The Playgoer: "Well" on B'way

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Well" on B'way

This just in: Lisa Kron's Well, one of the most acclaimed new plays of last year, is indeed going to open on Broadway. March, 2006.

This will be a fascinating test case, of so many things. A downtown "Lesbian Brother" moving uptown to Broadway, from non-profit to fully commercial. Of course, the play has succeeded so far as a "mother-daughter" story, even if the critical and academic elite has been more interested in its examination of gender- and race-construction and its Pirandellian frame.

I caught the play myself not at the Public in NY, but out at the ACT in San Francisco, a larger space--I dare say Broadway-sized. (Indeed, it turns out to have been a covert tryout.) The play struck me as fresh and disarmingly playful. But I did feel it was dwarfed by the big house (and the mike-amplification), and the 4th-wall breaking fell flat behind such an imposing proscenium.
So will Broadway (the industry and the audiences) embrace this newcomer? Or will the good intentions of yet another well meaning producer (Liz McCann, here) pave the road to the hellish mistreatment of yet another idiosyncratic playwright at the hands of tourist & group-sales ticket buyers. In short: what will non-New York audiences think of Well at $75-100 a pop? I don't begrudge Lisa Kron the right to a Tony and better royalty fees, of course. I just can't bear to see another original artist sacrificed on the anachronistic altar of the Great White Way.

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