A new version of Present Laughter, Noel Coward’s classic comedy in three acts, opened January 21, 2010 at the American Airlines Theatre.
Directed by Nicholas Martin, this fifth Broadway revival stars Victor Garber as an aging actor, Garry Essendine, at the top of his game as he prepares for a six-play tour of Africa. Set in his London flat, he faces the realization that his life is changing and he may not continue to be the roué he has always been as his day begins with a love-struck ingénue.
The complications of his life, created more by his own doing than by the sycophants that surround him include: his wife (more in name than not), his long-time secretary, his maid and butler, a fawning frenetic would-be playwright and other assorted characters. The title is derived from William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”: “What is love? ‘tis not hereafter; Present mirth hath present laughter; What’s to come is still unsure.”
Previews began January 2, 2010. The average paid admission over the course of previews was $42.23. There were 5,339 attendees and ticket sales were $225,441 in the week.
Evening performances are scheduled Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with weekly matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. “Present Laughter” has a run time of two hours and 30 minutes with two intermissions. The production will close March 31.
The 740-seat American Airlines Theatre is located at 227 West 42 Street between 7th & 8th Avenues. Further scheduling and ticketing details are available on the production’s official Web site.
Opening Night: ‘Present Laughter’
|Variety||David Rooney||“It’s all very classy and urbane, as it should be, and there’s an ample stash of still-sparkling gems among the dialogue.”|
|New York Times||Charles Isherwood||“In this frothy production, Garber eases back onto Broadway as if slipping into a bubble bath…”|
|Backstage.com||Erik Haagensen||“Martin…overrides Coward’s sophisticated comic rhythms, encouraging his cast to push as if driving a second-tier Neil Simon comedy.”|
|NY1||Roma Torre||“If Victor Garber isn’t a natural fit as Garry, he has the talent to pull it off quite convincingly with a splendid mix of flamboyance and sophistication. An added bonus is the lovely voice he brings to Coward’s comically-bittersweet tune ‘World Weary.'”|
|Talkin’ Broadway||Matthew Murray||“[Garber] has no trouble embodying the brittle-witted, stiffed-lip, always-on actor, one of the most satisfying and laugh-prone stereotypes (one is hesitant to exactly call him a character) Coward ever committed to paper.”|
|The Hollywood Reporter||Frank Scheck||“…the production is wonderfully elegant, featuring a gorgeous art deco depiction of Essendine’s London flat and costumes so sumptuous that you can practically sense the enjoyment of the actors wearing them.”|