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Dinner with Friends Previews

BrooklynGuy
Swing
joined:6/25/13
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/19/14 at 09:53am
Hello. Today I'll be attending the matinee of the show. I was wondering if anyone has taken in preview, and has any thoughts.
HBBrock
Broadway Star
joined:6/11/07
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/21/14 at 09:45am
So? How was it? Has anyone else seen this yet?
Billy Bigelow
Chorus Member
joined:8/28/13
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/21/14 at 04:03pm
I too am very curious what people think.
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MKunkel
Understudy
joined:2/14/12
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/24/14 at 08:38pm
Anyone seen this yet and can report back? I am thinking of buying tickets but wanted to hear how it was first.
BrooklynGuy
Swing
joined:6/25/13
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/24/14 at 10:43pm
Thoroughly enjoyed the production. Delightful performances all around, in particular the chemistry shared between Hinkle and Shamos. Each performance was layered with great depth, with a rather remarkable transformation from the present back to the twelve years prior, back to the couples' treasured summers at Martha's Vineyard. Would recommend for one seeking a thought provoking witty piece, with great heart.
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iluvtheatertrash
Broadway Legend
joined:11/9/04
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/25/14 at 08:26am
It's always been a wonderful play. But Pam McKinnon's production elevates it more than ever. It's magnificently staged, designed and acted. There is a stunning moment at the top of Act 2, when we flashback to Tom and Beth's first meeting on the Vineyard. The set, a bleak white backdrop, transforms into a swirling, massive painting of sky, land and the Vineyard. It's beautiful and gasp-worthy.

SPOILER: In a powerful moment in the final scene, we realize that the same giant backdrop at the top of Act II I just mentioned has been transformed into a tiny painting that hangs above Gabe and Karen's bed. Their history either looming over there forebodingly, or always there to ground them and bring them back to why they got married in the first place. It's powerful and subtle.

Really well done. It'll only get stronger before opening.
"I know now that theatre saved my life." - Susan Stroman
jas1234
Understudy
joined:9/3/11
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/26/14 at 07:15pm
Can't wait to see this. I've always liked the play and Pam McKinnon is one of the most authentic and exciting new directors on Broadway. After "Clybourne Park" and "Virginia Woolf", she has to be considered the genuine article. She's doing the new Bruce Norris play at Steppenwolf later this year--knowing of her association with Edward Albee, it would be great if she could tackle another one of his plays: "Three Tall Women" or "A Delicate Balance."
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WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/29/14 at 06:03pm
I saw this last night and also very much enjoyed it. Pam MacKinnon is indeed proving herself to be one of the best directors around; The Lying Lesson's faults had nothing to do with her, and this production certainly puts her back on the Virginia Woolf track. She clearly is an actor's director and the performances, especially Jeremy Shamos' excellent work, really shine. For me this is easily one of the best productions of a play that Roundabout has produced in several seasons. Can they keep MacKinnon on retainer like Lincoln Center does with Bart Sher?

As I mentioned, I LOVED Shamos' performance. So warm and funny, yet all the while being understated and introspective. He was definitely prepping to stand in for Max von Sydow in any number of Bergman's films. Marin Hinkle also did some very nice work as his wife, Karen. Their final scene together couldn't have been better.

Darren Pettie has the most difficult role to play, and I never found Tom sympathetic or likable in the least. I think that was ultimately MacKinnon's point, and it's certainly supported by the text, but I was set against him and never really understood where the character was coming from. Heather Burns had a stronger second act than the first, but I think it will get there. Her scene with Hinkle on the patio in act two was awesome.

I thought a lot about Time Stands Still while watching Dinner With Friends and could see Laura Linney and Brian d'Arcy James standing in for Karen and Gabe and Alicia Silverstone and Eric Bogosian as Beth and Tom.

In the doldrums of January this is one to see!
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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amyatthetheatre
Swing
joined:12/10/13
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/29/14 at 06:16pm
Saw an early preview and LOVED it. I enjoyed sitting by Pam McKinnon and watching her take in the audience's reaction—which was a surprisingly boisterous one. She and the cast have found some real, aching humor in the play, which continued to surprise me (I thought I was in for something a little more schematic). The cast did show a little uncertainty in the scenes containing the most dramatic swerves, and some of the show's technical elements (especially Allen Moyer's sets, which were spot-on in idea but not in execution) came off bumpy. The two female leads shone most, and I was especially drawn to Heather Burns, who navigates a tricky part very well. She also has the unfair advantage of seeming agelessness. Both men seemed physically unsure of themselves (that's my evaluation as a one-time actor) but nevertheless brought some really compelling moments to the table. Can't wait to catch it later in the run, when it surely will have matured. It's on its way to being extraordinary!

Also, first post on the board! Been a frequent reader for a while, but decided it was my time to jump in.

Updated On: 1/29/14 at 06:16 PM
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macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/29/14 at 06:22pm
^^^ Welcome! I look forwarding to reading more of your posts!
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WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/29/14 at 06:33pm
I second the welcome, Amy.

I'm happy to tell you that the bumpy set changes have been ironed out as everything transitioned very smoothly last night. I thought the sets were great too, with the first scene of act two being a highlight.

Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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amyatthetheatre
Swing
joined:12/10/13
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/29/14 at 06:43pm
I loved that scene, too! Conceptually and physically awesome. I'm happy to hear the movement has improved—I loved the grey of all the surroundings and just wished the transitions would've been smoother (and therefore maybe more haunting). The neurotic in me winced at the bar in the final scene between the two men, which was too long for the platform beneath it.

On another note, I'd be very interested to see what McKinnon (and maybe some members of this cast) could do with Betrayal, especially given my disappointment in the Nichols revival.

Updated On: 1/29/14 at 06:43 PM
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ClydeBarrow
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/12
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 1/29/14 at 06:48pm
I must say that I have a dissenting opinion on the play. I found it to be just OK. Honestly it just came off as a lot of white people b!tching about rather pedantic things. One of the things that probably took a lot of the impact away from me was that when I saw the show there was a technical difficulty at the opening of Act II which caused them to pause for almost 45 mins. This was actually the first time I've ever been to a show where something like this has happened.

I did enjoy all of the performances though and thought the women outshone the men. While I think Jeremy Shamos is a great actor I do feel like most of his performances are kind of the same (i.e. CLYBOURNE and ASSEMBLED).

I do agree with others that Pam MacKinnon is one of the best directors of today and will see anything she is a part of.
"Pardon my prior Mcfee slip. I know how to spell her name. I just don't know how to type it." -Talulah
PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 2/6/14 at 12:39am
simply a home run, I have zero complaints about this production as Pam Mackinnon once again proves why she is one of the best directors in this town and certainly made a great choice after taking home a Tony for Virginia Woolf. Jeremy Shamos also again nails it and turns in a fantastic performance as does the rest of the cast which shows just how well this 14 year old pulitzer winning dramedy about marriage holds up.
AndersonTours
Understudy
joined:12/19/10
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 2/6/14 at 12:47am
I think MacKinnon is a terrific director. You feel safe in her hands. And the set is wonderful given the confines of that space. I thought the performances were all good. I am starting to find that Shamos is doing the same thing he always does. He's talented, but you could have seen him give the same performance in his last few plays.
I'm being picky, but I'd love to see him try something different.
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macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 2/6/14 at 11:30pm
I loved this show and this production. I think it may help that I am in a marriage of long duration, with all of the nicks and dents caused by time's passage, and the material really spoke to me. The performances I thought were excellent. I had seen Jeremy Shamos in Clybourne Park and The Assembled Parties and thought he was good, but I think he really brought it home here. Great sets too, and the scene changes were flawless. The Laura Pels is the perfect size for this intimate show.

Updated On: 2/6/14 at 11:30 PM
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WiCkEDrOcKS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/04
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 2/8/14 at 05:19pm
This was my first exposure to the play and I really enjoyed it. It hits some lulls, particularly at times during the penultimate scene, but everything else is so good, it's hard to complain. The quartet of performers is wonderful, Pam MacKinnon's direction is reliably fantastic, and the sets are smartly-designed. After TALLEY'S FOLLY, which I found incredibly overrated, and the pretty painful BAD JEWS, this is a very welcome tenant at the Laura Pels. And, for my money, its one of Roundabout's better offerings in quite some time. Absolutely well-worth seeing.
Current Avatar: Tony-winner Idina Menzel, delivering a sucker-punch of an 11:00 number, "Always Starting Over," in IF/THEN.
tom2000a
Chorus Member
joined:11/10/12
Dinner with Friends Previews
Posted: 2/9/14 at 01:53pm
I saw this last week. I am a little embarrassed to say I had never heard of the play. I did not know it had won the Pulitzer until after the show when I read the Playbill. At intermission I thought.. the actors are really wonderful but the play is not that deep. I really loved the second act and by the end thought it was a wonderful play. It is very subtle and haunting in a way. The end scene with the two of them in bed, both scared and clinging to each other, was really lovely. Again, the acting was just terrific. The scene with the two women in the second act was surprising and amazing. It's a really great production. I am not sure why the set would cause problems that could cause a 45 minute delay! There is nothing new about the technology. Just some sets being pushed on and off. I enjoyed Bad Jews very much, I thought Talley's Folly was boring... although the set was really great, but Dinner With Friends was really lovely theatre.

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