First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:20pm
Scarlett bursts onto the stage and by the time she's uttered the words "no-neck monsters" you know this is going to be good. She was brilliant tonight, and luckily Benjamin Walker is every bit her equal. Best scene partners of the season so far.

Debra Monk and Ciaran Hinds were great too. Hinds is playing Big Daddy like a bastard and not the almost hokey comic relief that the role seems to have become. Monk's scene where she finds out about the cancer was awesome- her, "what's that word Big Daddy uses? Crap. Well that's what I say: Crap!" was terrific.

Ashford has added a ghost Skipper who skulks around the stage (!), but really it's not as distracting as it sounds. This revival is all about the performances they are not to be missed. Scarlett is proving again that she is one of the best actress of her generation.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:26pm
Thank the review. I saw a so/so regional production about a decade back that had a ghost Skipper too. I find it way too literal an idea to work--but I'm glad to hear the rest of the show is in good shape.
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:27pm
Best Actress of Our Generation? Have you seen her film work? Have you seen her firggin' Avengers? She was terrible.
bjh2114
Broadway Legend
joined:4/19/06
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:30pm
Best scene partners of the season so far.

Including Amy Morton and Tracy Letts? I have a feeling a few people would disagree with you.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:38pm
Oops- I did forget about Morton and Letts! I liked both pairs, but maybe it's just because I prefer Cat to Virginia Woolf that I liked tonight's scene work more.

Ripped Man- I love her film work! She was good in The Avengers!
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
TalkinLoud
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/09
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:38pm
You're going to try and use The Avengers as proof someone is a bad actress? Ha.

She's not everyone's cup of tea. She's more subtle and quiet than most big awards performances. Anyways...

Ghost World
Lost in Translation
A Love Song for Bobby Long
Match Point
The Other Boleyn Girl
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

I don't think "one of the best" of her generation is terribly far off. Oh yeah, also VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE.

She's got a BAFTA, a Tony, and 4 GG noms.
TalkinLoud
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/09
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:39pm
Anyways, here's my thoughts on the production...

I normally wouldn't go to a first preview. I fully understand the "well if I'm paying full price, I can criticize it" mentality, but I tend to be more forgiving at the beginning. And that's where I stand with this production. It's definitely not there yet. BUT...I think in a few short weeks it will be there, very, very much so.

Walker and Monk are the closest of the main 4 to being there. Hinds goes in spats. Sometimes he's magnificent, and sometimes it doesn't seem like he knows what he's doing (or what accent he's doing).

I'm a big, big Scarlett Johansson fan, so I was anxious to see how she'd follow up her VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE performance. The first act, she's great (using a southern accent). The third act, it seems like she was doing her Brooklyn accent from VIEW! It was quite odd. But I'm sure that will be taken care of after a week or so of performances.

This was my first time seeing the play so I don't have anything to compare it to. But I am very anxious to revisit in a few weeks.
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:44pm
"You're going to try and use The Avengers as proof someone is a bad actress? Ha."

Exactly. If she's terrible in that... well then..
TalkinLoud
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/09
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:46pm
Because super hero movies are ideal showcases for talented actors?
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:54pm
I have to say, a part of me was afraid that Hinds would be reprising his role as Not Bill Clinton from Political Animals in this.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:58pm
I admit it's easy to assume that he was cast in this largely due to the slightly Big Daddy-ish character on P Animals.
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/18/12 at 11:59pm
I'm typically a Hinds fan, but god he was awful in that.
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 12:35am
TalkinLoud. You've missed my point completely.
Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 12:47am
Was there tonight as well and thought for the most part it was an excellent production.

Rob Ashford's direction does indeed get a little heavy handed - including the completely unnecessary gimmick of including the physical presence of Skipper- which is a distraction from the poetic lyricism of the text-but there is lots that gets it right - in particular the work of Johannson, an earthy, coarse Maggie, who nails already the complicated cadence of Maggie's first act 'monologue'- and Ben Walker who is probably the most consistently fine Brick I've witnessed ( a near impossible role). Debra Monk and Ciaran Hinds also do nice work.

This script utilized an adaptation that seemingly combined some elements from all three versions of the text- with an ending more sympathetic towards Brick and Maggie than I've encountered.

I think arguably this production could reach a little further into the poeticism of Williams' words- it's earthy quality is occasionally at the expense of the more lyrical passages of the piece- but it's definitely overall a very strong production of CAT and I recommend it strongly.
LimelightMike
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 12:51am
What's the set like? Is the stage high?
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)
musicman_bwayfan
Broadway Star
joined:6/5/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 01:20am
Did anyone stage door the show? Was there any merchandise there tonight (ex. posters)?

What was the running time this evening? I know it's on the longer end.
Updated On: 12/19/12 at 01:20 AM
ray-andallthatjazz86
Broadway Legend
joined:8/2/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 04:29am
It's so easy to dismiss Johansson because she's one of the biggest stars of the world, and she's the kind of performer who acts so natural on screen/stage that she makes it look effortless. First of all, I thought she was great in THE AVENGERS, she could sell the action sequences (something where a lot of actresses fail), she had great chemistry with the guys, and she got the humor of the show. Woody Allen brought out the best in her in MATCH POINT and VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA (where she's great and perfectly subdued in the least showy role). But it was her performance as Catherine in A VIEW...that proved she is indeed one of the best actresses of her generation, it wasn't a star turn, she disappeared in the role and worked so beautifully, was completely comfortable with letting it be Liev Schreiber's play, and still managed to provide so much complexity to her role. That was just a magical production, I can't wait to see what she does with Maggie in this production, it sounds very promising.
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 05:56am
Johannson has more innate stage craft than I ever would have expected from her bases on her film appearances. On screen, I've often felt like she is prone to a certain bag of actors tricks- including a tendency towards a rather flat monotone line delivery (which would have potentially been disastrous for Maggie's vocal demands in Act One) but happily none of that was on display last night; and I suspect when its all said and done, she will probably be the best Maggie we've had on Broadway since Elizabeth Ashley-- no small feat.

The set is beautiful and airy- there are some pictures on Instagram.
canmark
Broadway Legend
joined:3/14/07
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 06:45am
How does this production compare with the last Broadway revival, which featured Anika Noni Rose and Terrence Howard? I saw that production (although I saw it the week Terrence Howard was out and Boris Kodjoe was in) and thought it was rather conventional in direction and design (I did quite like Phylicia Rashad as Big Mama, though).

The casting for this production sounds good (and I'm glad to hear positive early reports). I'm curious about the costumes and the set.
Coach Bob knew it all along: you've got to get obsessed and stay obsessed. You have to keep passing the open windows. (John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire)
TalkinLoud
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/09
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 08:25am
musicman_bwayfan, I stage doored. I left at Scarlett came out. Debra has already come out. Not sure about Ben and Ciaran.

No merch yet.
AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 08:28am
I can't imagine that the Ghost of Skipper Past is any worse than the godawful sax player in the last revival.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
Auggie27
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/03
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 08:48am
The idea of a ghost Skipper would be giggle-inducing if it didn't seem so maddeningly contrary to the specific way Williams creates this particular world. This play's use of the unities -- it's performed in real time in one evening -- is its strength, one Williams was especially proud of and discussed*. It's actually one of his few attempts to adhere to the strictures of realism (and yes, I'm well aware he was not a naturalistic writer; CAT was his attempt to work with Aristotelian craft issues.) Though STREETCAR invites poetic flourishes -- the depiction of the French Quarter in the text is poetically textured -- CAT is built on putting real people in that bedroom in real time. A ghost on the periphery of the action sounds intrusive in extreme.

Such touches suggest direction that doesn't trust the text. Skipper's very much alive in the discussion, vivedly so, but who he was is part of the emotional suspense in the story. Part of the audience's journey is imagining how important Skipper was to Brick and Maggie. Seeing him -- rather than extending the theatricality -- actually hinders it.

Is this a new trend? Didn't Cromer drag in Blanche's dead husband in Chicago? Though I'm not in support of that intrusion either, in a strange way that at least makes some dramatic sense, as Blanche's hold on her mind and memory are a critical part of the story, and she is literally haunted by the man. Also, stylistically, Williams documents her efforts (the sound effect of the bullet is a haunting stage direction).

I'm sure someone has staged MENAGERIE with the father who fell in love with long distance lurking on the fire escape. Increasingly, it seems as if it takes artistic courage to let the play speak for the play.

*"...The play comes closest to being both a work of art and a work of craft. It is really well put together ... and all its characters are amusing and credible and touching ... it adheres to the valuable edict of Aristotle that a tragedy must have unity of time and place and magnitude of theme... Its running time is exactly the time of its action, and I know of no other modern American play in which this is accomplished..." Tennessee Williams, MEMOIRS, page 168.




"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Gary Shandling
Updated On: 12/19/12 at 08:48 AM
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 09:00am
Auggie, I think these are symptoms of directors not trusting modern audiences. It's not the playwright or the play itself that makes them doubtful.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
Updated On: 12/19/12 at 09:00 AM
madbrian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/1/06
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 09:01am
I have to disagree, at least a little. I think it is the directors needing to somehow put their personal stamp on an iconic piece.
"It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 09:03am
But it's the same literal-minded stamp occurring over and over again. It's hardly personal or unique to be so demonstrative, at this point.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
Updated On: 12/19/12 at 09:03 AM
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
First Preview of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Posted: 12/19/12 at 09:04am
"Increasingly, it seems as if it takes artistic courage to let the play speak for the play. "

I would say it takes respect for the author and a deflation of some gargantuan, presumptuous egos.

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