Posted in also a film, based on a film, Dan LeFranc, dinner, Donald Marguiles, family drama, Festen, Jan Maxwell, John Lithgow, Neil Simon, Playwrights Horizons, The Music Box

Listing

 

via Daily Prompt: Disrupt List making is a habit. I have had a very hard time breaking myself of a disposition to compile and aggregate. There are times when the combinations on any given catalog serves to disrupt the order of things. Relationships can be tangential and serendipitous rather than strictly straightforward. This enumeration, for […]

Around the table in The Big Meal: David Wilson Barnes, Jennifer Mudge, Anita Gilette, Tom Bloom, Rachel Resheff. Photo by Joan Marcus.

via To throw ’em off the scent — Commenting:

This enumeration, for instance, pairs or doubles down on, very diverse films, yet there is a connection:

Add to this some other films and plays like The Big MealDinner for Shmucks or The Dinner Party (on Broadway in 2000 with Henry Winkler and the late Jan Maxwell and John Ritter et al) or the short-lived Festen, (also on Broadway and also at the Music Box) with Ali McGraw. The latter as I recall was a dark (both in lighting and atmosphere) play which, again, as I recall, was extremely interesting; it lasted just 49 performances.

 

Posted in Anthony Giardina, Beth Dixon, Catherine Zuber, DC politics, Doug Hughes, Jan Maxwell, Kevin O'Rourke, Kristen Bush, Michael Simpson

Georgetown Life

Henry James, who definitely had an apt way of putting things, called Washington, DC the “city of conversation.”

Kristen Bush, Michael Simpson and Jan Maxwell in a scene from “The City of Conversation,” a new play by Anthony Giardina, directed by Doug Hughes, at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Photo by Stephanie Berger.


Our nation’s capital is the setting for Anthony Giardina’s new drama about politics and those who practice it,  “City of Conversation,” at LCT’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater through June 22nd.  29th.

John Aylward, Kristen Bush, Kevin O’Rourke and Jan Maxwell in a scene from “The City of Conversation,” a new play by Anthony Giardina, directed by Doug Hughes, at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Photo by Stephanie Berger.

Actually  “City of Conversation” is set in the Georgetown home of one of Washington’s movers, Hester Ferris (Jan Maxwell), a hostess with great liberal influence.  Enter a young woman, Anna Fitzgerald (Kristen Bush) on the arm of Hester’s son Colin’s (Michael Simpson).  She is, as Hester predicts, the rival she thinks she can easily vanquish. “I’ve seen this movie,” Hester tells Anna, referring to All About Eve.

Luke Niehaus and Jan Maxwell in a scene from “The City of Conversation,” a new play by Anthony Giardina, directed by Doug Hughes, at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Photo by Stephanie Berger.

Anna is in fact the new Washington. She is a Reagan Republican, and, along with Colin, plans to take America back for all the “real Americans” who have been ill-served by the regulations and legislation Democrats have enacted over the years.

As political drams go this one, playing itself out from 1979 to 2009, is tightly plotted and fundamentally domestic.

Michael Simpson, Phillip James Brannon and Beth Dixon in a scene from “The City of Conversation,” a new play by Anthony Giardina, directed by Doug Hughes, at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Photo by Stephanie Berger.


Hester’s live-in lover, Senator Chandler Harris (Kevin O’Rourke) is at her side. Her sister Jean Swift (Beth Dixon) has her back. Colin and Anna come upon the scene as interlopers in the genteel world of Washington’s political wrangling.

Rounding out the cast are John Aylward as Senator George Mallonee (R from Kentucky) and Barbara Garrick as his wife Carolyn, Luke Niehaus as Anna and Colin’s six year old son. The ensemble under Doug Hughes’ direction is excellent with Phillip James Brannon as Donald Logan especially charming; Beth Dixon as the self-effacing Jean gives a very gratifying performance as well. Make no mistake, every member of the cast plays his and her part in giving “City of Conversaton” its sparkle.

Jan Maxwell is, as always, superb. (Full disclosure, Maxwell is one of this reviewer’s personal favorites on any stage.) Her Hester is astute and composed, but she is not prepared for Anna’s ruthlessness.

John Lee Beatty’s elaborate set deserves a mention, working on a small stage to big effect. The fine costumes designed by Catherine Zuber contribute to the panache of “City of Conversation.”

For more information on “City of Conversation,” please visit Lincoln Center Theater’s site.