There’s always danger when writers lampoon the publishing world: You never believe their wünderkinds are so wonderful, and they tend to burlesque bad writing beyond credibility. The acid test comes when someone reads aloud a passage that is purportedly genius or dreck. Rebeck wisely curtails recitation of manuscripts. Instead we watch as Rickman’s Leonard—being paid $20K to teach a ten-week intensive course at the Upper West Side apartment of Kate (Rabe)—as he pages through student submissions. A curl of the lip, a twitch of the eyebrow, a flare of the nostrils: These nonverbal signals speak volumes. Out of small gestures and that slurry, violoncello delivery, Rickman crafts one of the most vivid, dimensional stage monster in years: a burnt-up monument to cynicism and appetite who beds his students when not pulverizing their egos. Rickman gives the comic performance of the season.