Even earlier than the good James Cromwell arrives on the punchline of a decrepit soiled nun joke, or the incomparable Jane Alexander will get to a vibrator bit exhausted seasons in the past by Grace and Frankie, Bess Wohl’s affable, unremarkable marriage comedy Grand Horizons has its “one thing borrowed” locked down. The “one thing new,” alternatively…
Opening tonight (on the Second Stage’s Helen Hayes Theater) in a spit-shined and neatly forged Broadway manufacturing directed by Leigh Silverman, Grand Horizons strikes with a confidence that comes near convincing. You’ll root for it even whilst you’re attempting to position the place, precisely, you’ve seen every state of affairs earlier than.
Alexander and Cromwell play a comfortably retired couple who, after 50 years, out of the blue resolve to name an finish to the tasteless, bored, practiced routine of their largely silent marriage. “I believe I would love a divorce,” says Alexander’s Nancy, capping a properly choreographed, fully wordless opening vignette through which she and husband Invoice set a dinner desk for 2 with the precision of an costly timepiece.
‘The Karate Child’ In Coaching For Broadway: Musical Adaptation Has Unique Screenwriter On Board
“All proper,” responds the resigned-to-life Invoice. And that’s that.
Ashley Park, Ben McKenzie
Besides, in fact, it’s not. Their grownup sons (Michael Urie, Ben McKenzie) react with sufficient flabbergasted, over-the-top hysteria to embarrass the common sitcom teen. “Is anybody feeling anxious or unhappy or scared?” calls for the excitable homosexual son Brian (Urie), looking for solutions. “Is anybody forgetting issues, or, like, placing the phone within the fridge?”
Elder son Ben (McKenzie), the accountable, lawyerly one, tries purpose: “When you needed to get divorced it’s best to have performed it after we went to varsity, like regular folks.” Ben’s well-meaning therapist spouse Jess (Ashley Park) suggests role-play and hand-holding as a possible answer.
Revelations arrive in due time, none notably unexpected or unforeseeable, most being of the parents-like-sex-too selection. One of many larger laughs arrives when Alexander’s seemingly prim Nancy makes use of a vulgar time period for oral intercourse (prompting Urie’s Brian to plug his ears and scream in horror – no Grace and Frankie fan he).
Maybe director Silverman (The Lifespan of a Reality) pushes her forged to such occasional extremes to compensate for the dearth of surprises in Wohl’s first Broadway play (a dearth, not an absence: a very large jolt gained’t be spoiled right here, however kudos to the dependable scenic designer Clint Ramos for some terrific, discombobulating enjoyable with the cookie-cutter assisted residing setting).
Little doubt Wohl and her play have an interesting, compassionate spirit (first on displayed within the playwright’s well-received Off Broadway performs American Hero and Small Mouth Sounds), and that goes a good distance: Grand Horizons (the title is the identify of Invoice and Nancy’s senior group) is a cushty, comforting leisure, its jokes extra humorous than not, its performances, by and huge, knowledgeable. Alexander and Cromwell are marvels, execs elevating their materials with subtlety and bring-it-home supply.
Michael Urie, Maulik Pancholy
Urie, even when directed to extremes, instructions the stage with a comic book panache that’s solely grown since his well-received starring position in 2018’s Torch Music, and Park (Imply Women) lifts a well-recognized touchy-feely therapist position to one thing extra sudden.
In his Broadway debut, McKenzie, who’s performed distinctive work over time on TV’s Southland and Gotham, nearly retains tempo along with his extra stage-experienced forged mates, as faint-praisey as that sounds. In a lot smaller however properly diverting roles, Maulik Pancholy (as Brian’s one-night-stand) and a scene-stealing Priscilla Lopez (as an growing older single girl who would possibly as soon as have been referred to as a enjoyable woman) brighten issues significantly.
Finest efforts and a candy coronary heart however, Grand Horizons falls wanting its expansive title. The promising Wohl has one thing of worth in her sights, a generosity that desires nothing however the very best for her upset characters that just about, however solely nearly, comes into focus in her Broadway debut.