Circle in the Square Theatre, (2/26/1980 - 3/30/1980)

First Preview: Feb 01, 1980
Opening Date: Feb 26, 1980
Closing Date: Mar 30, 1980
Total Previews: 28
Total Performances: 40

Category: Play, Comedy, Revival, Broadway
Description: A play in four acts
Setting: 1905. The library in Lady Britomart Undershaft's house in Wilton Crescent, London. The yard of the West Ham Shelter of the Salvation Army. The Foundry - Perivale St. Andrews.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Circle in the Square (under the direction of Theodore Mann and Paul Libin)

Produced by Circle in the Square (Theodore Mann: Artistic Director; Paul Libin: Managing Director)

Written by George Bernard Shaw

Directed by Stephen Porter

Scenic Design by Zack Brown; Costume Design by Zack Brown; Lighting Design by John McLain; Hair and Wig Design by Paul Huntley

Company Manager: William Conn

Production Stage Manager: Nicholas Russiyan; Stage Manager: Robert O'Rourke

Musical Supervisor: Earl Shendell

Circle in the Square Public Relations Director: Merle Debuskey; Circle in the Square Press Representative: Leo Stern; Casting: Lynn Kressel; Literary Advisor: Penelope Hirsch

Opening Night Cast

Philip BoscoAndrew Undershaft
husband to Lady Britomart
Paddy CroftRummy Mitchens
Jon De VriesBill Walker
Rachel GurneyLady Britomart Undershaft
Frank HamiltonPeter Shirley
Laurie KennedyBarbara Undershaft
Lady Britomart's daughter, Major of the Salvation Army
Nicolas SurovyAdolphus Cusins
Barbara's fiance
Norman AllenSnobby Price
Rand BridgesCharles Lomax
Sarah's fiance
Donald BukaMorrison
butler to Lady Britomart
Amanda CarlinJenny Hill
Joan CroydonMrs. Baines
Colonel in the Salvation Army
Gina FranzSarah Undershaft
Lady Britomart's daughter
Jamey SheridanBilton
Nicholas WalkerStephen Undershaft

Understudies: Donald Buka (Peter Shirley), Dalton Cathey (Adolphus Cusins, Stephen Undershaft), Sarah-Jane Gwillim (Jenny Hill, Mrs. Baines, Rummy Mitchens) and Jamey Sheridan (Bill Walker, Charles Lomax, Snobby Price)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1980 Reproduction (Play or Musical) [nominee] 

Produced by Circle in the Square (Theodore Mann: Artistic Director; Paul Libin: Managing Director)

Drama Desk Award

 1980 Outstanding Actor in a Play [nominee] 

Philip Bosco


New York Daily News: "The major's brass lacks luster"

Philip Bosco's Andrew Undershaft and Rachel Gurney's Lady Britomart are the chief virtues of the new Circle in the Square production of "Major Barbara," which opened last night. His forceful and enthusiastic account of the munitions tycoon confident of the beneficence of his calling, and her exquisitely modulated performance as his equally assured and imperious wife whom he left when their now-grown offspring were children lend distinction to an otherwise uneven production.

The first and third acts (the play is presented with a single intermission following Act Two) pass agreeably enough with Bosco and Gurney on hand in both. Some of the subsidiary roles are handled in an ordinary fashion, but these two, and especially Bosco - for the elder Undershaft is the play's plum role - keep Shaw's entertaining conceits and contradictions bubbling along merrily.

The evening's chief letdown is in the second-act Salvation Army shelter scene. A chestnut-haired Laurie Kennedy has presented a very pretty picture of the title character from the start, and being a gifted actress she has performed it with some mettle, but not enough. However, it is Jon De Vries' Bill Walker, that proud bully who is barely arrived on the scene when he is cuffing about both the mild-mannered Army aide Jenny Hill and the cynical crone Rummy Mitchens, who dampens this act with an unconvincing performance featuring a thick, almost unintelligible accent. The other hangers-on here aren't of much help, either, though again Bosco comes to the rescue.

Nicolas Surovy, sporting a feathery beard, makes little impression as Barbara's devoted Adolphus Cusins, the Greek scholar who turns out to be a foundling under English law and therefore a worthy successor to Undershaft, until the final scene. Some of the secondary parts are adequately set forth. Nicholas Walker makes a pleasing Broadway debut as Stephen Undershaft, the son who is unfit for any career other than politics; Gina Franz is amusing as the featherbrained Sarah Undershaft; and a lanky Rand Bridges gets his easy laughs as her fiance, the stereotypical jolly idiot of an Englishman who punctuates all conversation with "Oh, I say!"

Stephen Porter has directed the play capably, and Zack Brown's settings and costumes are both attractive and amusing, as the occasion requires. But the play does suffer being spread out on the Circle's large, open playing area. If only Bosco's vigor and Gurney's grace could have been matched throughout, what a fine evening this might have been! In any case, Shaw and "Major Barbara" are always welcome.

New York Daily News

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