Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara: The gay interview

Posted on 05 May 2015 at 3:39pm

UTC_6-2-14_03309.CR2Legally Lesbian? Well, not exactly. To the delight of their queer-lady fans, Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara may kiss up on each other, but it’s all just part of their Hot Pursuit. In the film — set in Texas and out in theaters Friday — Witherspoon portrays Officer Cooper, a by-the-books cop assigned to protect the ultra-fashionable widow of a drug dealer (Vergara) … at one point faking lesbian to escape a potentially sketchy situation.

This isn’t Witherspoon’s first on-screen smooch with another woman, of course. And even though the Oscar-winning actress couldn’t recall her pre-fame woman-on-woman debut during an interview with our own Chris Azzopardi (1996’s Freeway, when she and Brittany Murphy made out … how could we forget?). “I don’t think I’ve kissed another girl on screen,” Reese says, as we’re asked to move onto the next question. With our Summer Movie Issue currently in the racks, we thought it would be a good time to hear what else the budding BFFs had to say about lesbians, Legally Blonde and female liberation during this gay press exclusive.

Dallas Voice: Dealing with homosexuality in comedy can be delicate, and some people take offense to pseudo lesbianism. As actors, how do you know when not to go too far? Is there a “too far”?  Reese Witherspoon: I think gay people are able to play straight roles; straight people are able to play gay roles. The whole point of being an actor is to transform. If people don’t understand that we need to be malleable in our sexuality, then I think they need to lighten up.

Sofia, you’re on a gay-loved TV show. Reese, you famously taught us the “bend-and-snap.” Looking back, when were you both first aware that you had a gay and lesbian following?  Witherspoon: For me, probably Legally Blonde or Cruel Intentions.

Sofia Vergara: I’ve never really thought about it. I’ve always had a lot of gay friends as very close friends. I don’t know! My [Modern Family] character, Gloria … they like her!

Witherspoon: Her attitude. And the way she dresses!

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Cocktail Friday: Cinco de Mayo Edition!

Posted on 01 May 2015 at 1:30pm

Pina MargNo Cinco de Mayo celebration would be complete without a margarita, but why make it a classic when you can gussy it up? NYC mixologist Kyle Ford came up with sveral variations on the standard, some of which we’ve reproduced for you here.

The Pina Margarita

2 oz. blanco tequila (I chose the new Casa Dragones blanco)

1 oz. Cointreau

1 oz. fresh lime juice

1 oz. pineapple juice

Fresh pineapple

Making it: Muddle some pieces of pineapple (pina) in the bottom of a mixing glass, then add ingredients and shake with ice. Strain over a sugar-cinnamon-rimmed rocks glass. Garnish with a wedge of fresh pineapple.

INVERTEDThe Inverted Margarita

By reversing the ratio of tequila and liqueur, the citrus notes become more prominent with less bite from tequila. (To add a little spiciness, Ford suggests muddling a jalapeno in the recipe.)

1 1/2 oz. Cointreau

3/4 oz. blanco tequila

3/4 oz. fresh lime juice

Making it: Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Rim with salt. Garnish with a lime wheel and/or jalapeno (optional).

The Spicy Lady

For a more traditional (i.e., non-inverted) mix that already has its kick, try this one.

2 oz. blanco tequila

1 oz. Cointreau

3/4 oz. lime juice

Fresh slices of jalapeno spicy004

Sprig of cilantro

Making it: Lightly muddle jalapeno and cilantro with wet ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into an iced rocks glass. Garnish with jalapeno and cilantro.

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Kathy Griffin coming back to Dallas, tickets on sale Friday

Posted on 30 Apr 2015 at 7:57am

Kathy-Griffin-Kathy Griffin, who stepped away from Fashion Police after a short run as lead host, probably has a lot to dish about, and you’ll get a chance to hear it all during, of course, Gay Pride Month. Griffin returns to Dallas for a show at the Majestic Theatre on June 25. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m., which you can get here. Let the fur fly!

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‘Age of Ultron:’ The mega-star interview

Posted on 29 Apr 2015 at 8:44am
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Writer/director Joss Whedon, second from left, and the stars of ‘Age of Ultron’

Friday is our Summer Movie Preview issue, so to kick it off, here’s a mega-interview with some heavy-hitter — indeed, the  lineup alone would create a nerdgasm: Scarlett Johansson. Joss Whedon. Elizabeth Olsen. James Spader. Mark Ruffalo. Chris Hemsworth. Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans. Jeremy Renner. Paul Bettany. Cobie Smulders. Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Kevin Feige. All these folks make the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) come to life, which is does especially on May 1 with the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron (my review comes out Friday). They were all present for an interview discussing the new film, their characters, and their favorite superheroes from childhood.

Question: This is a question for Joss Whedon. If you could talk about bringing Vision and Ultron to life. It almost seemed like they each embodied Stark’s nature, both the good and the bad, Ultron being the bad, and the Vision the best of both natures. Whedon: Yes. [Laughter]

Kevin Feige: A man of few words.

Whedon: No, you’re right, they do embody a little bit of him, but they’re also their own people. But I do see them as two sides of the same coin. I like the sort of accord between the two of them. I think there’s something beautiful about the fact that they see the same thing and react to it differently emotionally.

Joss, what were the biggest challenges that you faced putting together the story and then shooting the film? What were the things that surprised you on your journey? There’s like 47 of these people. I really didn’t think that through, and I regret very much doing this at all. You know, it’s just making sure that everybody’s, you know, got their moment, that everybody’s got their through-line, that it’s connected to the movie. I have all these people. I love all these people. They’re extraordinary. But making sure that they’re not just all being served, but all within the same narrative structure, that they’re in the same movie, that it’s all connected to the main theme. At some point during the editing process, I could not have told you who they were, who I was, what movie I was making, I got so lost in it. But I think it all came together, and you know, it’s just about making these guys look good, which takes a long time.

So how do you go about even beginning to start to create the sequel to one of the greatest, largest, most successful movies of all time? With the smallest thing I can think of. The thing that drew me back to the movie was: what little moments are there between these characters that I haven’t gotten to do yet? What conversations have they not had? How can I, you know, what haven’t I shown? It’s never sort of the big picture stuff, it’s never “and then we can have an army of robots” — although that’s cool, too — it’s always just: where do they live, or how can I get inside their hearts, what’s funny about them? Those are the moments … just, I write just reams and reams of paper just thinking about, you know, the tiniest part, that’s really the heart of the thing.

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Tony Award nominations are always a theater queen’s wet dream

Posted on 28 Apr 2015 at 10:48am

Chita Rivera, a Tony nominee for ‘The Visit’

When the Oscar and Emmy and Grammy nominations come out, many of those who follow the awards have already seen (or heard) the contenders, or plan to soon, and have an opinion about who was robbed and who was justly feted. Not so the Tony Award nominations, which came out this morning. Some of the nominated shows opened as recently as last weekend, so that only a handful of New Yorkers have even had a chance to take them in; some closed after brief runs months ago.

But theater queens being who they are, they still can’t wait to hear who made the shortlist … which, more so than any other major award, is flush with GLBT folks.

Take for instance The Visit, with book by gay author Terrence McNally and co-starring out actor Roger Rees. Here’s all you need to know: 82-year-old Chita Rivera, who stars in it, is nominated for best actress in a musical. Who doesn’t get goosebumps hearing that? Then again, she has to face off against a few other icons of the theatuh, including Kristin Chenoweth (On the Twentieth Century) and Kelli O’Hara (The King and I). (Rees, a former Tony winner, is not among the male acting nominees.)

A lot of shows with big buzz are also in the running for awards, which will be handed out Sunday, June 7. Lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed musical Fun Home is hotly fancied for best musical and best score. And Broadway has a way of wooing movie and TV stars into prime jobs — Helen Mirren (The Audience), Elizabeth Moss (The Heidi Chronicles), Bradley Cooper (The Elephant Man), and and Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan (Skylight) are all up for acting awards, as is North Texas native (and former Tony winner) Julie White.

Perhaps some of the pleasantest awards, though, already have winners. John Cameron Mitchell, who wrote, directed and starred in the original off-Broadway production (and film) of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, is being honored with a special Tony; Texas native Tommy Tune is being honored with a special Tony for lifetime in the theater; and after 40 years in the business but no Tony statuette to show for it (he does have a few Oscars, as consolation), legendary B’way composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, etc.) is the winner of the Isabelle Stevenson Award.

Here is a full list of the nominees:

Best Musical: An American in Paris; Fun Home; Something Rotten!; The Visit.

Best Play: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Disgraced; Hand to God; Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2.

Best Revival of a Musical: The King and I; On the Town; On the Twentieth Century.

Best Revival of a Play: The Elephant Man; Skylight; This Is Our Youth; You Cant Take It With You.

Best Leading Actor in a Play: Steven Boyer, Hand to God; Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man; Ben Miles, Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2; Bill Nighy, Skylight; Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Best Leading Actress in a Play: Geneva Carr, Hand to God; Helen Mirren, The Audience; Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles; Carey Mulligan, Skylight; Ruth Wilson, Constellations.

Best Leading Actor in a Musical: Michael Cerveris, Fun Home; Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris; Brian dArcy James, Something Rotten!; Ken Watanabe, The King and I; Tony Yazbeck, On the Town.

Best Leading Actress in a Musical: Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century; Leanne Cope, An American in Paris; Beth Malone, Fun Home; Kelli O’Hara, The King and I; Chita Rivera, The Visit.

Best Book of a Musical: An American in Paris, Craig Lucas; Fun Home, Lisa Kron; Something Rotten!, Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell; The Visit, Terrence McNally.

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics): Fun Home, Music: Jeanine Tesori, Lyrics: Lisa Kron; The Last Ship, Music and Lyrics: Sting; Something Rotten!, Music and Lyrics: Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick; The Visit, Music: John Kander, Lyrics: Fred Ebb.

Best Featured Actor in a Play: Matthew Beard, Skylight; K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway; Richard McCabe, The Audience; Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man; Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2; Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play.

Best Featured Actress in a Play: Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You; Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man; Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2; Sarah Stiles, Hand to God; Julie White, Airline Highway.

Best Featured Actor in a Musical: Christian Borle, Something Rotten!; Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century; Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!; Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris; Max von Essen, An American in Paris.

Best Featured Actress in a Musical: Victoria Clark, Gigi; Judy Kuhn, Fun Home; Sydney Lucas, Fun Home; Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I; Emily Skeggs, Fun Home.

Best Direction of a Play: Stephen Daldry, Skylight; Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It with You; Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2; Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God.

Best Direction of a Musical: Sam Gold, Fun Home; Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!; John Rando, On the Town; Bartlett Sher, The King and I; Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris.

Best Choreography: Joshua Bergasse, On the Town; Christopher Gattelli, The King and I; Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!; Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris.

Best Scenic Design of a Play: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Skylight; Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2; You Can’t Take It with You.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical: An American in Paris; On the Twentieth Century; The King and I; Fun Home.

Best Costume Design of a Play: The Audience; You Can’t Take It with You; Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2; Airline Highway.

Best Costume Design of a Musical: Something Rotten!; An American in Paris; On the Twentieth Century; The King and I.

Best Lighting Design of a Play: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2; Skylight; Airline Highway.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical: The King and I; An American in Paris; Fun Home; The Visit.

Best Orchestrations: An American in Paris; Fun Home; Something Rotten!; The Last Ship.

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater: Tommy Tune.

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award: Stephen Schwartz.

Regional Theatre Tony Award: Cleveland Play House.

Special Tony Award: John Cameron Mitchell, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theater: Arnold Abramson; Adrian Bryan-Brown; Gene O’Donovan.

 

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Henry’s Majestic gets onboard with marriage equality

Posted on 27 Apr 2015 at 6:53pm

IMG_0154Henry’s Majestic, the fabulous eatery on upper McKinney Avenue, is a supporter of marriage equality and is putting its money on the line to prove it. In recognition and support of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in the marriage equality cases Tuesday, 20 percent of all lunch sales (11 a.m.–4 p.m.) on April 28 — from wraps, pictured, to pasta and everything else — will be donated to Equality Texas, and specialty cocktails from Willa Vodka will be raised in support of LGBT rights. Cheers!

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Wendy Williams, queen of fame whores, calls Bruce Jenner a fame whore

Posted on 27 Apr 2015 at 2:21pm

WWI have never understood Wendy Williams, or her appeal. She’s loud and classless and from what I can tell, has the IQ of a fire hydrant. Now she’s also a hypocritical kettle calling Bruce Jenner a pot.

On her talk show, she attacked Bruce Jenner about his Diane Sawyer interview Friday, saying that he was just leaking pictures of himself as a woman to gin up publicity. She called him a “fame whore.” I’m sorry, Wendy, but Bruce Jenner was famous 30 years before you squeezed your fat ass into a too-small leopard print A-line from Target. He, unlike you, has done something, i.e., been the greatest athlete in the world, rather than just acting like the thing that fills his jockstrap, as you do.

Wendy, queen of understanding and sensitivity, chastised Jenner for ever marrying and having children if he was trans. Of course, a horsey loudmouth like you, Wendy, wouldn’t know that 40 years ago, being transgender was exceedingly rare, and not well understood — heck, it’s barely understood now! His biological children are adults; he was married to Kris for 23 years. Exactly when was he supposed to have this awakening and be true to himself, when you can’t even be true to yourself and admit you’re not a Size 8? Damn, grrl, you ain’t even a Size 13. So stopping wearing Size 5s!

I’m sure he’s a terrible parent. I mean, he’s only made millionaires of his kids, and the youngest will be 18 and old enough to vote this summer anyway — hardly tender tweens requiring his firm fatherly hand. Oh, and calling him “Belinda”? That’s an awesome way to set an example for young people. They might not have learned transphobia at home; thank god you are there to train them to be asshole bigots.

Ignoramuses like you, Wendy, don’t deserve so much as a Facebook page on which to spread your sludge, not to say a TV show. Do us all a favor: Go book your rooms at the OUT NYC hotel and walk away from public life — the adults need to talk now.

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The Turtle Creek Chorale is back and better than ever

Posted on 27 Apr 2015 at 11:35am
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TCC Artistic Director Sean Baugh (photo H Henley)

Have you ever walked out of a Turtle Creek Chorale concert grinning from ear to ear and singing? Saturday night’s performance had people out of their seats cheering one of the best shows the group has ever performed.

And that’s wasn’t just me saying it. That was one person after another I heard after the show at City Performance Hall on Saturday.

The audience at Saturday night’s Britten, Beatles & Bond was clapping along from the opening Beatles number and not just cheering but giving standing ovations throughout the evening.

The reception was well deserved.

This was Artistic Director Sean Baugh’s first concert since being named permanently to the position. He’s been acting artistic director since last summer. This was also acting Executive Director Bruce Jaster’s first concert since taking the position earlier this year. May the two have a long and continued successful tenure together. They’re obviously the right combination the chorale needed.

Jaster, a former singer and board member, was at ease dressed as Sgt. Pepper — I think he was more Dr Pepper — and Baugh has gotten better and better with each concert he’s conducted this season. He’s made that stage his own in less a full season on stage. All the fun the audience remembers from a Tim Seelig concert is back and Baugh’s breadth of music knowledge is apparent from the minute he picks up his baton through his final bow.

If you’ve ever been a Turtle Creek Chorale fan but have stayed away lately, it’s time to give the Chorale another look. There’s another concert this weekend called Musica de Mayo at 7:30 p.m. on May 2 the Latino Cultural Center.

Featuring small ensembles and soloists from the chorale, the Hotchkiss Elementary School Choir and Mi Diva Loca, the sizzling music celebrates Latino culture and heritage just in time for Cinco de Mayo. The evening honors Sheriff Lupe Valdez. Tickets are $25-35 and available online.

Turtle-ly 80s on June 12-14 celebrates the chorale’s founding decade of teased hair, baggy pants and more and is a chance to sing along with those 150 or more fabulous voices. Tickets for that performance are available here.

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Cocktail Friday: Ancho Martini and Prickly Margarita

Posted on 24 Apr 2015 at 12:34pm
Ancho Tequila Martini

Ancho Tequila Martini

Randall Warder, chef/owner of Clark Food & Wine Co. (one of my top tables last year), has come up with a cool idea for a complex world: Random Act of Kindness Happy Hour. The idea goes like this: At some point during Clark’s evening happy hour (weekdays, 3–7 p.m.), a bell will ring reminding patrons to do something nice for someone else — pay them a compliment, hold open the door, call their mom. And it starts at Clark, which will buy a round of happy-hour drinks for the patrons present. That should put everyone in a good mood, and encourage them to pay it forward.

So we figured, we’d start it, because today not only marks the start of the policy but also a new craft cocktail drink menu at Clark, with their take on everything from a shandy to a margarita to two well-suited for summer in Dallas.

Ancho Tequila Martini

2 oz. Pura vida Gold tequila

3/4 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. agave syrup

Thyme (pinch, and a sprig)

Ancho powder (pinch)

Clark_©Marple_0329

Prickly Margarita

Making it: Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass except the sprig of thyme. Shake with ice for 10–15 seconds. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with sprig.

Prickly Margarita

2 oz. Z Blanco tequila

1 oz. prickly pear juice

1 oz. lemon juice

1 ox. lime juice

1/2 oz. agave.

Making it: Mix all the ingredients in a Boston shaker, and pour in a tall glass over ice. Garnish with a wheel of lime.

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STAGE REVIEWS: It’s just a fantasy — ‘All My Sons,’ ‘Mildred Wild’

Posted on 23 Apr 2015 at 1:30pm

Terry Martin in 'All My Sons' (Photo by Karen Almond)

To contemporary audiences, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons feels like a first draft for his more famous Death of a Salesman. The plots are different, but the themes are eerily similar: An ageing patriarch with two sons lives in a kind of fantasy world of self-denial, aided by his doting but unstable wife; when his transgressions are revealed and one son loses faith in the father’s character, the older man cannot live with the consequences. That describes Willy, Linda and Biff Loman as well as Joe, Katie and Chris Keller. It makes you wonder exactly what Miller’s hangup was with parental figures.

Although All My Sons was eclipsed by Salesman, which came out two years later, it did win the first-ever Tony Award for best play, and has been revived several times on Broadway as well as regional theaters, of which WaterTower Theatre is the latest. While Miller was one of our primary exponents of American realism in drama as filtered through the abstractions of memory, his go-to often ended up being melodrama. That’s a problem inherent in the play, from the brooding Act 2 appearance of the chief antagonist, George, to the ways characters’ convictions seem to hinge on just a word or two. The Keller family has built an emotional house of cards that gets blown over by the storm that opens the show — heavy-handed, self-important and metaphor-laden, in case you needed to be reminded.

That hand-holding is something that has always irked me about Miller’s plays, though a good production can usually grant you permission to you overlook them (or think less about them), and WTT’s production is a good one, especially with Terry Martin in the leading role of Joe. Martin is one of North Texas’ most popular acting coaches, and he proves why every time he gets onstage. He lives inside the moment of the show, never overplaying but not afraid to explore the emotional edges of his characters. Joe is a surprisingly reckless chap, courting conflict with a kingly sense of entitlement and untouchability, and, Lear-like, discovers too late the cracks in the veneer.

Katie, played by Diana Sheehan, is a familiar type from mid-20th-century American theater: The emotional wreck trying to maintain the semblance of family, and inadvertently undermining it. We see it in Linda Loman, but also Amanda Wingfield (Glass Menagerie) and Mary Tyrone (Long Day’s Journey) and others. It’s a prickly thing to do, teetering on the brink of madness, and Sheehan does a good job. The more problematic performance is Joey Folsom as George. Folsom is a talented actor, but he seems to be appearing in an entirely different production. Gloomy as an undertaker and stalking the stage more than moving across it, he feels like Bogart with his brusque, hard-nosed delivery and squinting scowl. It’s as if he were plopped right out of 1946, which isn’t bad, except than most of the other actors don’t go there, so it’s a jarring disconnect from the world director David Denson has created.

All My Sons never fully comes together as a play; it feels almost too ambitious, as if Miller couldn’t resist moralizing about money, law, lust, family and guilt in one great epic, in case he never wrote another play again. He did, of course, which bloats the stage exactly when he needs to pull back. It’s almost in spite of itself that it still makes good points amid all the sanctimony.

Mildred Will (Marcia Carroll) is another character living in a fantasy world. She’s a woman disappointed by life who has retreated her inner life of movie magazines and TV, frittering away her existence in 1970s-era New York. When she wins a contest that promises to give her a new start, she allows herself a brief window of hope … only to have it yanked out from under her.

Doesn’t sound much like a comedy, does it? And in fact, The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild, now at the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, isn’t really meant to be all that funny. It has a darkness to it, sandwiched by some one-liners. Think Kiss of the Spider Woman more than You Can’t Take It With You.

Neil Simon, of course, was the master of the “comedy” that ultimately proved to be quite sad, and Paul Zindel is no Neil Simon. (His two best-known plays, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds and And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, are more definitively dramas.) There should be a bright-line that divides her depressing reality from her idealized dream world, which simply doesn’t happen under director Frank Latson. For instance, Mildred’s husband, played by Scott Latham, is sad-sack with a bad toupee, while the actor also is supposed to be the romantic lead in Mildred’s reimagined movies (she’s always the heroine, trying gamely to cast her spouse in the heroic role he doesn’t play in her day-to-day life). But Latham seems just as dull and awkward whether he’s being Fred Astaire or Clark Gable as he is a lonely candy store salesman.

Many of the problems with the play, though, lay in Zindel’s script, which — like All My Sons — tries to do too much at once. All the action takes place over the course of about 48 hours, even though there’s no reason to pile on except to create a sense of urgency. But it feels false, and the reality of Mildred’s plight comes off as theatrical and resolvable, if anyone simply put in some effort. Her home is about to be destroyed by a wrecking ball, but she hasn’t packed a single valise, nor does anyone seem concerned about that. It’s hard to care about characters when the playwright doesn’t, either.

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