The Heiress

April Saul
Broadway Legend
joined:2/17/06

Posted: 10/11/12 at 01:22am
So good to hear all this right after I got myself a ticket to see it in December...although you guys are making me want to see it sooner! And to anyone who wants to see it now, it was up at TKTS for tonight's performance...
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05

Posted: 10/11/12 at 08:04am
Shouldn't Maurice Townsend be likable and his motives be ambiguous? After all this is Henry James, not Clyde Fitch. All the characters' arcs become more disturbing if Townsend is persuasively loving. As a matter of fact isn't that exactly why the movie is so brilliant? Clift was not outwardly slimy at all and keeps us guessing to - and beyond - the end.
Wilmingtom
Broadway Star
joined:7/18/11

Posted: 10/11/12 at 04:02pm
I agree that Townsend needs to be likable and his motives ambiguous. If the audience knows that he's not all he appears to be too early, it throws off the balance of the relationships. Would love to see this, although memories of Cherry Jones' revelatory performance are still with me. Big Chastain fan and delighted that she's doing so well.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11

Posted: 10/11/12 at 05:16pm
Henrik, I agree completely. That seems to be the very point of the play (more so than the novel, which is of course considerably more complex), and I like that it can be strongly argued either way at the end (at least of a good production). I assume Stevens would play that quality very well (while more sympathetic, I know many people seemed to see something similar in his characterization of social climber Nick in the Davies adaptation of The Line of Beauty)
Auggie27
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/03

Posted: 10/11/12 at 06:16pm
This and WOOLF were the two shows I was most anticipating this season (both revivals, irony not lost). More than the Albee play, THE HEIRESS competes in my mind with the iconic film, DeHavilland's finest hour, unequaled even by the sterling Cherry Jones, whom I admired greatly. Every time I watch it I marvel anew at Olivia's mastery of Catherine's emotionally epic journey, the way she is almost defeated by every obstacle until she finds her soul as much as her voice. She's heartbreaking yet never pitiful, and in some ways heroic. And Richardson manages the impossible: to make us understand the nature of his disappointment in his only child. When Catherine forces his hand, Richardson grows vulnerable, deeply shaken by the predicament (entirely of his making, duly noted) he finds his family in. It's one of the most carefully drawn family dynamics ever put on film, as blistering and truthful as anything in contemporary movies. The Goetz's great contribution is their ability to shape the story and carve out scenes of searing emotional suspense. And of course, the ending is entirely theirs, as James doesn't conclude his story with anything like the wallop of a crescendo in the play and film. I dare say, the coda is one reason the story works in such a heart-stopping way. The Goetz's gave us a period on the story that now almost defines it. I'm pleased to hear it's nailed in this production, and as noted, can't wait to see it in November.





"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Gary Shandling
Updated On: 10/11/12 at 06:16 PM
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05

Posted: 10/12/12 at 11:28am
And what a period! With one of the most iconic lines in history.

BtDM!
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12

Posted: 10/12/12 at 04:10pm
Aunt Lavinia: Can you be so cruel?

Catherine: Yes, I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters.
Jane2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/13/04

Posted: 10/12/12 at 04:47pm
I've only seen the film but to me, Maurice's motives became clear pretty early on. Way before he stood her up. It didn't ruin the story for me though. I love it, and hope to see Chastain in it.
<-----craves juicy pizza
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12

Posted: 10/12/12 at 09:21pm
Catherine with money is a lot more attractive than Catherine without money.
TalkinLoud
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/09

Posted: 10/13/12 at 12:46pm
I thought this was really, really good.

For those wondering: rush was super easy. We were the first to arrive on Friday at 9am. When the box office opened at 10...we were still the only ones there.

And as for stage door, Jessica and Dan came out and signed and posed for everyone. Extremely, extremely friend. Judith came out, but didn't sign, though I'd imagine if someone asked her to she would have. David snuck out elsewhere.
violet72
Broadway Legend
joined:12/12/06

Posted: 10/15/12 at 08:46am
I am going Nov 17th. I am a big fan of the movie, the play, and book. Have any of you see Jennifer Jason Leigh in Washington Square? It follows the book more and is meaner. I highly reccomend it to anyone who is a fan of The Heiress
"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life. Define yourself"
WiCkEDrOcKS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/04

Posted: 10/15/12 at 10:56am
Are the rush seats in the balcony? How's the view?
Current Avatar: Tony-winner Idina Menzel, delivering a sucker-punch of an 11:00 number, "Always Starting Over," in IF/THEN.
TalkinLoud
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/09

Posted: 10/15/12 at 11:03am
Yes, the rush seats are in the balcony. If you've never sat there, the seats are high and steep. You're definitely "looking down." However, the staging is such that you don't miss anything.
dreaming
Broadway Legend
joined:4/24/09

Posted: 10/15/12 at 11:16am
I hate the balcony at that theater, particularly for plays, as it can be hard to hear. I also just hate how high it is and looking down is a bit unnerving for me.
TalkinLoud
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/09

Posted: 10/15/12 at 11:17am
You can hear everything fine for this show.
spike3
Leading Actor
joined:5/17/11

Posted: 10/15/12 at 12:37pm
The show has been starting at exactly 3 min past the hour, they are strict with that, as well as with the length of intermission. Show comes dwn at 10:45, or 10:46. The sound for this show is fine, no matter where you are sitting
WiCkEDrOcKS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/04

Posted: 10/18/12 at 05:19pm
Has anyone rushed this recently? Is it still a relatively easy rush? Thanks!
Current Avatar: Tony-winner Idina Menzel, delivering a sucker-punch of an 11:00 number, "Always Starting Over," in IF/THEN.
jeffmiele
Broadway Star
joined:11/6/07

Posted: 10/20/12 at 12:21pm
I got my ticket for the matinee today at 12:00 and there are still 8 seats left.. Listening to people ahead of me the theater sounds to be pretty sold out as there are not too decent seats left.. But yes, Rocks, for a Saturday matinee it was very easy.. First row center balcony
ClydeBarrow
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/12
The Heiress
Posted: 10/25/12 at 10:58am
The rush for yesterday's matinee was very easy. I got there at 10 and scored and ticket in the second row of the balcony.

The height is unsettling to me at first but you get used to it. The problem that I have are all the lights on up there. There are lights on each end of the aisle and it's very distracting. Plus there are very bright lights behind you in the stairwell. I wish someone would fix that.

Play is great also. Jessica and Dan are unbelievable.
"Pardon my prior Mcfee slip. I know how to spell her name. I just don't know how to type it." -Talulah
nasty_khakis
Broadway Star
joined:3/15/07
The Heiress
Posted: 10/26/12 at 12:12am
I got a rush ticket for tonight's show around 3:30 pm today and there were still empty seats in the balcony. I moved down to the 3rd row at intermission and had a much better view. Whizzer was right, Chastain's face is not to be missed during the scene she is spoken so harshly to by her father. It's literally like a flip is switched and her emotion changes so instantaneously yet naturally.

Every one is great in this production. I LOVED how ambiguous Stevens's intentions were almost the entire play. I love when Townsend isn't played like a total gigolo creeper from moment one or like an innocent true love sick pony the entire time either. I found myself guessing if he truly cared for her (but wanted the money as well, don't get me wrong) the entire time, including his final scene. I know the novel fairly well so I knew it was coming, but it still pleased me that he kept me pondering the entire time.

Strathairn was wonderful as well. He was viciously cutting when he needed to be, but he wasn't entirely heartless as I've seen the character played before. I think he does love his daughter even with his deep-rooted blame and disappointment.

Ivey was delightful and I agree will be nominated. She was flighty and imposing, but never shrill or annoying.

Chastain was all she is hyped to be. Truly a masterful performance and in total control of herself and the character at all times. Her gradual changes scene to scene were beautifully done and subtle. She truly has fun in the last scene and the smile that creeps over her face during the final moments while ascending the staircase were chilling (as was the beautiful lighting). My only qualm is how beautiful she is. Blah blah gray makeup and frumpy wig, but Chastain is strikingly beautiful even from the Kerr balcony. The first time her father mentions how "ugly" she is the audience laughed. I kept misremembering the play and assumed it was a "she's not her mother so he doesn't think she's as pretty, etc etc" but then when other characters agreed I laughed. If only I were half as "plain" as she.

As mentioned before the sets and costumes make a STRONG impression. All you need to know about the characters can be seen in their clothing scene to scene.

The direction, to me, was skillful. Yes, he lets it speak for itself and isn't trying to reinvent the wheel, but this play does not need gimmicks, tricks, or anything new or inventive to shine. He lets each character be an entity and not the archetypes they can be and usually are. Direction IS 90% casting after all.

I except even Brantley will RAVE.
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
The Heiress
Posted: 10/26/12 at 07:34am
Stevens in interviews has addressed his choice, quite persuasively, that Morris falls in love with the good life but is not in his mind using Catherine. That he sees in Catherine a sweetness, trust and need for him that goes along with the sweet life she offers him. That she is a kind, loving woman who is part of a golden future, of the seduction. This is also interesting to view in terms of sexual politics; it is arguably indistinguishable from the way a great many women saw the appeal of wealthy men who were good men but not any girl's idea of a romantic prize. Then and now.
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
The Heiress
Posted: 10/26/12 at 10:04am
Catherine's income:

In 1850, Catherine has a private income of $10,000/year. In 2012 dollars that income would have purchasing power of between $300,000 and $600,000.

If she inherited her father's money she would have an income of $30,000/year or purchasing power of between $900,000 and $1.8 million in 2012.

Even at the low end, is Morris so greedy he could not live quite comfortably on Catherine's $10,000? In 1850 you buy a high-quality custom made men's suit for $50. He could have hired a live-in valet for about $3.00 per month. They probably could not have afforded the upkeep on a large Washington Square townhouse but they could have moved to a nice but smaller one a few fashionable blocks away.


Updated On: 10/26/12 at 10:04 AM
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
The Heiress
Posted: 10/27/12 at 06:29pm
Saw today's matinee. Good crowd. The set is perfect. This is an elegantly restrained and intelligent production with the drama volume turned down, which will likely disappoint many (granted, most of us think of The Heiress as a chance for high tor dramatic tension in the classic vein). I found the toned down take refreshing and psychologically nuanced. Thought provoking in a very different kind of way. What Austen does to Catherine by seeing her in a certain light (which we rarely see quite as clearly) takes center stage. Chastain's Catherine is more awkward than homely, resistant to the expectations of society as well as her father, making Strathairn's Austen much more complicated, personalized, in his judgment and grief. It also makes Stevens's lie-of-the-mind sincerity very persuasive. Kaufman has given us a very different vision, consistently entertaining but far more subtle. Strathairn is much more likeable than one might expect, he seems always to be doing what he thinks is right for his daughter and to have a tragic flaw of never being able to encourage and help her because he is so set in his vision of her as unaccomplished and dim. The end is very different. Rather than a bitter Catherine, we are left with a woman who has experienced closure and is ready to put down her needlework and..... something. She reminded me a lot of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Ivey reminded me a lot of Estelle Parsons.

Updated On: 10/28/12 at 06:29 PM
nasty_khakis
Broadway Star
joined:3/15/07
The Heiress
Posted: 10/27/12 at 06:40pm
Henrick, when I saw the play I kept thinking how much Ivey sounded like Parsons! Her sing-songy deliveries and general nosiness sounded exactly like the voice and tone Parsons used on Roseanne.
Dollypop
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
The Heiress
Posted: 10/27/12 at 06:52pm
I was planning to skip this play and cherish the memories of the production with Cherry Jones and Michael Cumpsty. After reading these comments, I may have to reconsider my decision.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
vegas2
Stand-by
joined:12/5/09
The Heiress
Posted: 10/27/12 at 07:44pm
The performances were outstanding across the board. The Sunday night audience was truly into it, and completely sympathized with Catherine -- they audibly gasped at some of the thoughtless comments by her father and aunt. It was funny how we reacted as though it was all real. I think that's a pretty strong indication of the quality of this production.

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