New On Broadway: All My Sons and Ink

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Two in one

Ever been to a two-show day? It’s a tremendous time commitment for sure, but every once in a while, a lovely way to spend a day.

First, you head to a 2 PM matinee, follow that by an early dinner, and then continue on to another show at 8 PM.

New On Broadway: All My Sons and Ink
Photo: Joan Marcus

That was my schedule last Saturday when seeing two plays on Broadway; one a revival written by legendary playwright Arthur Miller. The play is All My Sons, featuring a stellar cast, starring the incredible Annette Bening, the uber-talented Tracy Letts, and the versatile Benjamin Walker. This family drama centers around the consequences that occur, after a shady business decision  made during the war, results in tragic circumstances that eventually tear a family apart. The play is raw and engaging.

Special kudos to set designer Douglas W Schmidt for a stunning set, and to sound designer John Gromada. The sound effects incorporated into the show made me feel as if I were sitting outdoors in summer.

All My Sons is a brilliant Roundabout Production, beautifully directed by Jack O’Brien. A definite thumbs up.

New On Broadway: All My Sons and Ink
Photo: Joan Marcus

Not so much with my 8 PM play. Ink, by James Graham is a piece about the rise of tabloid journalism focused on the master of the genre, Rupert Murdoch. I could not stay involved with this story. The play was too long, too wordy and did not draw me in. No offense levied toward the two main actors, Bertie Carvel and Johnny Lee Miller, who both did a fine job. I just disliked the material

I attended Ink with a bona fide journalist friend of mine, who had the best line. When the play begins, the basic tenants of journalism (the 5 W’s) are outlined: the who, what where, when and why.

My journalist friend said, “I know the what and where of this play, but I don’t know the why.” That’s exactly how I felt!  There are some odd transitional conventions placed upon the cast to enact, and I was puzzled by them as well.

In fairness, the second act was much better than the first and finally did manage to peak my interest, but overall, I was puzzled by the nagging thought of …why was this play produced?

However, Ink just received a Tony nomination for Best Play. Maybe it’s just me.

For more commentary on these shows, along with fascinating interviews and theatre news, tune in to “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone”, Saturday morning between 9 and 10 on WNYM-AM970, online, Alexa and podcast.

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