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BLACK TIE OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: February 8, 2011
Synopsis: Father of the groom, Curtis, simply wants to make a memorable toast. But before he is able to raise his glass, he must defend the time-honored ways of his past, including his attire. Cultures clash when a surprise guest is announced, threatening to throw convention out the window. Curtis finds that balancing the standards of his late father and the needs of his future family may prove too messy for a black tie affair.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"There are not many fixed verities in the world of the theater, but one of the few is that when A.R. Gurney returns to home territory — writing about the manners and morals of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant upper class — the results will most likely be gratifying. Mr. Gurney’s “Black Tie,” which opened on Tuesday night at the 59E59 Theaters, is one of this prolific writer’s most enjoyable plays in years, a modest but effortlessly engaging comedy about the generational shifts in the subset of humanity Mr. Gurney has been writing about with warmth, humor and insight throughout his career."
"The prolific A.R. Gurney has made a specialty of documenting a certain slice of America: Northeast-based, white, middle-class families bound by a strong sense of kinship and precisely delineated social circles."
"To write an effective comedy of manners, it’s best to have a firm handle on how people are actually talking, dressing and behaving. A.R. Gurney has long been a reliable chronicler of 20th-century WASP foibles and obsessions, but his view of young folk in the anemic generation-gap satire Black Tie, is patently fake. I don’t know anyone under 30 who would call an argument a “real screamer” or be impressed by a stand-up comedian/hip-hop multimedia artist with the unprepossessing name Seymour (“Because he sees more than most people,” a young lady gushes). If none of Gurney’s characters—young or old—grumble about or even allude to those darn cellulite phones or the Intrawebs, it’s either because this play was penned before their advent or the author never uses such technology."
"Sometimes, your dad's old hand-me-down suits need altering to fit just right. Sometimes, his advice does, too. Such is the premise of A.R. Gurney's very enjoyable new play "Black Tie," which made its world premiere at Primary Stages' 59E59 Theaters on Thursday night. A comedy about how values change from generation to generation, the play benefits from some excellent acting and writing."
"While detailing the confusion that surrounds the rehearsal dinner for a young couple's wedding in Black Tie, now being presented by Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters, prolific playwright A.R. Gurney revisits a favorite subject: the obsolescence of the social mores and traditions of upper middle class East Coast WASPs. At the same time, the playwright explores the various social and psychological legacies that fathers bestow on their sons."
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