THE HEIRESS Reviews

LimelightMike
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 02:55am
Today is Thursday, November 1, marking the official opening night for the new Broadway production of Ruth and Augustus Goetz's period drama The Heiress. Following previews from October 6 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, this new mounting stars Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain who plays the awkward Catherine Sloper, with Dan Stevens as a handsome suitor, Morris Townsend, who arrives on her doorstep. Windows and doors figure prominently in the 1947 drama set in 1850 New York City, under the astute direction of Moisés Kaufman.

Here's how the producers bill The Heiress: "In this timeless New York love story, a protected young woman (Jessica Chastain) finds herself caught between her steely, grief-stricken father (David Strathairn) and a mysterious, handsome suitor (Dan Stevens). The power of passion, loss and money scars their lives in this unforgettable drama."

LimelightMike's 2010-2011 Theatergoing Schedule: THE PITMEN PAINTERS (10.03.10) A LIFE IN THE THEATRE (10.10.10) BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON (10.16.10) THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS (11.06.10) WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (11.13.10) BRIEF ENCOUNTER (11.22.10) THE PEE-WEE HERMAN SHOW (11.28.10) LA BETE (12.23.10) A SMALL FIRE (01.13.11) THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON (03.09.11) ARCADIA (03.16.11) BLACK TIE (03.19.11) PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE DESERT (03.21.11) THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (03.26.11) BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO (03.30.11) GHETTO KLOWN (03.31.11) HOW TO SUCCEED... (04.07.11) ANYTHING GOES (04.12.11) JERUSALEM (04.20.11) SISTER ACT (04.29.11) iHO: (05.22.11)
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 07:51pm
I would like to make a prediction now. I expect at least one review to include a terrible hurricane pun. Something in the realm of "Have you heard? There's a hurricane blowing through town. No, I don't mean Sandy. I'm talking about the whirlwind Broadway debut of Jessica Chastain in a tour de force performance." If it happens, I called it.
madlibrarian
Broadway Star
joined:8/15/06
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 08:11pm
Somewhere, right now, Ben Brantley is shouting, "Stop the presses!"
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 09:10pm
bjh, totally there with you!
NovaNurse7
Chorus Member
joined:11/7/08
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:08pm
The NY Times is... mixed to negative, I'd say? I really disagree with Brantley here. I think Jessica Chastain is giving a tremendous performance.
Interior Designs Conceal a House’s Dark Corners
wickedfan
Broadway Legend
joined:12/25/03
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:14pm
The Hollywood Reporter has similar views to Brantley.

I have to say that I agree with him. Saw the production on Sunday and went in expecting to really love Chastain and was left somewhat isolated by her. She had a few stellar moments (her second scene in Act 2 and her last scene with Strathairn) but otherwise, I felt it was a very odd, mechanical performance.
"Sing the words, Patti!!!!" Stephen Sondheim to Patti LuPone.
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:14pm
I am seriously beginning to doubt Brantley's intelligence, not to mention his taste. Oh, sorry Wickedfan.

Updated On: 11/1/12 at 11:14 PM
jeffmiele
Broadway Star
joined:11/6/07
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:16pm
Positive review especially for Chastain. I also disagree with Brantley I thought should was wonderful in this role, as a sidenote. Compete transformation and wonderful acting

http://tinyurl.com/bm2753r
WiCkEDrOcKS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/04
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:18pm
Current Avatar: Tony-winner Idina Menzel, delivering a sucker-punch of an 11:00 number, "Always Starting Over," in IF/THEN.
Updated On: 11/1/12 at 11:18 PM
wickedfan
Broadway Legend
joined:12/25/03
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:18pm
Oh no harm, henrik.

I will say that I hate how Brantley worded his critique of Chastain. It dumbs down his opinion. Sometimes you don't need to be clever or bitchy. A simple well-worded critique is enough.
"Sing the words, Patti!!!!" Stephen Sondheim to Patti LuPone.
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:20pm
I'm honestly shocked that this isn't getting across the board raves from every critic.
WiCkEDrOcKS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/04
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:21pm
^ Haven't seen the show yet, but ditto. Especially Chastain. I expected Brantley to jizz himself over her.
Current Avatar: Tony-winner Idina Menzel, delivering a sucker-punch of an 11:00 number, "Always Starting Over," in IF/THEN.
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:23pm
I thought this was just a perfect production of the show. But what do I know....
jeffmiele
Broadway Star
joined:11/6/07
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:27pm
I agree, Jordan. It was crafted perfectly. There was a few times where I thought that it was the type of show the Roundabout would do at American Airlines and could've turned it into a real bore. But this was 2 and a half hours of wonderful theatre
Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:34pm
Honestly, Jordan, the last revival was really the perfect production of this show and I knew this revival wouldnt fare well by critics in comparison. I enjoyed this production, but Cherry Jones' performance was one of the best on Broadway in the last twenty years, and much like Janet McTeer in A Dolls House, completely reinvented which otherwise is a good, somewhat 'starchy' script.

Chastain is doing good work here, but whoever took on this role on Broadway after Cherry Jones was a little doomed to unfavorable comparison. Jones' performance in the final scene remains one of the scariest most thrilling moments I've ever seen in a play.





Updated On: 11/1/12 at 11:34 PM
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:38pm
That really sucks and everyone I know who saw that production is comparing it before they've even seen this one.

wickedfan
Broadway Legend
joined:12/25/03
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:39pm
I will say, Michael Bennett, that the FIRST thing I thought after I walked out was that I wanted to go to Lincoln Center so I could see Cherry Jones' performance.

Edit: Which I had never seen. After seeing Chastain, I was just curious to see what Jones had done with the role.
"Sing the words, Patti!!!!" Stephen Sondheim to Patti LuPone.
Updated On: 11/1/12 at 11:39 PM
Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:45pm
Jones's Catherine was so awkward, so plain, so uncomfortable- it was almost like she had a slight mental handicap- it made the attitude towards her by every other character in the play really gruesome- and then to see her transform in the final scene to an icy, calculating and yes, regal monster was absolutely chilling.





Updated On: 11/1/12 at 11:45 PM
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:46pm
Ben Brantley isn't a fan of a woman? With a vagina?
'Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.' -- RW Emerson
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:47pm
So like Dorothy Collins and Alexis Smith, nobody will ever be able to be good in that role ever in the history of history.
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:49pm
Jordan, its really hard NOT to think of "The Heiress" and Cherry in the same thought if you were lucky to see that performance. I think we forget that before "Heiress" she was a well respected, but totally work-a-day actress. She was getting some large roles off-Broadway in mediocre plays like "Baltimore Waltz" but she became CHERRY JONES because of "The Heiress". I do remember loving her in a Richard Nelson supporting role several years previous as well...
Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:53pm
There were plenty of women who played Catherine to great acclaim before Cherry Jones and there is no reason to believe Jones is going to forever own that role; it was just an unfair disadvantage Jessica Chastain was up against in taking the part in this first revival since.
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:53pm
That's all well and good but the problem is that (and this is a big secret so don't tell anyone) Cherry Jones isn't in this production of THE HEIRESS. It's actually a DIFFERENT production of it. I know that's like totally rock my socks-make my head explode CRAZY, but it's true!
Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/1/12 at 11:57pm
But if the production isn't as good and most of the audience for this kind of thing saw the last one which was better and not that long ago, you can hardly blame the comparison. It's not as if people are holding Chastain to the candle of Wendy Hiller in a production sixty years ago...
Updated On: 11/1/12 at 11:57 PM
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/2/12 at 12:04am
"I will say that I hate how Brantley worded his critique of Chastain. It dumbs down his opinion. Sometimes you don't need to be clever or bitchy. A simple well-worded critique is enough. "

That's becoming my main issue with Brantley--and seems to me a sign when a critic should move on. Instead of offering your opinion, you seem at least as interested in getting out a clever turn of phrase (clever=bitchy). Anthony Lane is the master of that in his New Yorker film reviews, which I admit I like to read just because I find them amusing, but they're not very useful. Maybe Brantley has always had this problem, and I just never noticed...
NewYorkTheater
Broadway Star
joined:1/23/10
THE HEIRESS Reviews
Posted: 11/2/12 at 12:30am
Jessica Chastain miscast, Dan Stevens a dreamboat, Judith Ivey the standout performer, the design sumptuous
The Heiress Review TFT

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