Review Roundup: UNCLE VANYA, Starring David Cromer

This limited engagement of 16 performances for just 40 audience members a night runs through July 16, 2023.

By: Jul. 07, 2023
Review Roundup: UNCLE VANYA, Starring David Cromer
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Tony and Olivier-winning OHenry Productions just celebrated opening night of its hyper-intimate production of Uncle Vanya staged by rising-star director Jack Serio (This Beautiful Future, On Set With Theda Bara). This limited engagement of 16 performances for just 40 audience members a night runs through July 16 at a private loft in the Flatiron District.

Tony-winner David Cromer as Vanya leads an all-star cast that includes Will Brill as Astrov, Julia Chan as Yelena, Will Dagger as Telegin, Tony-nominee Marin Ireland as Sonya, two-time Tony-winner Bill Irwin as Serebryakov, Nathan Malin as Yefim, Ann McDonough as Maria, and Virginia Wing as Marina.

Uncle Vanya sees the lives of Sonya, her uncle, and a visiting doctor disrupted by the arrival of Sonya's father, Professor Serebryakov, and his restless new wife, the beautiful Yelena. Using Paul Schmidt's seminal translation, Serio stages a hyper-intimate new production of Chekhov's masterpiece at a private loft in the Flatiron District for just 40 audience members a night. This radical new staging highlights the immediacy and profound humanity of Chekhov's enduring classic.

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Laura Collins-Hughes, New York Times: Stunning visuals — like those petals and that candlelit tête-à-tête — are a hallmark of Serio’s work. The lighting designer Stacey Derosier, who was instrumental to the look of his “On Set With Theda Bara” early this year and “This Beautiful Future” last year, also designed “Uncle Vanya.” But what glows most tantalizingly in this production is the pulsing electricity between the tender, resilient Sonya and the tree-planting Astrov, who is far too casual with her heart. If only he could love her the way he loves the forest.

Elysa Gardner, New York Sun: A few nights ago, I sat close enough to the great stage actor Bill Irwin to give him a dirty look he could have spotted with ease had his focus been on me. It wasn’t intentional, or even personal; I was just reacting to Mr. Irwin playing the arrogant, whiny professor Serebryakov, the most patently, comically loathsome of the complex and beautifully drawn characters in “Uncle Vanya,” in a production staged for only 40 attendees in a loft at Manhattan’s Flatiron District.

Melissa Rose Bernardo, New York Stage Review: You might be just an arm’s length away from any or all of the action: When bored-bored-bored Vanya (Tony-winning director David Cromer, in a rare acting appearance) slumps in a chair like a sullen schoolboy; when the pompous Professor Serebryakov (two-time Tony winner Bill Irwin, relishing the role of fussbudget) gripes about his rheumatism; when his much younger and very stylish wife, Yelena (Julia Chan), swans in, wearing a billowy Barbie-pink sundress or an Issey Miyake–style tunic-trouser set; when Astrov (Will Brill), doctor by day, conservationist by night, gives one of his impassioned environmental speeches (“The forests are disappearing one by one, the rivers are polluted, wildlife is becoming extinct, the climate is changing for the worse, every day the planet gets poorer and uglier”); when the professor’s daughter, Vanya’s hardworking niece, Sonya (Marin Ireland, never better), stares dreamily at Astrov; when he declares his infatuation with Yelena; when Vanya repeatedly proclaims his love for Yelena. “What is it about you men?” Yelena asks Vanya in frustration. “You can’t leave a woman alone until she belongs to you!”

Lane Williamson, Exuent NYC: In an absolute triumph, Jack Serio’s production of Uncle Vanya not only hits that exact pinpoint, but lives in it, somehow elongating a fleeting feeling into two and a half hours. There is a relentless yearning filling the 40-seat loft where this unmatched company of actors makes Chekhov’s play a piece of vital storytelling. Paul Schmidt’s translation is shockingly current for a 26-year-old interpretation of a 125-year-old play and Serio’s production amplifies that. Some things (unrequited love, a hopeless unfulfillment with life, climate change) are timeless.

Photo Credit: Emilio Madrid


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