Saturday, June 15, 2024

Robin Williams Lets Real Tiger Blood Loose on Broadway


Robin Williams has a stunning hit on Broadway: he’s the star and main character in “Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo.” He opened Thursday night to rave reviews and thunderous applause from friends like Billy and Janice Crystal, Sting and Trudie Styler, Bob Balaban and Lynn Grossman, Peter Asher and wife Wendy, Barry Levinson and wife Diana, Susan Sarandon, Neil Simon and Elaine Joyce and dozens of wowed theatergoers who didn’t know what to expect including The New Yorker’s veteran writer, Lillian Ross. Moises Kaufman directed this experimental and cool new play by Rajhiv Joseph, and it’s a thing of beauty. “Bengal Tiger” takes place in 2003 in Bahgdad, in a zoo, as American soliders are searching in vain for weapons of mass destruction.

Most of the characters including Robin’s, are ghosts. But Robin is also a tiger. And very very funny while the play delivers multiple images and layers with anti-war statement. At the party afterwards, Billy Crystal could not stop kvelling, And it was a big deal for him, too. “I missed opening day at Yankee Stadium,” he conceded. “But I know you have to stay up late for Broadway!” Williams was overwhelmed, I think. When someone told him the review in the New York Times was a rave, he said: “I guess that will be good for business.” An understatement. The Tony Award nominations for Best Actor in a Play are going to be wild this year, with Williams facing off against at least Al Pacino, Brian Cox, and a bunch more big names on their way!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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