American Airlines Theatre, (3/25/2004 - 6/06/2004)

First Preview: Feb 27, 2004
Opening Date: Mar 25, 2004
Closing Date: Jun 06, 2004
Total Previews: 27
Total Performances: 84

Category: Play, Comedy, Revival, Broadway
Description: A play in three acts
Setting: Onboard the Twentieth Century Limited. October, 1938.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes: Artistic Director; Ellen Richard: Managing Director; Julia C. Levy: Executive Director of External Affairs; Gene Feist: Founding Director)

Produced by The Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes: Artistic Director; Ellen Richard: Managing Director; Julia C. Levy: Executive Director of External Affairs; Gene Feist: Founding Director)

Written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur; Based on a play by Charles Bruce Millholland; New adaption by Ken Ludwig

Directed by Walter Bobbie; Assistant Director: Sarah Gurfield

Scenic Design by John Lee Beatty; Costume Design by William Ivey Long; Make-Up Design by Angelina Avallone; Lighting Design by Peter Kaczorowski; Sound Design by Acme Sound Partners and Nevin Steinberg; Hair and Wig Design by Paul Huntley; Assistant Scenic Design: Eric Renschler; Assistant Costume Design: Thomas M. Beall; Associate Lighting Design: Mick Smith; Assistant Sound Design: Jeffrey Yoshi Lee; Moving Light Programmer: Josh Weitzman

General Manager: Don-Scott Cooper; Company Manager: Denys Baker; Roundabout General Manager: Sydney Davolos

Production Stage Manager: James Harker; Technical Supervisor: Larry Morley; Stage Manager: Leslie C. Lyter

Roundabout Associate Artistic Director: Scott Ellis; Press Representative: Boneau / Bryan-Brown; Roundabout Director of Marketing: David B. Steffen; Roundabout Director of Artistic Development / Casting: Jim Carnahan; Casting: Mele Nagler; Advertising: The Eliran Murphy Group, Ltd.; Photographer: Joan Marcus; Logo Artwork: Fraver

Opening Night Cast

Alec BaldwinOscar Jaffe
Anne HecheLily Garland
Tom AldredgeMatthew Clark
Terry BeaverConductor
Patrick BollFirst Detective
Dan ButlerOwen O'Malley
Stephen DeRosaFirst Beard
Max Jacobs
Julie HalstonIda Webb
Robert JiménezPorter
Kellie OverbeyAnita Highland
Ryan ShivelyGeorge Smith
Jonathan WalkerGrover Lockwood
Todd CerverisEnsemble
Darian DauchanEnsemble
Bill EnglishEnsemble
Virginia Louise SmithEnsemble

Understudies: Patrick Boll (Oscar Jaffe), Todd Cerveris (First Beard, Grover Lockwood, Max Jacobs, Owen O'Malley), Darian Dauchan (Porter), Bill English (First Detective, George Smith), Robert Jiménez (Conductor, Matthew Clark) and Virginia Louise Smith (Anita Highland, Ida Webb, Lily Garland)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2004 Best Actress in a Play [nominee] 

Anne Heche

 2004 Best Featured Actor in a Play [nominee] 

Tom Aldredge

Drama Desk Award

winner 2004 Outstanding Set Design of a Play [winner] 

John Lee Beatty


AP: "'Twentieth' a Strained Production"

There is a lot of huffing and puffing on stage, and it's not just because the latest Broadway production from the Roundabout Theatre Company is set on the Twentieth Century Limited, the sleek luxury train that once traveled between Chicago and New York.

The celebrated liner, of course, is the focal point of "Twentieth Century," the classic 1930s farce by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur now being revived in a new streamlined adaptation by Ken Ludwig, author of "Lend Me a Tenor" and "Moon Over Buffalo."

Designer John Lee Beatty's spiffy art deco train is the best thing about this strained production, which stars a miscast Alec Baldwin and a hyperactive Anne Heche as two larger-than-life theatrical types destined to battle each other forever.

A portly Baldwin plays Oscar Jaffe, a down-on-his-luck impresario who is fleeing Chicago after a disastrous reception for his latest venture, an epic about Joan of Arc. Jaffe is conniving to reunite with his former leading lady, Lily Garland, now a Hollywood movie star. The tempestuous Lily, portrayed by Heche, wants nothing to do with him, but then Jaffe knew her when - when she was only little Mildred Plotka.

You need extravagant personalities to pull these roles off and while Baldwin and Heche get the play's physical high jinks, its considerable verbal thrusts and parries elude them.

Baldwin affects an odd, overstuffed accent, vaguely British and oh-so-cultured. Unlike a Nathan Lane, who can wring high hilarity out of every moment of desperation, Baldwin's attempts at comic exasperation sputter.

Farce should be played fast, and it is here, thanks to Walter Bobbie's straightforward direction. Yet Heche, also in weird voice, races through her dialogue lickety-split, so quickly, in fact, that the words often end up incomprehensible. That's a shame because there still are genuine chuckles and a few outright belly laughs in this old warhorse, even in Ludwig's extensively pruned version.

But the ultra-thin Heche, looking like a chic Olive Oyl clothed in expensive furs, can be occasionally funny, especially when she is lurching around a train compartment trying to get away from the overbearing Jaffe.

It's up to the supporting cast to carry most of the comic load, and the effort shows. They work very hard, particularly Julie Halston and Dan Butler, as Jaffe's loyal assistants.

The best laugh-getter, though, is Tom Aldredge as the religious fanatic who says he will finance Jaffe's comeback production: a Broadway version - Mel Gibson take note - of the Oberammergau Passion Play. In Jaffe's version, Lily will play Mary Magdalene, a fallen woman saved by her faith.

For all its hard-boiled humor, "Twentieth Century" maintains a genuine affection for the travails of theater folk, on and off the stage. There's a sweet temper behind all the silliness but that fondness and what should be gales of laughter are missing from this ho-hum production.


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