Thursday, February 14, 2008
Two of a kind?
I had to chuckle at the e-mail I got this morning from Telecharge. Here's how it started out: "Since you loved August: Osage County, here's a great deal on another MUST-SEE Broadway hit!
Full of anticipation, I scrolled down, only to find that it was an ad for Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll, including this quote from the New York Times' Ben Brantley: “Tom Stoppard’s dazzling whirligig of a mind is in full spin in this exciting new play of immutable passions.”
I know everyone has different tastes, but it's hard for me to believe that anyone could compare the two.
Without a doubt, Rock 'n' Roll was one of the biggest disappointments of my short Broadway theatergoing career: disjointed, with little believable emotion and few characters I really cared about. I'd hardly call it exciting. And I didn't find playwright Tom Stoppard's use of rock music all that effective.
On the other hand, Tracy Letts' August: Osage County is one of the most thrilling experiences I've had at the theater: brimming with emotion, realistic situations and fully fleshed-out, believable characters that hit close to home. It's a great story with witty dialogue and it's got amazing performances by members of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
And I don't quite see how you could label Rock 'n' Roll a "Broadway hit." It seems like a little bit of creative writing to me. According to Playbill, Rock and Roll took in $283,207 at the box office last week, while August: Osage County took in $535,598. And in December, producer Jeffrey Richards reported that August: Osage County had a $3 million advance - one of the largest for a straight play in recent history. In January, the play extended for five weeks, to April 13.
But, everyone has different tastes. Maybe some people who liked one will like the other. I'm sure there are Rock 'n' Roll fans who have a different opinion of August: Osage County. It's just great that there are so many plays to choose from this season.
And I'm still glad I saw Rock 'n' Roll. The more theater you see, the more you realize what you love, what you like, and what leaves you wondering what all the fuss was about.