Network BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Jan Versweyveld
  • NY TIMES

  • DEADLINE

  • VARIETY

  • HR

  • TIME OUT

Opening Night:
December 6, 2018
Closing:
March 17, 2019

Theater: Belasco Theatre / 111 West 44th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Tony, Olivier, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad,” All the Way) makes his triumphant return to Broadway in the National Theatre’s sold-out, critically acclaimed production of Network.

In Lee Hall’s adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky’s Academy Award-winning film, anchorman Howard Beale (Cranston) unravels live on-screen. But when the ratings soar, the network seizes on its newfound prophet, and Howard becomes the biggest thing on TV.

Cranston won the 2018 Olivier Award for his tour-de-force performance. Tony and Olivier winner Ivo van Hove (A View From the Bridge) directs this brilliantly innovative and electrifying production, also starring Tony Goldwyn (“Scandal”) and Emmy Award winner Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”).

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Network

    Review: An Electrifying Bryan Cranston Is All the Rage in ‘Network’

    Ben Brantley

    December 6, 2018: For your sins, Bryan Cranston is all but flaying the skin off his body, night after night at the Belasco Theater. It is a demanding undertaking, both painful and rigorously skilled. And if you’re a glutton for great, high-risk acting, you owe Mr. Cranston the courtesy — and yourself the thrill — of watching his self-immolation in “Network,” which opened on Thursday. Mr. Cranston is portraying Howard Beale, a grand old newscaster who becomes a martyr to the inhumanity of television, in this churning, immersive stage adaptation — directed to overwhelm by Ivo van Hove — of the passionately remembered 1976 movie. Howard Beale, you may recall, is the role that won Peter Finch an Oscar.

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF Network

    ‘Network’ Broadway Review: Bryan Cranston Goes Suitably Mad

    Greg Evans

    December 6, 2018: By now I’m well past the point in this review where I should have more thoroughly discussed Network, director Ivo van Hove’s Broadway staging of the Paddy Chayefsky TV satire, a production to which the director and his longtime design collaborator Jan Versweyveld have given their trademark ultra-modern glass sheen and multi-media approach (hand-held cameras are used to display live, close-up video on large screens, and in one brief segment even follow two of the stars – Tony Goldwyn and Tatiana Maslany – outside the theater). But my late-arriving discussion of the production seems justified for a play so completely dominated by a single performance. In most other respects, Network is something of a let-down, and certainly no improvement over the film. Goldwyn is good if miscast as Beale’s longtime friend, colleague and fellow midlife crisis sufferer Max Schumacher, a role better suited to the doughy, sad-sack late-career William Holden than Scandal‘s ever-fit president.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Network

    Broadway Review: ‘Network’ With Bryan Cranston

    Marilyn Stasio

    December 6, 2018: The 1976 film “Network” won four Academy Awards, including best original screenplay for writer Paddy Chayefsky, for its blistering portrayal of an American society fueled by greed and bloated on corruption. A haggard Peter Finch took the best actor trophy for his harrowing performance as Howard Beale, a TV newsman who is so disgusted by the state of his industry – and the world it reflects — that he threatens to commit suicide on the air. His mantra — “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” — both thrills and galvanizes viewers. Funny how times haven’t changed. Chayefsky’s diatribe, which played as satire almost a half-century ago, takes on fresh fury in a sizzling stage production, directed by Ivo Van Hove, that feels less satiric but more urgent — and frightening — in today’s times. Adaptations have been made to the original screenplay by Lee Hall, but the sense of immediacy is palpable.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Network

    'Network': Theater Review

    David Rooney

    December 6, 2018: Who knows how Chayefsky, who died in 1981, would have responded to the populist fury that gave us the Trump administration, the bloviating Republican Party mouthpieces of Fox News, the liberal attack dogs of MSNBC and CNN, or the advent of the satirical newscast, from Jon Stewart through John Oliver, as a more trusted information source for many on the left than the supposedly straight news hours. What remains clear, however, is that the writer was definitely onto something, and while his taste for windy oration can grate, his caustic immorality tale proves a trenchant fit for the stage in this boldly inventive adaptation from director Ivo van Hove and playwright Lee Hall. That's especially true with the volcanic Bryan Cranston giving a gut-wrenching performance in the pivotal role of Howard Beale. This is a vigorously inhabited, freshly minted characterization, quite distinct from the disheveled Biblical doomsayer that won Peter Finch a posthumous Oscar in the movie. Cranston's Howard seems lucid and laser-focused even when he's staggering around in his underwear hearing voices, or weeping at the corrosive hypocrisies that compel him to speak up. You can't look away as this respected career anchorman, past his expiration date, navigates the seismic shifts from professional humiliation through embittered desolation, at the same time stumbling into self-reinvention as a messianic visionary and unlikely ratings sensation. It's a thrilling performance.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Network

    Network

    Adam Feldman

    December 6, 2018: Bryan Cranston has a hell of a mad scene in the middle of Network. It’s the most famous section of the 1975 film from which Lee Hall's play has been adapted, and it gets pride of place in the Broadway production directed and then directed some more by the busy Ivo van Hove. Cranston portrays Howard Beale, a veteran anchorman who has been fired by his company, UBS (get it?), and has responded with a nervous breakdown on live TV, threatening to kill himself and rejecting the “bullshit” (got it) that passes for news. Now, having wandered into the studio from the street in his pajamas, he calls on his viewers to rise up, scream out and repeat after him: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Van Hove draws out the scene, lingering on Cranston—via live-video closeups that the audience sees on screens throughout the Belasco Theatre—as he struggles through a fog of messianic psychosis. It’s riveting stuff, because Cranston is an extraordinary actor, and also because, for an extended moment in this tech blitz of a show, there appears to be a human being onstage.

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