John Golden Theatre, (11/20/2014 - 2/22/2015)

First Preview: Oct 20, 2014
Opening Date: Nov 20, 2014
Closing Date: Feb 22, 2015
Total Previews: 36
Total Performances: 108

Category: Play, Drama, Revival, Broadway
Setting: A large and well-appointed suburban house. Now.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President)

Produced by Scott Rudin, Elizabeth I. McCann, Eli Bush, Roger Berlind, William Berlind, Jon B. Platt, Roy Furman, The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President), Ruth Hendel, Scott M. Delman, Stephanie P. McClelland, Sonia Friedman Productions/Tulchin Bartner Productions, The Araca Group, Heni Koenigsberg, Daryl Roth, Joan Raffe & Jhett Tolentino, Catherine & Fred Adler and David Merrick Arts Foundation

Written by Edward Albee

Directed by Pam MacKinnon

Scenic Design by Santo Loquasto; Costume Design by Ann Roth; Lighting Design by Brian MacDevitt; Sound Design by Scott Lehrer; Hair and Wig Design by Campbell Young Associates; Make-Up Design by Sheri Kornhaber, Campbell Young and Luc Verschueren; Associate Scenic Design: Jisun Kim; Associate Costume Design: Sarah Cubbage and Matthew Pachtman; Associate Lighting Design: Robert Denton; Associate Sound Design: Alex Neumann; Moving Light Programmer: Michael Hill

Executive Producer: Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner and John Johnson; Company Manager: Penelope Daulton

Production Manager: Aurora Productions; Production Stage Manager: Roy Harris; Stage Manager: Denise Yaney

Dialect Coach: Deborah Hecht; Fight Consultant: Thomas Schall; Casting: Heidi Griffiths, C.S.A.; Press Representative: Philip Rinaldi; Advertising: SPOTCo, Inc.; Photographer: Brigitte Lacombe

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Opening Night Cast

Bob BalabanHarry
Glenn CloseAgnes
Lindsay DuncanClaire
Clare HigginsEdna
John LithgowTobias
Martha PlimptonJulia

Understudies: Jack Davidson (Harry, Tobias), Stephanie Janssen (Julia), Laurie Kennedy (Agnes, Edna) and Deirdre Madigan (Claire, Edna)


AP: "'A Delicate Balance' Still a Bracing Brew"

Whoever has to restock and refill the onstage bar at the new Broadway revival of Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance" has their work cut out for them.

In this still-stunning Albee play with a cast to stand up and toast, a full glass seems always being drained. There's cognac, anisette, brandy, whiskey, screwdrivers, gin and martinis, all disappearing at an alarming rate.

Albee's 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winner, which takes an upper class, suburban WASP family to the breaking point over a weekend, is superbly directed by Pam MacKinnon and so well performed by a trans-Atlantic ensemble that each actor manages to convince you that they are the focus of the show.

John Lithgow plays the soft center as Tobias, the somewhat coolly aloof patriarch, in name only. He would like nothing more than being left in a comfortable chair with a good book and maybe an after-dinner digestif.

Instead, his calm is constantly interrupted by his sister-in-law, Claire (played by Lindsay Duncan), a hard-boiled alcoholic who trades snipes and snarls with his wife, Agnes (Glenn Close), the morally superior fulcrum of the family.

"There is a balance to be maintained, after all, though the rest of you teeter, unconcerned, or uncaring, assuming you're on level ground," Agnes says.

Add to this potent cocktail the arrival of Julia (Martha Plimpton), the much-married daughter of Tobias and Agnes, who has fled her latest husband but can't reclaim her old bedroom because it's being occupied by Harry and Edna (Bob Balaban and Clare Higgins), two old friends of her parents who have fled their own home, filled with unexplained dread.

The house is full. The bar is stocked. Let the insults fly.

"A Delicate Balance" first arrived on Broadway four years after Albee's blistering "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" also plumbing the often papered-over resentments lurking beneath very civilized people.

This revival of "A Delicate Balance," which opened Thursday at the Golden Theatre, comes just a year after MacKinnon won a Tony for directing a stunning revival of "Virginia Woolf." Albee has clearly found a soul mate in the examination of how life gets compromised and calcified.

MacKinnon has an equally blistering cast this time, with Lithgow as a terribly good ineffective peacemaker, trying to avoid verbal land mines, counseling "let it be," and constantly fetching drinks. His story about an old house cat becomes an aria and his eventual collapse into a barking puddle of honesty is gorgeous.

Close's Agnes perfectly navigates the role's twin dangers of barking self-righteousness, on the one hand, and nasty bitchiness on the other. She's able to switch from soft and loving to arch and noble to pounce like an alley cat. Duncan, who actually balances a glass on her head, is a nasty, truth-telling drunk; she hovers like a hawk to look for weakness and then flashes her talons.

Plimpton consummately conjures an immature, needy daughter, equal parts smug, put-upon and damaged. And Balaban and Higgins are perfectly in synch as a couple who seem clueless and oddly obtuse, but can suddenly flash their fangs.

Santo Loquasto's gorgeous, elegant sitting room and Ann Roth's comfy, elegantly chic costumes for the women and proper country club menswear give the play a polished look that makes the eventual savagery all the more painful. It is truly a revival where everyone does great work, but keep your eye on that busy bar. Imagine taking care of that each day.


New York Daily News: "'A Delicate Balance,' theater review "

Leave it to Edward Albee to make a story of a couple’s home invasion — not by strangers, but by people they’re supposed to love and cherish — so whip-smart and wickedly funny.

The playwright accomplishes all that in “A Delicate Balance,” his well-known, surgical dissection of upper-class rigidity and rituals, which won a Pulitzer Prize.

The 1966 play is showcased in a very good production that’s cool, well-composed and captivating. It’s directed by Pam MacKinnon, who won a Tony two years ago for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

“A Delicate Balance” traces three days in the lives of Agnes (Glenn Close) and Tobias (John Lithgow), who live in a large, suburban house with her unfiltered, alcoholic sister Claire (Lindsay Duncan, a sly scene-stealer).

Oddly enough, the interior’s palate of pale blues, muted greens and ruddy browns recall Araucana eggs. Fitting, since the residents are all a bit cracked, or have the potential to be. The play begins with Agnes talking about losing her mind.

Albee’s title applies to virtually any scenario. But Agnes and Toby are keenly concerned with the delicate balance of keeping reality — or anything, or anyone, unpleasant — outside their front door.

Before you know it, their petulant daughter Julia (Martha Plimpton, amusing and touching) has run home after the collapse of her fourth marriage. Then her parents’ best friends, Harry (Bob Balaban) and Edna (Clare Higgins, feral and natural), barge in after being frightened by some unknown terror. They plan to stay. But that doesn’t fly in this confined cocoon.

Agnes is tightly wrapped, in terms of both manner and costume, which smartly underscores the sense of insularity. Close, with her aristocratic take on Agnes, comes within inches of coming off as arch. That approach doesn’t hurt the character. But Close’s unintentional habit of tripping over Albee’s dialogue doesn’t help.

Lithgow, meantime, is riveting every moment he’s on stage — which is a lot — even when Tobias is silent. As he takes the character from quiet restraint to explosive urgency, he doesn’t miss a beat and never for a second loses his equilibrium. His is a delicate — and distinctive — balance.

New York Daily News

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