The Country House BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • The Country House
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • HUFFPOST

  • HR

  • NBC

Opening Night:
October 2, 2014
Closing:
November 23, 2014

Theater: Samuel J. Friedman / 261 West 47th Street, New York, NY,

Synopsis: 

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies (Times Stands Still, Sight Unseen) returns to Broadway with his tenth MTC production, a new comedy about a deeply dramatic family. Tony and Emmy winner Blythe Danner (The Commons of Pensacola, Meet the Parents) stars as Anna Patterson, the matriarch of a brood of famous and longing-to-be-famous creative artists who have gathered at their Berkshires summerhouse during the Williamstown Theatre Festival. But when the weekend takes an unexpected turn, everyone is forced to improvise… inciting a series of simmering jealousies, a flurry of romantic outbursts and a bout of passionate soul-searching. Inspired by Chekhov’s pastoral comedies, this witty and compelling new play provides a piercing look at a family of performers coming to terms with the roles they play in each other’s lives. Tony winner Daniel Sullivan (The Columnist, Good People) directs.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Country House

    ‘Vanya’ and ‘Seagull’ and Mash-Up and Spite Blythe Danner Stars in ‘The Country House’

    Ben Brantley

    October 2, 2014: Blythe Danner’s voice makes its entrance before she does. “Da-ahr-ling!” it cries out from the wings in that familiar italicizing rasp, and a gratified ripple of recognition runs through the audience. The applause begins even before Ms. Danner’s willowy form flutters into view. That “darling” is the first word heard in The Country House, Donald Margulies’s motley valentine to the artists of the stage and the angst of Anton Chekhov, which opened on Thursday night at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater. And the endearment, especially as Ms. Danner pronounces it, feels like a fitting prologue for a play that considers the Broadway star as a vanishing species. Uttered with the proper authority, “darling” is a weapon, a shield and a good-luck charm for someone like Ms. Danner’s character, Anna Patterson, the kind of glamour-kissed actress whose name on a marquee would once have guaranteed lines around the block. Not these days, though. As Anna says, through clenched teeth: “There are no Broadway stars, dear. Not anymore. Oh, there are stars on Broadway, but they’re not Broadway stars.”

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Country House

    Donald Margulies heads to the bucolic Berkshires for his latest collaboration with Manhattan Theatre Club

    Adam Feldman

    October 2, 2014: Timing is everything. Donald Margulies respectfully raids the Chekhovian thematic pantry in The Country House, which arrives on Broadway in an elegant production staged with customary polish by Daniel Sullivan and starring Blythe Danner in a role that overlaps with her own professional history. But coming in the wake of Christopher Durang's far more illuminating contemporary riff on the Russian master, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, seriously undercuts the usefulness of this engaging, if rather safe, middlebrow entertainment.

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  • HUFFINGTON POST REVIEW OF The Country House

    Is Donald Margulies's 'Country House' Too Chekhovian or Not Chekhovian Enough?

    David Finkle

    October 2, 2014: Some plays about actors, acting and other theater concerns can be quite good--a worthy example being Anton Chekhov's 1895 work, The Seagull. Most plays about actors, acting and other theater concerns, however, are not so rewarding. Sorry to say that one of them is Donald Margulies's newest comedy-drama, The Country House, now at the Samuel J. Friedman, following its world premiere at The Geffen Playhouse as part of a Manhattan Theatre Club-Geffen Playhouse co-production deal. Curiously, one of the reasons the play falls short of Pulitzer Prize-winning Margulies's usual vaunted mark is that he's chosen, as many playwrights before him have, to make The Country House an homage to Chekhov. To be more specific, he's saluting--if you want to call it that--The Seagull and Uncle Vanya, and he goes seriously awry doing so, falling far short of Chekhov's dramaturgically and emotionally involving level.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF The Country House

    Blythe Danner plays a veteran actress whose family gathers in the Berkshires in Donald Margulies' contemporary homage to Anton Chekhov

    David Rooney

    October 2, 2014: Timing is everything. Donald Margulies respectfully raids the Chekhovian thematic pantry in The Country House, which arrives on Broadway in an elegant production staged with customary polish by Daniel Sullivan and starring Blythe Danner in a role that overlaps with her own professional history. But coming in the wake of Christopher Durang's far more illuminating contemporary riff on the Russian master, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, seriously undercuts the usefulness of this engaging, if rather safe, middlebrow entertainment. Appropriating elements drawn primarily from The Seagull and Uncle Vanya, Margulies' Chekhov excursion is a vast improvement on the lame-duck derivation of Sharr White's turgid The Snow Geese, which played this same Manhattan Theatre Club venue last season. But for all its diverting banter, heated emotional vivisection and tender resolutions, this is a comedy-drama with no edge or lingering aftertaste. It's mildly amusing, then it's moderately affecting, and then it's over.

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  • NBC NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Country House

    “The Country House” Is No Vacation

    Dave Quinn

    October 2, 2014: If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that a trip to the country is never quite as relaxing as it seems. Just ask Anton Chekhov, Terrence McNally, Stephen Sondheim, Noël Coward, Christopher Durang, David Ives, Theresa Rebeck, Laura Eason or Sharr White — all who have all put their characters through turmoil while staying in cozy locales far from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s no surprise, then, that the quiet retreat at the center of Donald Margulies’ newest play, The Country House, is soon filled with fighting families, jealous lovers and enough hurt feelings to make even the Berkshires gloomy. Regrettably, the action in the play, now open at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, is far too contrived to make much of an impact.

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