The Week in Theater: An Exciting Opening, a Sad Ending

West Side Story opened this week, as did Blithe Spirit and a new rock musical. And the theater community lost one of the greats, Natasha Richardson.

  • The Times didn't love the new revival of West Side Story, but I think Brantley's wrong. It's a beautifully done revival—Jerome Robbins' iconic choreography feels fresh and brand new and exciting, Josefina Scaglione was basically grown in a lab to play Maria, Karen Olivio is a serious, statuesque Anita, and there are many cuuuuuute boyyyyssssss. So there.
  • Meanwhile the Twelfth Night at the McCarter in Princeton is apparently quite good, plus it features the marvelous Veanne Cox as Olivia. So, you should go.
  • Sure Blithe Spirit—with Angela Lansbury, Rupert Everett, Christine Ebersole, and the always-terrific Jayne Atkinsonsounds like fun, but I hear it's a long and boring production.
  • 'Rock Romance' Rooms seems amusing, but maybe also a little cloying.
  • If you still haven't caught Lynn Nottage's Ruined or one-man show about clowns Humor Abuse (both well reviewed), you now have more time. Manhattan Theatre Club has extended both runs, to May 3rd and April 19th, respectively. Go!
  • Stacy Keach, currently starring in the national tour of Frost/Nixon, suffered a mild stroke in Los Angeles earlier this week, but is expected to make a full recovery and rejoin the tour at some point.
  • In Chicago, Wait Until Dark at Court Theatre is taut and scary, while the Porchlight Theatre's Pacific Overtures is "sparkling."
  • In LA, Theatre Banshee's Scottish Play is "vanilla", but Stalin-era thriller The Letters at the Andak Stage Company in NoHo is "impeccably performed."
  • In Boston run! don't walk! to The Pain and the Itch at Company One, featuring the divine Nancy Carroll and directed by the lovely and talented Bevin O'Gara.
  • Finally, the lights dimmed on Broadway (and in the West End) for a minute on Thursday night to honor one of the stage's most exciting stars, Natasha Richardson. The actress passed away following a head injury she suffered while skiing near Montreal.