.

David Cote, TimeOut NY: Pacino and Cannavale are fierce and hilarious, rattling through the Mametspeak. But the entire cast blazes in Daniel Sullivan's tight, anger-unmanaged staging: David Harbour's humiliated office prick, Williamson; John C. McGinley's bilious Moss; Richard Schiff's schlemiel Aaronow; Jeremy Shamos's spineless Lingk; and Murphy Guyer's cop, Baylen. They may be weak, craven shells of men, but they close on one of the biggest deals of the season.

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: In Daniel Sullivan's high-profile Broadway revival of a great American drama of prosaic Midwestern business, a masterpiece that can withstand almost any out-of-whack revival, even this one, the great American actor Al Pacino blinks straight out at the audience. He will do this, beyond all bounds of common practice, for the next two hours, a choice at once interesting, sweet and weird...An hour or two later, you come to see that the production has its high points, its entertainments, its solid performances and there is nothing herein to kill the appeal of this brilliantly constructed and spectacularly theatrical play...But this production...ultimately does not succeed pretty much for the same reasons that the last Broadway production of Mamet's "American Buffalo" did not work out. Although hardly an everyman in whom we can see ourselves, Pacino's Shelly is certainly playful, unpredictable and rhythmically impulsive...Pacino certainly captures Shelly's vulnerability, even if he channels much of that into eccentricity. The problems arrive more when it feels like these actors don't understand the huge stakes of small events in these third-tier salesmen's lives.

Linda Winer, NewsdayThe play, which runs less than two hours with an intermission, feels less furious than melancholy -- and, yes, more thoughtful -- this time around.

Matt Windman, AM New York: While Pacino aims for the same wild theatricality here, it comes off as excessive, awkward and rather kooky. His bulging eyes and unkempt hair look especially ridiculous. And Pacino's slow line readings dilute the play's intensity and pace.

Sarah Crompton, Daily TelegraphBut once Mamet's salesmen lose both their motivation and their bitter camaraderie, the play itself begins to fall apart. Instead of being a savage evocation of the limitations of the American dream it becomes a melancholy description of inadequacy. Deeply disappointing

Erik Haagensen, BackstageDavid Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross," winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for drama, was on Broadway a mere seven years ago, in a terrific production directed by Joe Mantello and produced by Jeffrey Richards. So why has Richards brought the show back so soon? One has to assume it's the desire of star and Mamet vet Al Pacino to play Shelley Levene, the anxious-to-be-back-in-the-game real estate salesman at the drama's center. In Daniel Sullivan's unevenly directed production, Pacino entertainingly holds the stage, winning laugh after laugh, but he makes a miscalculation fatal to the play's core.

 
 

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