Friday, April 12, 2024

Broadway Audiences At “Network” Cheer Bush, Obama, Clinton, Boo Donald Trump at End of Each Show


There’s a lot going on in Ivo van Hove’s “Network,” which opens tonight on Broadway after a hit run in London’s West End.

For one thing, Bryan Cranston– who won the Olivier award for Best Actor last March– is giving the performance of his life. It’s funny because I waited with him to meet Elaine May last month after she gave the performance of her life in “Waverly Gallery.” We had no idea, I guess (jokingly), what he really did for a job. Wow. His Howard Beale is just beyond sensational. (Everyone is good in this play: Tony Goldwyn, Tatiana Maslany, et al.)

At the end of “Network,” after the curtain call, there’s a little video tag on like a Marvel movie. von Hove shows in sequence all the US presidents taking the oath of office starting with Jimmy Carter. (The play takes place during Gerald Ford’s short administration.)

The audience, still standing last night, clapped for Carter, then Reagan, cheered for the newly departed George HW Bush, cheered for Clinton, clapped for George W. Bush, really cheered for Obama. Then Trump came up, and the booing boomed through the Belasco Theater. There were catcalls, shrieks, and one woman who yelled “Liar!” over the crowd. Only one man seemed displeased at Trump’s treatment, but he was drowned out.

I asked one of the ushers if last night was a typical reaction. “Oh yes,” she said, same thing. But another woman, visiting from Chicago, told me later Trump would have had a better reaction in the Windy City.

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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