Printer Friendly - GOLDEN BOY Reviews

Posted by LimelightMike 2012-12-06 14:36:33

Today is Thursday, December 6, marking the official opening night performance of Golden Boy, Clifford Odets' 1937 drama about a young musician who takes a gamble on his own artistic dreams when he enters the boxing ring, at the Belasco Theatre. Seth Numrich stars in the central role of Joe Bonaparte in Lincoln Center Theater's 75th anniversary revival, under the direction of LCT resident director Bartlett Sher, which began Broadway previews November 9. The original production premiered at the Belasco in 1937.

According to LCT, "Golden Boy is the story of Joe Bonaparte, a young, gifted violinist who is torn between pursuing a career in music and earning big money as a prize fighter."

Posted by iluvtheatertrash 2012-12-06 20:35:42

Mixed, but mostly negative from Matthew Murray:

Posted by iluvtheatertrash 2012-12-06 20:36:33

AMNY gives it 3 stars:

Posted by iluvtheatertrash 2012-12-06 20:38:31

A rave from Backstage:

I loved it, and plan to see it a second time. Shaloub's performance is especially remarkable. I hope to see it get more notices like this.

Posted by Tom-497 2012-12-06 21:17:15

Newsday is extremely positive.

But subtlety is beside the point at the enormously satisfying anniversary revival at the Belasco Theatre where, 75 years ago, the work's hard-boiled style brought Odets his own uneasy fame and fortune. The point of this Lincoln Center Theater production is the rare opportunity to see a pivotal American period piece staged deeply into the period by Bartlett Sher ("South Pacific") with a huge, expert cast that only a nonprofit can afford to showcase with such luxurious dedication today on Broadway.

Posted by Tom-497 2012-12-06 21:21:18

AP is very positive.

A dazzling revival of Clifford Odets' "Golden Boy" opened Thursday, still packing a punch after 75 years. Tyson could do well to watch how to successfully put together a show about the rise and fall of a boxer.

This Lincoln Center Theater production, directed with verve and spark by Bartlett Sher, is appropriately housed at the Belasco Theater, the same place where it premiered in 1937.

Posted by Tom-497 2012-12-06 21:26:33

Hollywood Reporter (David Rooney) is extremely positive.

With its cast of 19 and running time of close to three hours, Golden Boy belongs to a breed of American drama rarely seen in major productions in this age of the small-company, single-set economy. Sher and his actors allow Odets’ words to breathe and his characters to acquire three-dimensional form. The result is majestic theater.

Posted by Tom-497 2012-12-06 21:45:49

Entertainment Weekly is a B+.

In the play's opening act (the show runs nearly three hours with two intermissions), Odets' razor-edge dialogue sets the drama in motion so intelligently and with such casual wit that each scene practically demands its own curtain call. It isn't until the third act that weighty moral issues drag the show down from its high spirits. But by then you'll be seduced fully enough by director Bartlett Sher's light-footed pace and Michael Yeargan's evocatively lean sets to root for Golden Boy to the final round.

Posted by Tom-497 2012-12-06 22:26:29

WSJ is extremely positive.

Except for a 1964 musical version that starred Sammy Davis Jr., "Golden Boy" hasn't been seen on Broadway since 1952. Now Lincoln Center Theater has brought it back to the Belasco Theater, where the play was first performed 75 years ago, and given it a production of the utmost splendor and compulsion. Watching it is like standing in front of a blowtorch.

Posted by Tom-497 2012-12-06 22:32:52

NYT (Isherwood) is very positive but has some reservations.

Throughout this blistering Lincoln Center Theater production, directed by Bartlett Sher and featuring a superb cast of almost 20 actors — a rare feast on Broadway these days — we watch in anguished anticipation as Joe struggles with a defining question...

Golden Boy” is at times dragged down by predictable plot mechanics that obscure the ripped-from-the-gut honesty that glittered more fiercely in earlier Odets plays. Some passages are too bluntly written, tapping out the play’s moral message in telegraphic language that makes you wince....

But even the play’s pulpier excesses (the vaguely homosexual investor Eddie Fuseli, played by an oily Anthony Crivello) are brought home with conviction by the cast. And Mr. Sher effectively spotlights the play’s emotional center in Joe’s agonizing fluctuations between pride and shame, tenderness and rage.

Posted by Tom-497 2012-12-06 22:40:50

USA Today is 4 out of 4.

Numrich's riveting performance as Joe Bonaparte -- a violinist who sells his sensitive, artistic soul for a glamorous and lucrative boxing career -- is only one feature that makes this Lincoln Center Theater staging of Clifford Odets' 1937 play a must-see. Director Barlett Sher, who has helmed superb productions of American classics ranging from South Pacific to Joe Turner's Come And Gone, has once again compiled a first-rate cast and captured the excitement and emotional resonance that make such works timeless.

Posted by SondheimFan5 2012-12-06 22:43:07

Isherwood's reservations seem to be more about the play itself than about the production.

Posted by Tom-497 2012-12-06 22:46:38

Variety is extremely positive.

... Bartlett Sher returns to the helm with a dynamite version of "Golden Boy." It's no act of charity, either, because the show is killer good....

Although Odets' writing is as tough and punchy -- and surprisingly graceful -- as Joe's boxing style, there's always the danger that his strongly defined characters would come across as one-dimensional types. But Sher shrewdly encourages his big ensemble cast to take a few risks and explore the more subtle shades of their characters.

Everyone takes the direction, even for a minor character like Mr. Carp, the neighbor who spends hours in philosophical argument with Joe's uneducated but intellectually inquisitive father. Jonathan Hadary's gem of a perf puts a face on a whole generation of European immigrants who came to this country as pioneers.

And that's probably what makes this revival such a moving experience -- the sense that the company took up residence in this difficult period of America's history and saw it through the eyes of their characters.

Posted by Tom-497 2012-12-06 22:51:57

New Jersey Newsroom is very positive.

Bartlett Sher, the director of Lincoln Center Theater’s vivid revival, assembles a marvelous group of 19 actors to bring these people to life. Dressed almost too well by Catherine Zuber, they vibrantly perform the play within settings by Michael Yeargan and moody lighting by Donald Holder that makes every scene beautifully glimmer like a Reginald Marsh painting of 1930s New York.

The production’s exceptional looks are matched by performances that swiftly drive the three-act play like the Deusenberg roadster that Joe Bonaparte buys with his first winnings. Under Sher’s direction, the actors fearlessly give vent to the heightened language and burning emotions by which Odets transformed a Manhattan melodrama into an American tragedy.

Posted by Tom-497 2012-12-06 22:55:39

Bloomberg/Businessweek is 2.5 out of 5 (but mostly negative, I'd say).

The scenery wouldn’t budge at Wednesday night’s performance of “Golden Boy” just before the big Act III finale, leeching the last bit of dramatic tension from an evening that had none to spare....

More than the scenery is creaky in Bartlett Sher’s good-looking but oddly cast and unengaging production.

Posted by Tom-497 2012-12-06 23:02:34

NY Post is 3 out of 4.

Bartlett Sher, who also directed the 2006 revival of Odets’ “Awake and Sing!,” doesn’t always succeed in suggesting the story’s tragic full scope, but his production has many assets. Michael Yeargan’s sets and Donald Holder’s lighting magically summon 50 shades of tough-guy gray, and some of the boxing scenes look like animated versions of George Bellows’ paintings.

The excellent supporting cast also makes the most of Odets’ mix of naturalism and poetry. Shalhoub, in particular, creates a quietly proud rendering of Mr. Bonaparte, a loving, reserved father disappointed by what his son has become.

Posted by aaronb 2012-12-07 17:26:32

I liked it, though I thought it wore a little thin after a while: "There is, admittedly, an antique charm to the production. The costumes by Catherine Zuber (loud suits, large hats) are gorgeous and the diorama-like scenic design by Michael Yeargan presents a New York that is a succession of two-dimensional backgrounds. It is the kind of show that appeals to those who did not grow up in the ‘thirties—or the ‘forties, ‘fifties, ‘sixties, or ‘seventies, for that matter—but who nonetheless feel an odd nostalgia for that decade, perhaps through exposure to the classic Hollywood movies that Odets held in such contempt. Ultimately, however, charm alone cannot sustain this nearly three-hour play, and its one note gradually begins to sound like nothing at all."