Monday, April 22, 2024

Broadway: Tom Stoppard Is On His Way to Win a Tony Award and (Hopefully) A Pulitzer Prize for “Leopoldstadt”


British-Czech playwright has six Tony Awards for writing the Best Play on Broadway. This June should come his 7th statue, and maybe even a Pulitzer Prize.

I went back last week to see again his real masterwork, “Leopoldstadt.” The Longacre Theater was full, which was good since this production set to close in July. Frankly, it should run forever.

This time, a few standbys were in the cast. Plus Josh Malina, of “West Wing” fame, is now playing the key role of Herman, originally played by David Krumholtz.

But the original players are still there mostly including Brandon Uranowitz, Betsy Aidem, Jenna Augen, and the amazing Faye Castelow. Actually, the whole cast is amazing as this Jewish family in Vienna begins at the end of the 19th century feeling that they’ve made it financially and socially. They even have a Christmas tree so it looks like they fit in. One member has become a Catholic. Another has married a non Jew. This group of the family has convinced themselves they are Austrian above anything else, guaranteeing them assimilation and success.

Of course, they couldn’t be more wrong. Over the next two hours and ten minutes their lives will be destroyed, devastatingly and they would say — unexpectedly. But the writing has been on the wall. They’ve just refused to see it.

“Leopoldstadt” is a historical tale but it’s also a warning for Jews in 2023. That’s why it resonates so loudly and cuts so deeply. Antisemitism all over the world has increased tremendously. Even in New York, where people feel safe, the threat always looms. Are we ignoring the writing on the wall? I know plenty of people who feel like the family on this stage, wrapped in their own success, ignoring the signs around them. This is why when the “Leopoldstadt” comes to its close there’s a lot of sniffling in the audience. Every immigrant can identify with this experience.

You have until July 2nd to see this play. Don’t miss it.

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.

Read more

In Other News