For all its offerings, Boston pales in comparison to New York in the quality and variety of its theatrical offerings. Superior Donuts, for example, is an outstanding play, coming to Broadway from the Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago. The themes are racism and community, stereotypes and authentic relationships, but it’s never didactic because the humor is so trenchant and constant. It should have a longer run but won’t because there are no “name” actors. Jon Michael Hill, who plays Franco, will be one someday. Written by Tracy Letts, who wrote the superbe August:Osage County, it rates 9 on a scale of 10.
God of Carnage was touted as the best on Broadway, and it is very good, sort of a 21st century Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf. Jimmy Smits and Christine Latti have replaced James Gandolfino and Marcia Gay Harden, so maybe there’s a softer edge now than when it opened. Many emotional moments but, despite the name actors (which will extend its run), we didn’t enjoy it as much as Superior Donuts.
Finally, the recent (though no longer new) production of South Pacific is enchanting. Everyone of a certain ago knows all the lyrics so the trick to enjoying it is to be able to hum to oneself without having to listen to the woman in back of you give voice to the songs. As a revival, it’s a 10!
Considering the miserable quality of A Civil War Christmas at the Hungtington Theater in Boston, New York theater was a shot in the arm.