Review Roundup: TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS at the Public Theater
The Public Theater presents the encore engagement of Tiny Beautiful Things, part of The Public's Astor Anniversary Season at their landmark downtown home on Lafayette Street, celebrating 50 years of new work at 425 Lafayette Street and the 50th Anniversary of HAIR.
Based on the book by Cheryl Strayed, adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos, co-conceived by Marshall Heyman, Thomas Kail, and Nia Vardalos, and directed by Thomas Kail, the show began previews in The Public's Newman Theater on Tuesday, September 19 and will now run an additional four weeks through Sunday, December 10.
The complete cast of Tiny Beautiful Things features Teddy Cañez, Ceci Fernandez, DeLance Minefee, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Nia Vardalos, and Natalie Woolams-Torres. TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS features scenic design by Rachel Hauck, costume design by Jennifer Moeller, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, and sound design by Jill BC Du Boff.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Michael Dale, BroadwayWorld: With no dramatic through-line, Vardalos and Kail establish rhythms and tension by balancing the funny with the emotional, the quick Q&As with the lengthy confessionals. As Sugar, Vardalos is continually touched, amused and amazed by her readers, and conveys the feeling that she can see them collectively as a singular person to be cared for and cherished, hoping that they'll always see themselves as deserving of life's Tiny Beautiful Things.
Steven Suskin, Huffington Post: Whether it be the revisions, the cast changes, or simply the luxury of two months of prior playing time, Tiny Beautiful Things plays considerably better now than the first time round. It was better-than-adequate before, mind you; Vardalos made an ingratiating and skilled guide to the world of a contemporary advice columnist. So it mattered little that the hour-and-a-half was low on stage-drama. It is understandably difficult to be dramatic when your evening consists of questions and answers; drama comes more readily when questions pile up until the characters can figure out the answers.
Sara Holdren, Vulture: If the show isn't as effective as it could be, it's because of the twofold difficulty of theatricalizing a series of, at the time, anonymous advice columns. Vardalos plays Strayed (a.k.a. Sugar) on a set by Rachel Hauck that realistically renders a lived-in, appealingly cluttered kitchen, dining area, and sitting room: This is her house, her space. She wears a faded CBGB T-shirt with slippers and pajama pants, her hair up in a messy bun - the I'm-not-leaving-the-house uniform of a writer who lives at her laptop (the unaffected costumes are by Jennifer Moeller).
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus