Comscore

First Preview of Picnic

WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel Profile Photo
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 12:00am
Anyone else there tonight?

I thought it was pretty good, and easily one of most well-cast group of actors Roundabout has assembled in a while, with one exception.

Maggie Grace is great as Madge. She feels so right for Inge, and would do well with Tennessee Williams too. I'd cast her as Maggie or Stella in an instant. She has a natural beauty that fits the role well.

Mare Winningham and especially Elizabeth Marvel fare best though. Marvel is giving the best performance the American Airlines has seen in 5 years! Like Metcalf in The Other Place, she's dangerous and very exciting to watch. I can't believe it's Winningham's Broadway debut. I know she's done theater, but her performance was already pretty nuanced.

Reed Birney and Ellen Burstyn were good in their smaller roles. Burstyn's final little monologue was beautiful.

The weak spot in the casting is with Sebastian Stan as Hal. He reminded me of James Snyder in Cry-Baby. He looks the part, but lacks that charisma/magnetism that causes the character to turn everyone's lives upside down. It's not like he's terrible or anything; he's very serviceable.

Stronger than any of the actors is the play itself, and this is the type of thing Roundabout should be reviving.

I liked it without loving it, but in this season I would definitely recommend it.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
batchels
Swing
joined:2/27/05
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 12:07am
What was the running time? I am seeing this tomorrow and have a train to catch to DC afterwards.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel Profile Photo
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 12:09am
About 2 hrs and 10 minutes, but it started late and the intermission felt long. The second act is only about 30 min.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
CurtainPullDowner Profile Photo
CurtainPullDowner
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/04
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 12:16am
Is there shirtlessness involved?
macnyc Profile Photo
macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 12:19am
Yes, there was extreme shirtlessness.

Elizabeth Marvel was great in a hilariously over-the-top yet poignant portrayal. I wasn't connecting with Ellen Burstyn until the very end, when you can tell that the encounter with Hal really changed her. The set was very well done and I loved the retro costumes and those shoes!

Updated On: 12/15/12 at 12:19 AM
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel Profile Photo
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 12:21am
What would Picnic be without shirtlessness?

Stan is shirtless or in a dirty wife beater most of the show. Like I said he very much looks the part. He just didn't have that "it" that would truly make him as appealing as he needs to be.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
perfectlymarvelous Profile Photo
perfectlymarvelous
Broadway Legend
joined:5/21/07
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 12:23am
Yes, Sebastian spends a lot of the first act without a shirt on.

Also Whizzer, I had the complete opposite assessment of Maggie Grace...I thought she looked awkward onstage and was standing with a slightly slumped posture and pigeon-toed and was just generally kind of a dead weight.

I thought Elizabeth Marvel's performance and Sebastian Stan's chest were easily the best parts of the whole evening. Mostly I was lukewarm on the whole thing, but I think that may have to do with my ambivalence toward the play itself. I read it a couple of years ago in school and didn't really like it then, and I didn't exactly dislike this production but I didn't like it either.

Updated On: 12/15/12 at 12:23 AM
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel Profile Photo
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 12:27am
Ha perfectlymarvelous- well we were both ambivalent about the production, but for different reasons!

Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
CurtainPullDowner Profile Photo
CurtainPullDowner
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/04
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 12:38am
I've seen productons where the shirtlessness is minimal, which is strange since the movie poster is basically a picture of Holden's Nipples.

Updated On: 12/15/12 at 12:38 AM
Wynbish Profile Photo
Wynbish
Broadway Legend
joined:4/27/12
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 12:40am
Some posters have a strange lack of nipples

Updated On: 12/15/12 at 12:40 AM
dave1606
Broadway Star
joined:12/8/07
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 12:54am
I really liked this. I was not familiar with the play, but really adored it. A slice of Americana for me.

I thought Maggie Grace was fantastic, especially in her second act speech when she asks her mom about love.

Elizabeth Marvel was superb. Her opening scene of Act 2 was heartbreaking.

The rest of the cast was fine. Ellen Burnstyn elevated an otherwise throwaway character.

I don't feel the same way about Sebastian Stan, but maybe I was distracted by his shirtlessness.

A shout out to Madeline Martin for being such a fantastic young actress. I loved her in August Osage County, and then in Californication and her she is really doing some lovely work. I really have enjoyed following her and hope she continues to appear on the stage.

Finally, some kudos to the set design and direction. The second act contains one of my favorite moments in all the plays this year.

The house has lots of windows that allow you to peer into the kitchen. At one point in act 2 everyone (except 1 character) are all inside the house talking. You can't see everything, but enough to get the idea of what is happening. It was a brilliant, brilliant moment that reminded me of something that might take place in a Robert Altman film.

I really hope this show is a hit for roundabout because it is one of the best first previews they have had in years.
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 05:18am
Seb's chest could bring me in regardless.

It sounds good, I appreciate reading all your reviews, but not the revelation I sorta hoped it would be from reading the director's thoughts on the show. Inge has always been in the shadow of Williams, but I think he has a lot to say in a different way (mind you I think his best play is the reviled Where's Daddy? so your mileage may vary.) I hope this finds an audience though.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 09:00am
It's an ok production, but not as good as the previous ones I've seen.

The play, at least here, now seems a bit quaint. There were some unintended laughs. What was lacking was dynamism and wattage. The requisite tension wasn't there, and it all came off as too lackadaisical.

Aside from Reed Birney and the supporting players, I'd say none of the acting was quite right. Perhaps that will come with previews.

In the original production, Inge was forced by director Joshua Logan to change the ending he wanted. He later revised the play with his original ending and renamed it Summer Brave. Perhaps it was just because of last night's production, but this time I think Inge was right.

Updated On: 12/15/12 at 09:00 AM
best12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 09:52am
Sorry to read these early tepid thoughts ...

If there's really no chemistry or sparks flying between the leads, then you don't have a good production of Picnic.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
AHTC
Chorus Member
joined:7/20/10
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 09:59am
For me, the best pars of the evening were Marvel, Birney and Madeline Martin. Marvel's top of Act II was indeed completely and totally wrenching.

As far as Maggie Grace goes, sorry...I thought she was the weakest of weak links. In fact, I thought she was an almost completely wet rag mop. Nothing going on at. all. Oy.
iluvtheatertrash Profile Photo
iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 10:50am
Had no idea Sebastian Stan was even in this. Suddenly VERY excited to see it on Sunday. I may have fallen in love with him during Political Animals. AND shirtless? Oh, my.
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
kyl3fong2 Profile Photo
kyl3fong2
Broadway Star
joined:3/10/11
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 07:06pm
Did anybody meeting the stars after the show at the stage door? And if so, does Sebastian Stan come out to take photos/sign autographs?
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 09:52pm
AfterEight, did you like the Roundabout's last production more? I saw the Showtime broadcast of it and thought it was very average--at least on TV (and Stroman's choreography ridiculously elaborate given the situation).

I think I agree with you that the more realistic, but less "happy" Summer Brave ending may be more truthful and right for a current production, although when it's been staged it's never gone over too well with audiences (but that may be due to the production, not the ending--ie the flop Broadway production staged, I believe, shortly after Inge's suicide in the 70s).

I agree with TheatreTrash that I fell a little in love with Seb in Political Animals. He and Ellen had great chemistry in that show, I wonder if it carries over on stage.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 10:55pm
^

I enjoyed the previous Roundabout production more.

Summer Brave was a fine production. Again, the actor who played Hal could have been better. Alexis Smith was excellent, as was Nan Martin.

I don't think the so-called happy ending imposed by Logan is all that happy for Madge. I certainly don't see a happy future for her running off with this inveterate loser based on a one-night fling. Her mother was right, and last night, I kept wishing that Madge would listen to her.

Inge was right.
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 11:33pm
I tend to be a romantic in situations such as the story of Picnic, but I absolutely agree with you, Eight (and with Inge). If there was a sequel to Picnic, it would almost certainly show a very unhappy life for Madge. Maybe Inge realized this and so was less annoyed with Logan's pushed changes. (It's interesting--well to me anyway--that this and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof are being revived at the same time--two back to back Pulitzer Prize winners, and both works where the author's original take was compromized by the director. I know they say that for Cat they are gonna cherry pick from the various productions, but I suspect it'll largely be WIlliams' 1970s revised script as with most past productions, which takes from his and Kazan's ending).

I know we often don't see eye to eye, AfterEight, but you really know your stuff when it comes to classic plays like this, and I always enjoy reading your take on them.
JayG
Chorus Member
joined:1/2/05
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 11:41pm
Saw the show at the Saturday matinee. The play is quite lovely, but there is a huge gaping hole. Hal and Madge. Not good at all. She less so than he. His performance is high school calibre. The rest of the cast is quite good and, I suspect, will improve until opening night. He's hopeless. Of all the young actors in NYC, this is the best they can come up with?
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/15/12 at 11:43pm

Eric, you know your stuff better than I do.



Updated On: 12/16/12 at 11:43 PM
mikem Profile Photo
mikem
Broadway Legend
joined:8/5/04
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/16/12 at 12:06am
I'm a little disappointed and surprised that Sebastian Stan is having such trouble. He was very good in the Liev Schreiber Talk Radio revival a few years back, and he is certainly capable of giving a good stage performance.
"What was the name of that cheese that I like?" "you can't run away forever...but there's nothing wrong with getting a good head start" "well I hope and I pray, that maybe someday, you'll walk in the room with my heart"
perfectlymarvelous Profile Photo
perfectlymarvelous
Broadway Legend
joined:5/21/07
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/16/12 at 12:10am
I didn't think Sebastian was bad at all, but I think part of the problem is that he and Maggie Grace have basically zero chemistry. Last night it seemed like he was working really hard and trying to compensate but there was just no crackle at all and it made it hard to believe the relationship.
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/16/12 at 12:30am
Having seen the last Roundabout revival of the play with Ashley Judd and Kyle Chandler who had no chemistry at all and were overshadowed by an excellent supporting cast (especially Anne Pitoniak), I have to wonder if it is the characters of Madge and Hal that are problem with the play.
get-it-right
Swing
joined:5/29/12
First Preview of Picnic
Posted: 12/16/12 at 12:35am
Having (somehow) seen this production more than once already, I've come to realize that Maggie Grace just really doesn't work as Madge for me. I don't know, she and Stan's scene just before intermission really comes across as awkward. I agree that they have no chemistry. At least, unlike Grace, I find Stan to have many more redeeming moments during the show.

1
Page:

 
Advertisement Advertisement