Byrne has joined with the Public's Oskar Eustis and an altogether impressive production team to turn Here Lies Love into -- what? A musical? A disco musical? A theatrical extravaganza? All three jumbled together.
Two promising new plays share a lot in common. Both are set in the 1950s. Both are broadly comedic but with heart and drama just below the surface. Both are blessed with excellent casts and productions that do them justice. Both have subplots that are unnecessary. And both could be easily improved.
While Giant is far too long and lacks far too much focus, the excellent cast and gorgeous score are both beautiful. The show could undoubtedly benefit from some trimming and restraint - perhaps like the actual state's attitude towards the rest of the country as well.
Giant is a wonderfully intimate and complex show, but it will fill up a Broadway stage with ease. You know the story from the novel by Edna Ferber or the somewhat leaden film best known for containing James Dean's final performance.
Though perhaps we don't think about it often, it bears remembering that plays and musicals, which can encompass so much, usually run about two to two-and-a-half hours (including intermission). Three hours is long; Gatz is a marathon.
Families -- usually described as dysfunctional -- are the meat-and-potatoes of the best (and not infrequently the worst) American dramas. Now consider adding to them the Chekhovian quintet Richard Nelson has introduced.
The trials and tribulations, both artistic and personal, of this singular crew would make a compelling story. However, the characters of February House are drawn in brushstrokes; there isn't enough at stake.
It's a fantastic tale and set of characters to bring together on the stage, and yet, Bockley's book only manages to fitfully spark to life as these individuals quarrel, make up, and orate about their passions.