Review: THE LEHMAN TRILOGY at ACT Theatre

The tiny epic comes to Seattle.

By: May. 03, 2024
Review: THE LEHMAN TRILOGY at ACT Theatre
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.




Existing user? Just click login.

Review: THE LEHMAN TRILOGY at ACT Theatre
Robert Pescovitz, Bradford Farwell,
and Brandon J. Simmons in
The Lehman Trilogy at ACT.
Photo credit: Rosemary Dai Ross

At first glance, Dear Readers, Stefano Massini’s “The Lehman Trilogy”, as adapted by Ben Power and currently playing at ACT, may seem like a daunting task.  I mean, a 3-and-a-half-hour play (thankfully with two intermissions) about bankers.  It doesn’t sound like a rollicking good time.  It sounds like the theatrical equivalent of eating your vegetables.  Well, with a scintillating script and stunning performances from the three actors in the play, these vegetables have been sauteed to perfection and spiced and sauced to delicious result.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Lehman Brothers legacy, other than maybe their eventual downfall, you just have one more reason to catch this one.  It’s simple enough, three brothers from Rimpar, Bavaria come to America. First Henry (Robert Pescovitz) and then Emanuel (Brandon J. Simmons) and finally Mayer (Bradford Farwell) begin their business lives as fabric and suit sellers but eventually branch out into the brokerage of cotton and finally end up as one of the most powerful financial institutions in the world.  But beyond the business and balance sheets, the show beautifully delves into the lives and dreams of the Lehman family, spanning over a century and a half. 

So, yeah, it’s 3 and a half hours long but be glad Powers brought it down from its original 5-hour length.  And he does so by imbuing the entire piece with a wonderfully easy conversational quality as if three old friends were simply telling us a story.  Not unlike a book-it style, the actors weave in and out of scenes, sometimes in the story and sometimes telling it to the audience directly.  And it works so well especially under the capable direction of John Langs.  I for one was riveted throughout, and those 3 and a half hours flew by. 

Review: THE LEHMAN TRILOGY at ACT Theatre
Brandon J. Simmons in
The Lehman Trilogy at ACT.
Photo credit: Rosemary Dai Ross

The set from Julia Hayes Welch is deceptively simple and magnificent.  I saw the Broadway production and doubted ACT would try and pull off that mammoth, intricate set.  There’s just not enough space.  And what Welch brought in, when combined with fantastic lighting from Andrew D. Smith, and projections from Mike Tutaj, is stunning as this tiny sparce space comes alive.  And I must mention the excellent sound design from Meghan Roche as well as the beautiful music composed by Robertson Witmer.

The three actors in the show, yes, only three, deftly portray multiple characters throughout the decades.  Pescovitz, Simmons, and Farwell flip back and forth between brothers, colleagues, husbands, wives, children, and narrators with a staggering focus, making sure we never question who is speaking or what era we may be in.  It’s a monumental feat and they handle it with grace. 

This final show from Artistic Director Langs is the perfect topper for what has been an illustrious career in Seattle, and I, for one, will miss him.  His final offering gives us a perfect example of how talented he is in presenting engaging, thoughtful, and entertaining pieces.  Good journeys to him in his next endeavor.  And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give ACT’s production of “The Lehman Trilogy” a seemingly tiny but still huge YAY.  These are some delicious vegetables that are a pleasure to eat.

“The Lehman Trilogy” performs at ACT through May 19th.  For tickets or information visit them online at www.acttheatre.org.




Comments

To post a comment, you must register and login.







Videos