Monday, December 15, 2008

Friday Night On Broadway

On Friday, my friend Cindy and I got the weekend off to a fun start with dinner and a Broadway show.

Our cozy table upstairs at Osteria al Doge in Times Square offered a perfect view of the bistro’s festive holiday decorations and bustling pre-theater crowd.

Cindy and I made it easy for our waiter, both ordering a tasty spinach salad with orange dressing and pan roasted Italian sea bass with celery root, sweet roasted garlic & manilla clams. For dessert, we indulged our respective sweet tooths with chocolate mousse and cinnamon ice cream. Delicious.

After dinner, it was a short, brisk stroll to the American Airlines Theater, where we had twelfth row seats for “A Man For All Seasons” starring Frank Langella.

The Martyrdom of Sir Thomas: Frank Langella pulls out all the stops in "A Man For Seasons"
(photo courtesy: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

The 1960 play by Robert Bolt takes place between 1529 and 1532 and tells the gripping story of Sir Thomas More‘s martyrdom. One of the British monarchy’s most loyal subjects, More fell out of favor when he refused to sanction King Henry’s divorce and England’s subsequent split from the Catholic church.

“A Man For All Seasons” examines what it means to be true to yourself no matter what the cost -- and raises the question of how far a man will go to honor his own moral code.

As Sir Thomas, 70-year-old Langella turns in a heroic, powerful performance, offering a revealing glimpse into the psyche of a great historical figure. By the play’s end, you definitely feel like you’ve been on an existential journey. Though act two drags on a bit -- mostly because of the show’s three-hour running time -- Langella never falters. He delivers every line with searing intensity, particularly during the climactic court scene when Sir Thomas is sentenced to death.

This isn’t the only historical figure in Langella’s current repertoire. He’s generating Oscar buzz for his portrayal of Richard Nixon in “Frost/Nixon.” With his amazing turn in “A Man For All Seasons,” it's a good bet the veteran actor can also look forward to adding another Tony Award to the three he’s already got on his shelf.

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