Thursday, May 23, 2024

Gwyneth Paltrow, Neil Patrick Harris Check out Blythe Danner’s “Country House”


There was an excellent star turnout last night to see Blythe Danner in “The Country House.” Her daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow, an actress, hit the red carpet, along with Neil Patrick Harris, Michele Lee, Zachary Quinto, Jennifer Wesfeldt (sans Jon Hamm, who took the night off), Tracie Thoms, and Margaret Colin. Danner’s famous photographer daughter-in-law Taryn Simon was also there, but her husband, Jake Paltrow, was in Spain on a film shoot.

The play, by the otherwise very talented Donald Margulies, is an erector set of cliches that some reviewers thought echoed Chekhov. But unlike the great Chris Durang comedy “Vanya and Sonya et al,” this effort doesn’t know what it wants to be. So it is exasperating.The first act has lots of laughs. The second act devolves into a soap opera-ish sort of melodrama kept afloat by the actors’ hard work and good intentions.

But the cast is superb– you could watch Blythe Danner read the phone book. She is worth every penny of the ticket price. Also, the lighting is exceptional by Peter Kaczorowski, which helps a lot.

Good work from cast members David Rasche,Daniel Sunjata, Sarah Steele, Kate Jennings Grant and most especially, Eric Lange.

By the way I did ask Neil Patrick Harris about “Finding Neverland.”  He said, “I’m too old! I’m 41 now!” This seems impossible, but I believe him.

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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