Tuesday, June 16, 2009

One Last Chance to See "Fifth of July" in NYC this Weekend

I became aware of the current production of Lanford Wilson's play, "Fifth of July," because I follow the acting career of Jonathan Orsini. Jonathan let me know that he was making his New York stage debut in this production, and I was able to coordinate my travels to NYC to coincide with one of the first performances at the T. Schreiber Studio.

I had been aware of this play, written by the celebrated Pulitzer Prize winner, Wilson. So, I was prepared to see a well-written play. From having see Jonathan in other plays and on screen in films, I knew that Mr. Orsini's work is excellent, but I was not familiar with the rest of the cast. I was not prepared for the outstanding quality of the ensemble work that this cast brings to the telling of the story. Set in the post-Viet Nam War era, the play is a gripping examination of the complexities of trying to recover from the physical and emotional scars that war can inflict.

At the performance I attended, the playwright made an unannounced appearance. The cast had not been made aware that he would be there, so there was great excitement in the moments after the proverbial curtain fell and the author gave his enthusiastic endorsement of the work that the actors had done. In the photo above, Wilson is seen posing with the cast.

While there are elements to the story, first staged 30 years ago, that seem somewhat dated and tied to the age of 1960's radicalism, there are other elements that are timeless and relevant to the challenges facing our soldiers returning less than whole from Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is a play worth seeing, and a cast worth watching. If you are in NYC or will be this week, I urge you to see it - performances this Thursday through Sunday.

Link to T. Schreiber Studio



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