A Soldier's Play Previews

Fordham2015
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A Soldier's Play Previews#1
Posted: 12/27/19 at 10:04am

I didn't see a thread for this and figured I'd start one since I was at the invited dress last night. Previews officially begin tonight, with opening January 21 at the American Airlines Theatre.

Overall the show is in great shape- definitely more of an All My Sons than Rose Tattoo for Roundabout. 

Blair Underwood is an extremely charismatic lead who keeps the mystery involving the whole way through. He also takes his shirt off at the top of act two, which made the ladies in the audience swoon.

David Alan Grier and Jerry O'Connell each take characters that could've been stereotypes (the bloviating colonel and the racist captain, respectively) and invest them with a lot of depth.

Design is very simple- sliding wooden panels and beams a la Hamilton. There are jarring gunshot sound effects at the beginning and end.

Kenny Leon's direction is mostly unobtrusive, The one choice I wasn't totally on board with was that he tried to make it more "relevant" at the end by blasting rap music during the bows. The bows themselves are staged really inventively, though (the actors come forward like an army unit, complete with "Atten hut"A Soldier's Play Previews

The show ran about 1:55 including intermission- started at 7:10 after a short speech from Leon and finished at 9:05.

Updated On: 12/27/19 at 10:04 AM
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broadway86
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A Soldier's Play Previews#2
Posted: 12/27/19 at 2:18pm

Rose Tattoo was definitely tragic, but you're right, All My Sons was a very solid production. I like this play, and coupled with a shirtless Underwood, I'm in.

Updated On: 12/27/19 at 02:18 PM
kmissa
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A Soldier's Play Previews#3
Posted: 12/27/19 at 2:53pm
Shirtless Blair ❤️? <3.
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Jeffrey Karasarides
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A Soldier's Play Previews#4
Posted: 12/28/19 at 2:28pm

Any more reports people would like to share from the first preview?

Calcifer2
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A Soldier's Play Previews#5
Posted: 12/29/19 at 8:58am
I enjoy unbuttoned (not fully shirtless) Blair Underwood as much as the next person, but having him attempt to say lines while everyone is screaming is a bit silly and kind of messed up the flow.
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uncageg
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A Soldier's Play Previews#6
Posted: 12/29/19 at 9:44am

Calcifer2 said: "I enjoy unbuttoned (not fully shirtless) Blair Underwood as much as the next person, but having him attempt to say lines while everyone is screaming is a bit silly and kind of messed up the flow."

People were actually screaming?

 

Just give the world Love.
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TotallyEffed
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A Soldier's Play Previews#7
Posted: 12/29/19 at 10:27am
They screamed when he took his shirt off in that wretched production of Streetcar from like eight years ago.
Calcifer2
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A Soldier's Play Previews#8
Posted: 12/29/19 at 11:36am

uncageg said: "People were actually screaming?"

We could call it “clearly and loudly expressing appreciation” if screaming sounds a bit dramatic. But yes. 

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musikman
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A Soldier's Play Previews#9
Posted: 12/29/19 at 4:18pm

TotallyEffed said: "They screamed when he took his shirt off in that wretched production of Streetcar from like eight years ago."

That was the only time I’ve ever left a broadway production at intermission. I was thinking about how I could be doing my laundry rather than sitting in the theatre. 

-There's the muddle in the middle. There's the puddle where the poodle did the piddle."
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Jordan Catalano
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A Soldier's Play Previews#10
Posted: 12/29/19 at 4:24pm
My Most vivid memory of that “Streetcar” is the uproarious laughter from the audience during “the rape scene”. I’ll never forget sitting there wondering WTF was going on.
Zion24
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A Soldier's Play Previews#11
Posted: 12/29/19 at 5:38pm

i too had a poor experience seeing Streetcar in 2012 or whenever it was, with lots of hooting and hollering. but i really liked the production, and thought Nicole Ari Parker in particular was outstanding. 

SisterGeorge
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A Soldier's Play Previews#12
Posted: 12/29/19 at 5:55pm

Fordham2015 said: "Blair Underwood is an extremely charismatic lead who keeps the mystery involving the whole way through. He also takes his shirt off at the top of act two, which made the ladies in the audience swoon."

From your comment, sounds like Roundabout has very poor outreach to the LGBT community, and/or this particular play is only attracting straight audiences.

 

NJGUY
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A Soldier's Play Previews#13
Posted: 12/30/19 at 3:01pm

Saw it Saturday night.  An excellent production of a very good play. Nothing wrong with it. Sets, lighting, direction, staging, casting all spot on!  I predict strong reviews for this one!

And yes get rid of Blair U buttoning up his shirt at the top of Act 2--has no context to the play and the cat calls were ridiculous at the performance we saw.

Updated On: 12/30/19 at 03:01 PM
Hopelesslydevoted24
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A Soldier's Play Previews#14
Posted: 12/30/19 at 6:37pm
Slightly unrelated but TodayTix is having a flash sale for a Soldier’s Play. Just snagged $39 rear orchestra sides seat. Orchestra O, seat number 5.
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macnyc
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A Soldier's Play Previews#15
Posted: 12/30/19 at 7:14pm

I didn’t hear any catcalls at my performance Sunday afternoon. It was so quick. He walks downstage buttoning up his shirt. You can’t really see anything!

I loved the show and found it very moving. Performances were great all around. I loved that songs and stomping were added (I’m assuming. I didn’t see the original production). To me it subtly brought to mind the workhouses and chain gangs of yore.  

Our seats in Row C of the mezzanine were fine, very good view.  But good God, why didn’t Roundabout put a center aisle up there? I must have stood up 17 times to let people pass. We even had to stand up for someone who wasn’t in our row! How that seating passed the fire code, I don’t know. The next time I have tickets up there, I’m getting to my seat right before curtain. 

 

Updated On: 12/30/19 at 07:14 PM
Zion24
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A Soldier's Play Previews#16
Posted: 12/30/19 at 7:32pm

i love the mezzanine at that theater- I have seen shows from rear mezz and the sightlines are always great. its one of my favorites. But yes the length of the rows are particularly nuts- forget arrival/departure, anyone getting up to go to bathroom requires the equivalent of a WAVE at Shea Stadium

ArtMan
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A Soldier's Play Previews#17
Posted: 12/30/19 at 7:39pm

macnyc said: "I didn’t hear any catcalls at my performance Sunday afternoon. It was so quick. He walks downstage buttoning up his shirt. You can’t reallysee anything!

I loved the show and found it very moving. Performances were great all around. I loved that songs and stomping wereadded (I’m assuming. I didn’t see the original production).To me it subtly brought to mind the workhouses and chain gangs of yore.

Our seats in Row C of the mezzanine were fine, very good view. But good God, why didn’t Roundabout put a center aisle up there? I must have stood up 17 times to let people pass. Weeven had to stand up for someone who wasn’tin our row! How that seating passed the fire code, I don’t know.The next time I have tickets up there, I’m getting to my seatright before curtain.


"

At least you have the home training to know to stand up to let people pass.  The last couple of shows I have been to ( tour shows and concerts), at intermission, both the men and women just sit there and I have to squeeze my 6'3 body and size 12 feet, by them. I have come real close to stepping on their feet because the space is so tight.  They just look at me.

C4b2a3b
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A Soldier's Play Previews#18
Posted: 12/31/19 at 12:02am

How high is the stage? I was thinking about first or second row center orchestra, as I usually enjoy being up close. 

Zion24
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A Soldier's Play Previews#19
Posted: 1/2/20 at 12:36am

i was in the mezz but looked like the front rows had fine views.

unfamiliar with the play, i thought it was anti-climactically told. it has its moments, but the story at times felt stale giving where we are in 2020. That said, this is a top notch production from start to finish. The simple set is used well, and the flashy ending was powerful. Its in tight shape, runs smoothly- especially Act 1, which sorta flew by. 

the cast was great all around- Jerry O'Connell is doing understated, nonshowy work, and kudos to him. Nnamdi Asomugha is powerful, though of the supporting players I thought J. Alphonse Nicholson stole the show. But the play belong to the two leading men- Blair Underwood is solid- he spends alot of time observing or reacting to stories told to him but he lands his moments. But I thought David Alan Grier was a revelation in a very tricky role. He physically handled the role beautifully and broke my heart.

Underwood walks downstage at the top of the second act, buttoning up his shirt. The audience went wild- stopped the show and forced him to break character. I found it really frustrating, especially given the seriousness with which all the actors are treating this play, to have that bizarre moment of sexual hollering. I couldnt tell if Underwood's smile was polite way of getting it to stop, or him enjoying the moment but i will say this: there is simply no reason the production doesnt just eliminate this entirely. there is no plot point whatsoever in any way relevant to the buttoning of his shirt. if this is happening at every performance (as it seems from this thread), just button his damn shirt beforehand and let him deliver his lines?

FWIW, TDF Center Mezz C. It really is comical how long those rows are.  

nasty_khakis
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A Soldier's Play Previews#20
Posted: 1/2/20 at 10:57am

I saw this Monday night and really found it dull. 

The entire time I kept thinking there were only two possible "who dunnit?" solutions and was painfully right. There was no shock, emotion, OR empathy in who did it. Just kind of "yup." 

The staging was both uber simplistic and at times over-done. The musical moments never achieved anything beyond "ok" to justify their lengthy existence. My friend commented if they cut those the whole show would be a much healthier and brisker 100 minutes straight through.  

I didn't understand why he was buttoning up his shirt. Where was he coming from? Where was he going? Leon's direction was full of things like this. People doing things and walking places with no sense of purpose. If they're all going to constantly push their beds back, why not do it in exact precision, not at different speeds and times. 

Shocking to hear praise for O'Connell. That part is FULL of full blown cliche dialogue from any legal drama "you need to slow down, hot shot!" I guess it's good he didn't go full blown cackling screaming villain but to me, he never did anything except flub his lines. Every dramatic scene was full of cliche to a point I was holding in laughter. I don't think 40 years of tv legal dramas and mystery shows have helped this play since it all seemed like a typical "Murder, She Wrote" with Jessica visiting a friend in the Army. 

Much like "Young Man From Atlanta" I walked out of the theatre questioning how in the world this won a Pulizter. 

10086sunset
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A Soldier's Play Previews#21
Posted: 1/2/20 at 12:26pm

While there were parts of the play and production I thought were enjoyable enough, it ultimately left me feeling flat.

Tend to agree with much of what Nasty khakis stated, as I also found it pretty dull.

While Underwood was fine enough, I just couldn't take O'Connell seriously.  Going against the popular belief, I thought David Alan Grier was woefully miscast. His character is so central to the play working, I just did not believe he was successful portraying a man who was desperate to be accepted by the white world.

nasty_khakis
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A Soldier's Play Previews#22
Posted: 1/2/20 at 12:33pm

10086sunset said: "While Underwood was fine enough, I just couldn't take O'Connell seriously. Going against the popular belief, I thought David Alan Grier was woefully miscast. His character is so central to the play working, I just did not believe he was successful portraying a man who was desperate to be accepted by the white world."

Totally. He played a total clown, not a monster the character really should be. The character says some funny lines, sure, but he should also be enough of a jerk this entire unit wants dead.

Zion24
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A Soldier's Play Previews#23
Posted: 1/3/20 at 2:29am

nasty_khakis said: "I saw this Monday night and really found it dull.

The entire time I kept thinking there were only two possible "who dunnit?" solutions and was painfully right. There was no shock, emotion, OR empathy in who did it. Just kind of "yup.
"

Even though I enjoyed this more than you did, i agree with this. the play is weak and i like the way you phrased it: its a whodunit but there are few options, and you can see the end coming a mile away. the first act flew by because the mystery remained, I guess, but the 2nd Act slogged once it was clear what was happening.

to each their own, and i certainly can see the musical interludes and O'Connell not being everyone's cup of tea. But i am shocked to read that anyone thought David Alan Grier played a clown. From the first scene (obviously) to the end, Grier was dead serious. he gutted me. shrug emoji

kevinr
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A Soldier's Play Previews#24
Posted: 1/3/20 at 9:08am

Curious what the stage door is like for this show.....busy?  

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A Soldier's Play Previews#25
Posted: 1/3/20 at 6:53pm

JDonaghy4 said: "Even though I enjoyed this more than you did, i agree with this. the play is weak"

The play is weak? I mean, I haven’t seen it, but it won the Pulitzer Prize. Just sayin’.