Page: 1

Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY

Yankeefan007
Broadway Legend
joined:3/20/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/20/04
Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#1
Posted: 7/2/08 at 7:01pm
Pawhuska, Oklahoma never really struck me as the "in-spot" of civilization until I saw the almost entirely sold out Music Box Theatre. I didn't specifically intend to see Tracy Letts' modern masterpiece with the "new" cast - I accompanied someone who hadn't seen it (one of the few theatergoers in NYC who hadn't.)

In November or December, whenever I saw it the first time, I felt the play was dominated by the Amy Morton, who, while "running things," overshadowed everyone in the cast. Like a fine wine, the original cast members (Mariann Mayburry, Brian Kerwin, Kimberly Guierro, etc.) have gotten better with age. Morton, whose performance was remarkable and over the top (in a good way), has toned it down a great deal, bringing much more subtlety and pathos to the part.

Who dominates the play now? The tremendous Estelle Parsons. Parsons couldn't be more different from Deanna Dunagan, who played the role of Violet almost as a sickly, raving loon. Parsons' Violet isn't sickly or insane - she's just a miserable woman, driven into misery through her life, and determined to make everyone around her miserable if opportunity knocks. She's a bubbly, friendly creature (unless she's in a stoned stupor)...but when the volcano erupts, she makes 'em wish they never started breathing.

Of the new cast members, only Michael McCarthy (replacing the late Dennis Letts) didn't thrill me, for the fact that I couldn't understand a single damn thing he said. Robert Foxworth and Frank Wood are very worthy additions, as is Jim True-Frost (whose chemistry with adorable Sally Murphy is great). Molly Regan isn't as much of a scene stealer as Rondi Reed, and I think that she wouldn't have gotten as much attention (as Reed) if she had originated the role.

The first act felt a bit long - especially the opening monologue, which seemed to drag and drag and drag. Some of the plot points are clunky, soap opera-like, but the bigger twists still garner gasps from the crowd.

All in all, well worth the flight to Oklahoma, if you ask me.
Updated On: 7/2/08 at 07:01 PM
frogs_fan85 Profile Photofrogs_fan85 Profile Photo
frogs_fan85
Broadway Legend
joined:12/3/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
12/3/05
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#2
Posted: 7/2/08 at 7:53pm
" I accompanied someone who hadn't seen it (one of the few theatergoers in NYC who hadn't.) "

That's how I ended up seeing it again early last month. tsk tsk, at least those regular theatergoers have caught up to the rest of us, lol.

I agree with you about Dennis Letts' replacement, he was fairly unintelligible during his scene at the top of the show. The second time around I was able to focus a lot more on the secondary characters and found myself even more riveted by Ivy and Little Charles. I didn't really like Molly Ranson as Jean, she played it way too over the top. I found Maddy Martin much more subtle and effective. I might go back soon to catch the replacement cast just to see the differences and it's good to hear that this new set of actors are up to snuff, so to speak.
Yankeefan007
Broadway Legend
joined:3/20/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/20/04
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#2
Posted: 7/2/08 at 8:07pm
Funny, I enjoyed Molly Ranson and found Maddy Martin to be incredibly annoying.
verynewyorkcurious Profile Photoverynewyorkcurious Profile Photo
verynewyorkcurious
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/08
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/08
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#3
Posted: 7/3/08 at 12:31am
I've mentioned before that I don't care for the new Beverly Weston (whose name is Michael McGuire by the way, Yankeefan). I didn't get to see Dennis Letts in the role. I think I went to the show after his last one. There may have been an emergency because there wasn't even an understudy slip that night. His understudy was very good compared to the current actor.

I'm with frogs_fan on Molly Ranson. I had seen Madeleine Martin 3 times as Jean, and her voice makes the role. She also had the timing down, which Molly Ranson did not. A lot of things she said went over the audiences' heads. Molly Ranson was good at the crying and the screaming though.

I am looking forward very much to seeing Estelle Parson as Violet. I don't think I'm gonna see the play again until Amy Morton leaves. She was amazing but I've already seen her 4 times. I tend to overdo it.
RentBoy86
Broadway Legend
joined:2/15/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/15/05
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#4
Posted: 7/3/08 at 12:51am
How did the show feel in the Imperial vs. the Music Box?
verynewyorkcurious Profile Photoverynewyorkcurious Profile Photo
verynewyorkcurious
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/08
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/08
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#5
Posted: 7/3/08 at 12:55am
I like it better at the Music Box. It's a great theatre. The set is scaled down a little, but other than that, there are no changes. The Imperial was too big for the play during weekdays.
RentBoy86
Broadway Legend
joined:2/15/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/15/05
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#6
Posted: 7/3/08 at 12:59am
It's def. on my list to see when I come into New York. I'm stupid for missing it with the original cast, but whatever. It sounds like it should still be a great evening.
uncageg Profile Photouncageg Profile Photo
uncageg
Broadway Legend
joined:5/13/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/13/04
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#7
Posted: 7/3/08 at 1:42am
I saw Dennis Letts...probably one of his last shows
Just give the world Love.
Yankeefan007
Broadway Legend
joined:3/20/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/20/04
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#8
Posted: 7/3/08 at 7:29am
The show is a helluva lot more affecting in the Music Box. Even in the last row of the mezzanine, you fell like you're on top of the stage. (For the record, I was dead center in Row E and it was PERFECT, except for the woman with huge hair in front of me.)
shesamarshmallow
Broadway Legend
joined:3/23/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/23/06
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#9
Posted: 7/3/08 at 7:34am
I kind of feel that Molly Ransom gives the exact same performance as Madeleine, but doesn't have the inherit weirdness to merit it.

Jim True-Frost is ridiculously attractive. Almost too so for the role. But I forgive it. That cast can use eye candy.

The only new addition I disliked was Frank Wood. Good actor, just not for this show. His voice bugged.

broadwayunderstudies.com - most underrated performers on broadway
Borstalboy Profile PhotoBorstalboy Profile Photo
Borstalboy
Broadway Legend
joined:2/9/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/9/04
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#10
Posted: 7/3/08 at 9:16am
Oh, I have had a total boner for Jim True-Frost since SINGLES. Wouldn't mind seeing this again with Parsons in the role.
"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing. ~ Muhammad Ali
Patash Profile PhotoPatash Profile Photo
Patash
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/08
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/27/08
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#11
Posted: 7/3/08 at 1:36pm
I had no trouble understanding Michael McGuire at all, but the people behind me at intermission were all saying they didn't understand him at all. I did find the scene a bit too "monotone" and slow paced. There was some snoring in our row during the matinee we saw. If that scene had lasted much longer, I might have been joining in on that.

But Estelle Parsons is amazing. I saw a Saturday matinee and the next evening saw Amy Morton at Joe Allen's having a drink next to us at the bar. I spoke to her saying that I was still emotionally drained from seeing the show the day before, but that when I think that they had done the entire show TWICE since I saw it just over 24 hours earlier, I find it mindboggling. She replied, "yes. It is mindboggling, isn't it?" She looked tired. I thanked her for one of the greatest days in the theatre I've ever spent -- and I meant it!
COOOOLkid
Broadway Legend
joined:8/15/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/15/05
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#12
Posted: 7/3/08 at 5:03pm
I saw the show a week ago, and I too found Molly Ransom to be unbelievable in the role. This might sound harsh but she was on the same level as a mediocre high school performer.
"Hey, you! You're the worst thing to happen to musical theatre since Andrew Lloyd Webber!" -Family Guy
Yankeefan007
Broadway Legend
joined:3/20/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/20/04
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#13
Posted: 7/3/08 at 5:08pm
I don't know how any of them do it on 2-show days, but especially Parsons (and Dunagan) and Morton.
verynewyorkcurious Profile Photoverynewyorkcurious Profile Photo
verynewyorkcurious
Broadway Legend
joined:1/3/08
Broadway Legend
joined:
1/3/08
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#14
Posted: 7/3/08 at 5:27pm
No kidding..and not to sound ageist or anything, but Estelle Parsons is 80. When I'm 80, I ain't gonna be doing ****.

This might sound harsh but she was on the same level as a mediocre high school performer.

Isn't she in high school?
Yankeefan007
Broadway Legend
joined:3/20/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/20/04
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#15
Posted: 7/3/08 at 5:31pm
Parsons is so magnificent in the part that you'd have no idea she was 80. Aside from the Act 2 fight looking a bit calculated, she gets around the stage, up and down the stairs, as nimbly as Morton, Regan, Foxworth, etc.
COOOOLkid
Broadway Legend
joined:8/15/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/15/05
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#16
Posted: 7/3/08 at 6:50pm
This might sound harsh but she was on the same level as a mediocre high school performer.

>> Isn't she in high school?

She just graduated, but I meant that she is mediocre, even for a high schooler.
"Hey, you! You're the worst thing to happen to musical theatre since Andrew Lloyd Webber!" -Family Guy
Yankeefan007
Broadway Legend
joined:3/20/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/20/04
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#17
Posted: 7/3/08 at 8:39pm
Well that's very rude.
luvtheEmcee Profile PhotoluvtheEmcee Profile Photo
luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
12/9/03
re: Revisiting OSAGE COUNTY#18
Posted: 7/3/08 at 8:43pm
Ironic.
A work of art is an invitation to love.