Thursday, May 23, 2013

On Broadway- Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike


The Tony awards are but a few weeks away and I have been seriously amiss in my Broadway postings. One of the plays nominated for Best Play is Christopher Durang's comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

The play has been nominated for six Tonys, including Kristine Nielsen for Best Actress, David Hyde Pierce for Best Actor, Shalita Grant for Best Featured Actress and Billy Magnussen for Best Featured Actor.

The play opens with Vanya (Pierce) and Sonia (Nielsen) sitting outside enjoying the beautiful morning. Their banter indicates a married couple, but we soon find out that they are siblings, and Sonia is adopted. The hilarity begins there and builds.

Neilsen is hilarious in this show, and no more so than when she does her Maggie-Smith-as-Oscar-nominated-actress-in Neil-Simon's-California-Suite. Her accent is dead-on and when Sonia becomes this role for a costume party, complete with a lovely sparkly gown and tiara, she shines.

While enjoying the show, Pierce was doing his usual terrific job, but I was wondering why he was nominated; the role seemed a bit timid. And then comes that monologue. Vanya explodes in a verbal burst that has the audience spellbound as it goes on and on. When Pierce finally finishes, the audience rises for a standing ovation. And after he is done, I thought, well, that is why you get David Hyde Pierce for this role. He is a genius.

Sigourney Weaver plays sister Masha, an actress who could be Sigourney Weaver if she didn't make it big and wasn't a good actress. She clearly enjoys her role and the hissy fits she throws had me laughing.

Her boy-toy Spike is played brilliantly by Billy Magnussen. He acts like a big, goofy, puppy dog who has great abs. His performance is so energetic, and he is so magnetic, he takes what could be a one-note role and turns it into something exciting.

Masha comes to town to tell her siblings that she is selling the family home that Sonia and Vanya have been living in after caring for their aging parents who passed away. She can no longer afford to support them. They panic because they have no jobs, no viable skills, and now they will be homeless.

The sibling dynamic is one that so many can relate to, and the cast of this show is pitch perfect. If you are looking for a good laugh, this is a terrific show. There are discount tickets available, but this is a show for which I would happy pay full price.

The run has been extended through July 28th, and their website is here.
Watch a new TV promo with the cast here.


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