Grand Horizons BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • DEADLINE

  • VARIETY

  • HR

  • THE WRAP

Opening Night:
January 23, 2020
Closing:
March 1, 2020

Theater: Helen Hayes Theatre / 240 West 44th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Bill and Nancy have spent 50 full years as husband and wife. As portrayed by Tony Award winner and Academy Award nominee Jane Alexander (The Great White Hope, The Sisters Rosensweig) and Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner James Cromwell (Babe, “Succession”), they practically breathe in unison, and can anticipate each other’s every sigh, snore, and sneeze. But just as they settle comfortably into their new home in Grand Horizons, the unthinkable happens: Nancy suddenly wants out. As their two adult sons struggle to cope with the shocking news, they are forced to question everything they assumed about the people they thought they knew best. By turns funny, shocking, and painfully honest, Bess Wohl’s new play explores a family turned upside down and takes an intimate look at the wild, unpredictable, and enduring nature of love.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Grand Horizons

    Review: In ‘Grand Horizons,’ Marriage Is a Long-Running Farce

    Jesse Green

    January 23, 2020: Like them, “Grand Horizons” is perfectly structured, mimicking the classic works of stage comedy with a stupendous Act I curtain, a neat Act II surprise and a final beat that would be haunting if the road leading to it were not so littered with extorted laughs. Nor can the production, including that alarming lighting by Jen Schriever, be faulted; Silverman seems to have staged the play exactly as Wohl intended, stopping shy only of a laugh track to get the audience coughing up yuks. But what is it Wohl really intends? She’s too serious a playwright to be trying to game the market — though “Grand Horizons,” with its pace, pedigree and cast of six, is likely to be performed in regional and amateur theaters for years. Nor do I think it is purely a botch, a mess that got that way by itself. The constraints of its genre are too bizarre not to have been chosen deliberately, just as Wohl deliberately constrained “Small Mouth Sounds” by setting it at a wordless spiritual retreat, and “Make Believe” by using the playacting of children as a medium for dramatizing mistreatment.

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF Grand Horizons

    ‘Grand Horizons’ Broadway Review: Jane Alexander & James Cromwell In A Marriage Story With Jokes

    Greg Evans

    January 23, 2020: No doubt Wohl and her play have an appealing, compassionate spirit (first on displayed in the playwright’s well-received Off Broadway plays American Hero and Small Mouth Sounds), and that goes a long way: Grand Horizons (the title is the name of Bill and Nancy’s senior community) is a comfortable, comforting entertainment, its jokes more funny than not, its performances, by and large, expert. Alexander and Cromwell are marvels, pros elevating their material with subtlety and bring-it-home delivery.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Grand Horizons

    ‘Grand Horizons’: Theater Review

    Marilyn Stasio

    January 24, 2020: To be sure, the gender divide may be more flexible than in days of yore and the sex jokes may be raunchier. But savvy director Leigh Silverman has mastered the peculiar tone of light comedy that is created out of dark matter and at one time defined the essence of sophisticated Broadway humor. Creatives Clint Ramos (sets), Linda Cho (costumes) and Jen Schriever (lighting) know their way around those slippery Seventies. And do watch for the brilliant directorial move at the end of the first act that lifts the show right out of its time capsule and propels it into a surreal state of comedy that might be called timeless.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Grand Horizons

    'Grand Horizons': Theater Review

    Frank Scheck

    January 23, 2020: That much of this formulaic material nonetheless proves highly amusing is a testament to Wohl's often genuinely funny writing, the expert comic direction of Leigh Silverman and the ensemble's terrific performances. The old-fashioned play, co-commissioned by Second Stage and The Williamstown Theatre Festival (where it premiered last summer, starring JoBeth Williams, Jamey Sheridan, Thomas Sadoski and Jesse Tyler Ferguson), feels like a departure coming from the author of such stylistically daring works as Small Mouth Sounds and Make Believe. Ironically, it will probably become her most popular work to date; it's easy to imagine Grand Horizons becoming a huge crowd-pleaser in regional theaters, with its two lead roles catnip for veteran performers. And those veteran performers will have an opportunity to shine, as do Alexander and Cromwell, especially in the play's final and best scene, in which Nancy and Bill let down their guards and reveal the love that has kept them together for so many years. For those few minutes, at least, Grand Horizons achieves a poignancy and depth that have otherwise eluded it.

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  • THE WRAP REVIEW OF Grand Horizons

    ‘Grand Horizons’ Broadway Review: Jane Alexander and James Cromwell Try to Simonize Broadway Again

    Thom Geier

    January 23, 2020: While Cromwell plays curmudgeon with crotchety perfection, Alexander imbues her sometimes enigmatic character with some real nuance — and she lands her punchlines like a pro. And there are punchlines galore in Wohl’s well-crafted script, where the laughs and the story beats land like clockwork under Leigh Silverman’s nicely paced direction. Since her 2016 Off-Broadway breakout “Small Mouth Sounds,” Wohl has emerged as a major voice in American theater — with three very different, but very good shows premiering just last year: “Continuity,” “Make Believe” and this one, which debuted at the Williamstown Theater Festival last summer (with a mostly different cast). What’s refreshing about “Grand Horizons” is how Wohl widens the scope beyond the immediate family to a winning degree, offering plum cameos for Maulik Pancholy as a late-night booty call for Brian gone wrong and for Priscilla Lopez as a fellow Grand Horizons resident who’s taken a shine to Bill. Yes, the humor can be as broad as a U-Haul truck. But “Grand Horizons” delivers old-fashioned entertainment that’s become a rarity on Broadway.

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