Review Roundup: Geffen Playhouse's KEY LARGO, Starring Andy Garcia
Geffen Playhouse presents the world premiere adaptation of Key Largo, directed by Tony Award winner Doug Hughes (Doubt, Farragut North) and featuring Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia (Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, The Godfather: Part III) as Johnny Rocco. The Geffen Playhouse production is adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher and Andy Garcia, based on the play by Maxwell Anderson and the screenplay by Richard Brooks & John Huston. Original music is composed by 10-time GRAMMY Award winner and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Arturo Sandoval.
Welcome to the eye of the storm! Key Largo is a bold reimagining of Maxwell Anderson's Broadway hit that became the iconic noir film starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Returning from World War II, disillusioned Frank McCloud travels to a hotel in Key Largo to pay his respects to the widow of a fallen friend. What McCloud doesn't count on is an entirely different battle with mobsters who have overtaken the hotel, led by the ruthless Johnny Rocco. As a hurricane barrels toward the Keys, McCloud must face his demons in order to take down a monster.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Shari Barrett, BroadwayWorld: Thanks to the skill of Mr. Garcia to dominate the action with his presence, eye-catching, post-World War II period-perfect costumes designed by Linda Cho which certainly add lots of flash to character portrayals, and the skill of director Doug Hughes and fight choreographer Steve Rankin, the raging intensity both outside and inside the KEY LARGO Hotel will keep audiences on the edge of their seats throughout the production, even though most probably know how the story will end, given the popularity of the 1948 film.
Charles McNulty, LA Times: Garcia's high voltage portrayal of mobster Johnny Rocco infuses the play with crackling vitality. Taking on the role that Robinson played with his imitable tough guy swagger, Garcia paints a gangster portrait more along the lines of those created over the years by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The entrance applause that Garcia is showered with, an embrace for an actor who received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in "The Godfather: Part III," is more than earned by his commanding, stage-shaking turn. Mixing menace and flamboyant humor, sleaze and sophistication, he makes Rocco live anew.
Jordan, Riefe, Hollywood Reporter: For most fans, the reason to see Key Largo is Garcia, who is the play's spark in the beginning and fire in the end. Creepily cavorting, he exudes what Rocco would call charm and the rest of us would call anything but. "Any man he couldn't corrupt, he terrified, and he murdered the rest," is how moll Gaye Dawn (Joely Fisher) describes him. Rocco is the engine that drives this adaptation of the play; without him it would wither like a leaky balloon. And while he is the play's life-giver, he is also the taker, leaving Little Room for dramatic possibilities between McCloud and Nora, the heart of the material.
Alisa Hayashida, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The entrance applause that Garcia is showered with, an embrace for an actor who received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in a?oeThe Godfather: Part III,a?? is more than earned by his commanding, stage-shaking turn. Mixing menace and flamboyant humor, sleaze and sophistication, he makes Rocco live anew." target="_blank">South Pasadenan: Andy Garcia leads a strong cast and the electricity kicks up a notch the moment he takes the stage. At turns charming, funny and dangerous, Garcia infuses gangster Johnny Rocco with an unpredictability that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The sultry Joely Fisher is pitch perfect as Gaye, a sexy songstress whose time has passed. She poignantly walks that line of being a drunk while still hanging on to the beauty and talent she once possessed. Rose McIver is an earnest Nora who has nice chemistry with the handsome and mysterious Danny Pino as McCloud.
Photo Credit: Jeff Lorch