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A CurtainUp Review
A View From the Bridge Moves to Broadway by Les Gutman
The greatest risk in a transfer from off-Broadway to Broadway, aside from the fact that the financial stakes are higher, is the potential loss of intimacy. When Elyse Sommer reviewed A View From the Bridge for CurtainUp in December of last year at the Roundabout second stage (known as Stage Right), the cast faced an off-Broadway-size audience on a "modified thrust" (partly exposed on three sides) stage. In its new Broadway home, it confronts the crowd head-on.
That the production retains its immediacy can be attributed largely to the exceptional job set designer David Gallo has done in bringing the stage out from behind the proscenium and literally down into audience (as well as up into the boxes). Married with director Michael Mayer's stylish staging and the fine acting witnessed here, the result is a continunation of the "gripping theatrical experience" Elyse raved about initially. (Her review is linked below.) The tone-setting crowd scenes are remarkably effective in maintaining the intensity of the performances around which they are wrapped.
My second yhoughts mostly have to do with casting changes since the original review. There have been two of significance. In the role of Alfieri, the lawyer/narrator/Greek chorus, Robert LuPone has replaced Stephen Spinella. While Spinella was deemed C"convincing even though he's a bit young," LuPone (perhaps thanks to a little grayness in his hair) seems about right. His commanding presence punctuates the play's sense of helplessness and his voice telegraphs its anguish.
The other newcomer is Jeffrey Donovan as Marco (replacing Adam Trese). His performance (he's a dead ringer for a Sicilian notwithstanding his name) certainly equals if it doesn't exceed the "terrific" rating Trese earned from Elyse. His unwavering values are as strong as he is physically, and serve as one of the foundations on which this play is constructed and through which the integrity of this production is maintained.
Among the returning cast, I found both Anthony LePaglia and Allison Janney to be as splendid as Elyse's review suggests; both are thoroughly convincing throughout. I was less concerned with LePaglia's "youthfulness." Questions of his virility can be as personally tormenting (even if less valid) in his forties as later in life.
Just as the namesake of the new home of A View From the Bridge, Neil Simon, was able to do comedically in his trilogy of plays arising from life at the other end of Brooklyn, Arthur Miller opens a wide, if tragic, window into the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. There, work was precious, life was deceptively simple, horizons were low and one's name in the community was of utmost value. Somehow, the inevitability of the forces that lead Eddie Carbone to his tragic fate does not render the progression anything less than breathtaking. Perhaps, as Miller penned, quot;you can't cook the view," but this View certainly cooks.LINK TO REVIEW MENTIONED ABOVE
Original CurtainUp review