American Airlines Theatre, (10/03/2010 - 11/28/2010)

First Preview: Sep 03, 2010
Opening Date: Oct 03, 2010
Closing Date: Nov 28, 2010
Total Previews: 35
Total Performances: 65

Category: Play, Comedy, Tragedy, Revival, Broadway
Description: A play in four acts
Setting: Haslemere, Surrey. Chancery Lane, London.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes: Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert: Managing Director; Julia C. Levy: Executive Director; Gene Feist: Founding Director)

Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company (Todd Haimes: Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert: Managing Director; Julia C. Levy: Executive Director; Gene Feist: Founding Director)

Written by George Bernard Shaw; Original Music by David Van Tieghem

Directed by Doug Hughes; Assistant Director: Alexander Greenfield

Scenic Design by Scott Pask; Costume Design by Catherine Zuber; Lighting Design by Kenneth Posner; Sound Design by David Van Tieghem; Hair and Wig Design by Tom Watson; Associate Scenic Design: Frank McCullough; Associate Sound Design: Brandon Wolcott; Assistant Scenic Design: Lauren Alvarez and Jeffrey Hinchee; Assistant Costume Design: Nicole Moody; Assistant Lighting Design: Peter Hoerburger

Roundabout General Manager: Sydney Beers; General Manager: Rebecca Habel; Company Manager: Carly DiFulvio

Production Stage Manager: James FitzSimmons; Production Manager: Aurora Productions; Stage Manager: Bryce McDonald

Casting: Jim Carnahan, C.S.A. and Carrie Gardner, C.S.A.; General Press Representative: Boneau / Bryan-Brown; Advertising: SPOTCo, Inc.; Interactive Marketing: Situation Interactive; Dialect Consultant: Elizabeth Smith; Photographer: Carol Rosegg; Roundabout Associate Artistic Director: Scott Ellis; Roundabout Director of Marketing and Sales Promotion: David B. Steffen; Roundabout Director of Development: Lynne Gugenheim Gregory

Opening Night Cast

Cherry JonesMrs. Kitty Warren
Sally Hawkins
Broadway debut
Vivie Warren
Adam Driver
Broadway debut
Frank Gardner
Mark HarelikSir George Crofts
Edward HibbertMr. Praed
Michael SiberryReverend Samuel Gardner

Understudies: Peter Bradbury (Mr. Praed, Reverend Samuel Gardner, Sir George Crofts), Cary Donaldson (Frank Gardner), Stephanie Janssen (Vivie Warren) and Charlotte Maier (Mrs. Kitty Warren)


AP: "Shaw's 'Mrs Warren's Profession' made relevant"

George Bernard Shaw's "Mrs. Warren's Profession" hasn't had a happy life. An early work by the playwright, it was banned virtually as soon as it was written and has never been considered among his best. Even Shaw labeled it one of his "plays unpleasant."

A new revival by the Roundabout Theatre Company, then, comes as a happy surprise. Helmed by Doug Hughes and starring Cherry Jones and Sally Hawkins, the work is made urgent and subversive.

The profession of the title - not to mince words - is sex. Shaw has used the topic of prostitution to expose hypocrisy in "respectable" Victorian England, assail capitalism and explore mother-daughter relationships.

Written in 1894, the play traces the gradual horrible realization that Vivie Warren, a well-educated young lady with a head for business, has been enjoying her comfortable, modern life because her mother has quietly built a fortune running brothels.

Not only is her mother, Kitty Warren (Jones), not sorry about her career, she defends prostitution as a way for women to avoid starvation wages and argues that it is essentially the same as marriage. That's a pretty radical conviction even now, but Shaw does not try to provoke with deed or language that would make some in the audience squirm.

That doesn't mean, however, that there aren't fireworks inside the American Airlines Theatre: Jones and Broadway newcomer Hawkins (Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky") are first-rate as they circle each other in scene after scene, parrying and thrusting.

Hawkins downplays the daughter's sensuality. She clumps about the stage with little femininity or sentimentality, fancying herself a whiskey-drinking, cigarette-smoking, independent woman. She is a smartypants who abhors tears and weakness and, thus, is on a collision course with both.

Jones offers us simply everything: smooth sensuality, maternal sweetness, haughtiness, despair, cool humor and, when provoked, a sudden, horrible viciousness. Her British accent grows ever more guttural when she and her daughter have climactic standoffs at the ends of Acts 2 and 4.

"I was a good mother; and because I made my daughter a good woman, she turns me out as if I were a leper. Oh, if only I had my life to live over again," Mrs. Warren tells her daughter at one point.

"My work is not your work, and my way not your way. We must part," her daughter responds, in dialogue that easily could be heard between parent and child today. "What have we two in common that could make either of us happy together?"

The men in the play are none too nice: Adam Driver portrays a smooth, young operator angling for Vivie’s hand; Mark Harelik plays a sleazy businessman; Michael Siberry bumbles along as a clueless reverend; and Edward Hibbert (TV's "Fraiser") is at his fussy best as an old friend of Mrs. Warren. All turn in wonderful performances, but none of the characters will come as much comfort to men in the audience hoping for a hero.

Particular note must be made of Kenneth Posner's lighting and Scott Pask's scenic design. They combine to create stunningly realized locations - elaborate houses and interiors that look lifelike, lush and tall garden hedges that act like barriers to the outside, and an art deco city office, all glowing with sensuous light.

The play, which marks the first time "Mrs. Warren's Profession" has been on Broadway since 1976, has been criticized for turning its characters into little more than mouthpieces for Shaw's politics. And sometimes the monologues seem clunky and forced as Shaw first lands a punch here that makes you sympathize with the mother and then an uppercut blow there that leaves you on her daughter's side.

But Jones and Hawkins have fleshed out these paper tigers and made them roar. And Hughes has turned a 100-year-old play relevant. It naturally has a message for anyone who makes her or his business in the oldest profession. But it's also a play that will make anyone uncomfortable who grows rich on Wall Street at the expense of small businesses, or creates armies of porn starlets, or even those who decry the existence of sweatshops and yet go to the theater in their new, cheap sneakers.

For them, it may be an unpleasant play indeed.


New York Daily News: "Mrs. Warren's Profession review: Not much shines in this incomprehensible revival"

With its sharp and witty observations about sex and class, freedom and oppression, and mothers and daughters, there's plenty to recommend in George Bernard Shaw's "Mrs. Warren's Profession."

As for the Roundabout's revival of the 1893 play directed by Doug Hughes, not quite so much -- despite catnip casting of Cherry Jones in the title role of Kitty Warren. She's the low-born enterpriser who uses prostitution to ensure her Cambridge-educated daughter, Vivie, independence in late Victorian England.

Hughes and Jones together turned the religious drama "Doubt" into Tony gold, but not much shines so bright in this redo. At best, the production at theAmerican Airlines Theatre is efficiently attractive. At worst, it's garbled and incomprehensible.

Low on action, high on talk, the story unfolds at various ivy-covered locales (byScott Pask, at his most garden-variety). Double discoveries by Vivie (EnglishGolden Globe winner Sally Hawkins) keep the plot turning. The first one is that her mum turned to the oldest profession to survive, which the young woman can abide. The second is that Mrs. W. continues to run several lucrative brothels, which Vivie can't accept.

Statuesque, sturdy and with eyes that beam intelligence, Jones draws you in instantly -- and she looks great in Catherine Zuber's bold frocks and hats. It's a treat having her back on stage, following her Emmy-winning presidential term on "24," but she undermines herself with a sloppy accent that careens from Cockney to outer-borough to Mae West.

Hawkins ("Happy-Go-Lucky") makes a feisty, strong-willed Vivie -- a woman so rigid, upright and unyielding it's as though she could crack at any moment. Too bad she's often shrill and difficult to understand.

Elocution oddities are contagious. Adam Driver plays the broke opportunistFrank Gardner with a weird singsong. What's in the water backstage?

Michael Siberry, who plays Frank's clergyman father, and Edward Hibbert, as Kitty's eager-to-please friend, earn points for speaking clearly.

Ditto Mark Harelik, as Crofts, Kitty's shady business companion. The scene in which Vivie shoots down his advances is as keen-eyed as it is contemporary. Writing about the oldest profession, Shaw made something that's evergreen -- even in a pale production.

New York Daily News

View full site