|Morning´s At Seven|
LOS ANGELES -- The
Ahmanson dipped into the Great American Songbook--make that Theatrebook--to
launch its 2002-2003 subscription season. Paul Osborn's MORNINGS AT SEVEN
was first produced in 1939 and has been regularly revived ever since,
most notably two years ago by New York's Lincoln Center, at which time
it garnered critical acclaim and three Tony Awards. The director and most
of the same actors are responsible for the Ahmanson production, backed
up by the Broadway creative team: sets, John Lee Beatty; costumes, Jane
Greenwood; lighting, Brian MacDevitt. The result is a technically proficient
production of a dated but still-amusing play.
The issues at stake aren't earthshaking either. Will mama's boy Homer (Stephen Tobolowsky) finally cut the silver cord and marry Myrtle (Julie Hagerty) after a seven-year engagement? Will Carl (Paul Dooley) leave Ida (Frances Sternhagen), his wife of many years, to live by himself in town? Are Aaronetta (Elizabeth Franz) and Theodore (William Biff McGuire) having a secret affair?
So it goes in insular, smalltown America.
Osborn's many gifts as a writer-- his skill at characterization, ability to write deft dialogue and rich subtext--help to keep MORNING'S AT SEVEN thin storyline together. While I was never deeply involved in the lives of these bumptious midwesterners, I did appreciate the work of the skilled cast (which included Piper Laurie and Buck Henry), Ditto Daniel Sullivan's exemplary direction.
(Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., LA, through Jan 26. Call (213) 628-2772 or visit www.TaperAhmanson.com)