This Week on Stage: 'The Understudy,' 'Idiot Savant,' and 'Nightingale'

the-understudy_lThis week saw the too-rapid close of the Neil Simon revival Brighton Beach Memoirs on Broadway, as well as the opening of three Off Broadway productions: The Understudy, starring Justin Kirk, Julie White, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (above); Idiot Savant with Willem Dafoe; and Nightingale with Lynn Redgrave. Melissa Bernardo gave a B+ to The Understudy but dinged it for the cast’s somewhat mixed on-stage chemistry. Thom Geier calls Idiot Savant “one strange, head-scratching evening” and gives it a C+. As for Lynn Redgrave’s one-woman show, Nightingale, I gave it a C and took issue with the production because “the plot and story are so meandering that it quickly becomes rather confusing.”

Still hunting for something to see on stage this weekend? Check out the EW.com Stage hub for up-to-date news and reviews; or consult this handy guide below, which includes links to all of our stage reviews of current shows. (Note: The reviews are typically of the show’s original casts.)

BROADWAY

The Addams Family – Musical; opens 2010

After Miss Julie – Drama starring Sienna Miller; opened 10/22/2009; EW grade: C

Billy Elliot – Musical; opened 11/13/08; EW grade: B+

Burn the Floor – Musical; opened 8/3/09; EW grade: A-

Bye Bye Birdie – Musical Revival starring John Stamos; opened 10/15/2009; EW grade: C+

Chicago – Musical Revival; opened 11/14/1996; EW grade: A+

Fela! – Musical; opens 11/23/2009

Finian’s Rainbow – Musical Revival; opened 10/29/2009; EW grade: B-

God of Carnage – Comedy; opened 3/22/2009; EW grade: A-

Hair – Musical Revival; opened 3/31/2009; EW grade: A-

Hamlet – Drama Revival starring Jude Law; opened 10/6/09; EW grade: B+

In the Heights – Musical; opened 2/14/2009; EW grade: A-

In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play – Comedy; opens 11/19/2009

Jersey Boys – Musical; opened 11/7/2005; EW grade: A

The Lion King – Musical; opened 11/13/1997; EW grade: A+

A Little Night Music – Musical Revival; opens 12/13/2009

Mamma Mia! – Musical; opened 10/18/2001; EW grade: B+

Mary Poppins – Musical; opened 11/16/2009; EW grade: A-

Memphis – Musical; opened 10/19/2009; EW grade: C+

Next to Normal – Musical; opened 4/19/2009; EW grade: A

Oleanna – Drama Revival starring Julia Stiles and Bill Pullman; opened 10/11/2009; EW grade: C-

The Phantom of the Opera – Musical; opened 1/26/1988

Race – Drama; opens 12/6/2009

Ragtime – Musical Revival; opens 11/15/2009

Rock of Ages – Musical; opened 4/7/2009; EW grade: C+

The Royal Family – Comedy Revival; opened 10/8/09; EW grade: B+

Shrek the Musical – Musical; opened 12/14/2008; EW grade: B+

South Pacific – Musical Revival; opened 4/3/2008; EW grade: A

Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark – Musical; opens 2010

A Steady Rain – Drama starring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig; opened 9/29/2009; EW grade: C+

Superior Donuts – Drama; opened 10/1/09; EW grade: B

The 39 Steps – Comedy; opened 1/4/2008; EW grade: B+

West Side Story – Musical Revival; opened 3/19/2009; EW grade: B

Wicked – Musical; opened 10/30/03; EW grade: B

Wishful Drinking – Drama/Comedy starring Carrie Fisher; opened 10/4/2009; EW grade: A-

OFF BROADWAY

Altar Boyz – Musical; opened 3/1/2005; EW grade: B+

Avenue Q – Musical; reopened 10/21/2009; EW grade: A

Blue Man Group – Special Performance; opened 11/11/1991

The Fantasticks – Musical Revival; opened 6/16/2008; EW grade: B+

Idiot Savant – Comedy starring Willem Dafoe; opened 11/4/2009; EW grade: C-

Let Me Down Easy – Drama starring Anna Deavere Smith; opened 10/7/2009; EW grade: A-

Love, Loss, and What I Wore – Drama; opened 10/1/2009; EW grade: B+

Nightingale – Drama starring Lynn Redgrave; opened 11/3/2009; EW grade: C

Our Town – Drama Revival; opened 2/26/2009

The Starry Messenger – Drama starring Matthew Broderick; opens 11/23/2009

Stomp – Special Performance; opened 2/27/1994

The Toxic Avenger Musical – Musical; opened 4/6/2009; EW grade: B

The Understudy – Comedy starring Julie White, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Justin Kirk; opened 11/5/2009; EW grade: B+

ELSEWHERE

August Osage County (national tour with Estelle Parsons) — EW grade: A

(Las Vegas) – Special Performance; opened November 2004; EW grade: A-

LOVE (Las Vegas) – Musical Revue; opened 8/24/2006; EW grade: A-

Mystere (Las Vegas) – Special Performance; opened 15/25/1993; EW grade: A

O (Las Vegas) – Special Performance; opened October 1998; EW grade: A-

Zumanity (Las Vegas) – Special Performance; opened September 2003; EW grade: C

More Stage coverage from EW.com:
EW’s Stage coverage
‘The Understudy’ review
‘Idiot Savant’ review
‘Nightingale’ review

Comments (5 total) Add your comment
  • Anonymous

    I’m always pleasantly surprised when I see stage coverage on EW’s home page. =)

    • Ali

      Thank you! I totally agree – EW reviews everything and the stage section is so tucked away it’s tough to remember it’s there. Thanks for calling attention to theater!

  • ia

    Can we please stop with the revivals on Broadway…were are all the great original musical playwrights (and I don’t mean Disney movies, or comic book heroes, or any movie that was on the big screen). I feel Broadway desperately needs original musicals. How low can you go when you’ve got Hollywood now making films based on board games???!!!??? I hope Broadway doesn’t turn into that!! I wish Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber would be writing great original Broadway musicals once again. And I know that there’s a bevy of new composers/writers out there. Come on, Broadway, work on this, pleeeze!

    • Lauren

      Go see Next to Normal, if that’s what you want. It’s a phenomenal show.

  • ia

    Oooops…I meant “WHERE are all the great original musical playwrights…” Sorry.

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