The Playgoer: Julia

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Sunday, July 31, 2005


Playgoer has already been barraged with questions (okay, two) about the bemusing Julia Roberts announcement in Friday's Times. What can one say? I actually feel we should stop pretending to be shocked when a producer asks a movie star to star in a play. What it says about the theatre when such stars accept such offers, though, may be a more interesting question. Good news for the theatre maybe? Certainly good news for Richard Greenberg fans that probably more folks will now see this decade-old play of his in one month on Broadway than in all its countless productions so far.

I'm personally not a fan of this play. Greenberg is a considerable writer, but here his logorreah gets the best of him. And, as a three-hander chamber piece, it will just disappear in a thousand-seat house. (So the play may in fact be killed with kindness... Again, who said Broadway must be the savior to new plays!) And consider this--the time-bending script will actually call upon Roberts to play not just one, but two characters. (A woman and her own mother, if I remember?) So whatever benefit of the doubt we may give her in translating her screen charm to stage...let's say range has never been "America's Sweetheart's" strong suit. Plus, there are unfortunately two other (male) characters in the play with equally large parts! Couldn't her agent have found her a better vehicle?

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