*A Doll's House Part 2,* 8/31/17
Richard and I saw *A Doll's House Part 2* on Broadway on 8/31/17. We saw it in June (dig up the review in my archives, if you like) and loved it, and were eager to see it again with the (mostly) new cast. Seeing it a second time really highlighted what a great play it is. Rich, funny, surprising, and wonderfully compact. Everyone loves a 90-minute show, right?
Julie White played Nora, the role originally played by Laurie Metcalf. Metcalf won the Tony, but White has a Tony of her own, for *The Little Dog Laughed.* I really wish I had seen that play. Anyway, White was fantastic, very different from Metcalf - - Metcalf was grand and ironic, White was more human-scaled and direct. Both performances work really well. My favorite moment in her performance: a few times she was at the front of the stage, facing forward, and quickly turned on her heel and walked back to the center of the stage, with a beguiling swish of her skirt. Adorable every time, always prompted a giggle from the audience. I love the way White uses her voice: it's clear and colorful when she's speaking in a normal tone of voice, but it turns gritty when she shouts.
Stephen McKinley Henderson played Torvald and was a big change from Chris Cooper. Cooper, like Metcalf, emphasized the drama. Henderson was much more contained, very buttoned up. He had a classic stage actor's use of his instrument, his voice and body were working at the service of the character, he was a joy to watch. And like Cooper and Metcalf, Henderson and White had a delightful chemistry.
Erin Wilhelmi played their daughter, the role originated by Condola Rashad. Wilhelmi was sweet and seemed to be eager to make a good impression on her mother - - Rashad was bitter and withdrawn and seemed to be intensely uncomfortable with her mother. Very interesting how the actors all had such different takes on their roles.
Jane Houdyshell was the one holdover from the original cast, and she was just as fantastic. I'm sure she's recalibrated her performance to be more in line with the other actors, but it seemed to be more or less the same hilarious and intensely characterful performance we saw before. You certainly couldn't do any better.
I predict this play will be a big hit on the regional theater circuit. Four actors, one set, 90 minutes, a title that people recognize, but done in a fresh and hip way - - it markets itself. I wonder if the actors playing Nora will be actors who played the original Nora twenty years ago.
One closing note: seeing this show was a major moment for me, it was the first time I got press tickets for a show. My dear friend Lyn Pilch was instrumental in me developing my blog at Blogger and then my divamensch website, and she encouraged me to write press offices, introduce myself as a member of the press, and ask for press tickets for specific shows. I wrote about twenty-five emails earlier this month and hit pay dirt with two: I'll be seeing four shows at BAM this fall and winter, and got tickets for this performance of *A Doll's House Part 2.* I got a little teary when I saw the word PRESS printed on my ticket. I might have it framed.