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The Big Knife
Playing at the American Airlines Theatre located at 227 West 42nd street. It runs two hours thirty minutes with one intermission between the second and third act. The show closes on June 2, 2013.
The show premiered on Broadway on February 24, 1949 at the National Theatre and closed on May 28, 1948 after 109 performances. Lee Strasberg directed it. In 1955 it was made into a movie with Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Rod Steiger and Shelley Winters.
Clifford Odets is the playwright. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1955 for “The Flowering Beach” but under pressure from Joseph Pulitzer Jr., the prize went instead to “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof”, which the jury considered the weakest of the five shortlisted nominees” (Wikipedia). Last year there was a revival of “Golden Boy” another Odets play. It starred Tony Shalhoub and Danny Burnstein.
Dough Hughes is the director. He won a Tony, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle and Callaway Awards for “Doubt” in 2005. In 2004 he was nominated for a Tony, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards for “Frozen”.
Marin Ireland was nominated for a Tony Award for “Reasons to be Pretty” in 2009.
Bobby Cannavale won a Drama Desk Award in 2011 for “Mother F—cker With Hat” and was nominated for a Tony Award for this role. He was nominated for a Tony Award in 2009 for “Mauritius”. Bobby won an Emmy Award for his performance as Will’s boyfriend on N BC’s “Will and Grace”.
Catherine Zuber is the costume designer. She has been nominated ten times for a Tony Award winning five. Catherine won for “The Royal Family” (2010), “South Pacific” (2008), Coast of Utopia” (2007), “Awake and Sing” (2006) and “Light in the Piazza” (2005). She was nominated for a Tony Award for “How to Succeed in Business Without Tying” (2011), “Born Yesterday” (2011), “Edward Albee’s Seascape” (2006) “Dinner for Eight” (2003) and “Twelfth Night” (1999).
The play takes place July 1949 in the playroom of Charlie Castles’s Beverly Hills house. Act one: A summer afternoon, Act Two Late one night, the following week and Act Three scene one: Late afternoon, a few days later and scene two: an hour later.
Charlie Castle (Bobby Cannavale) is a famous actor. He is being interview by gossip columnist Patty Benedict (Brenda Wehle) about the rumor that Charlie's wife Marion (Marin Ireland) is leaving him. He denies it.
The story revolves around a hit and run accident Charlie’s was involved in. A woman was in the car with him but it wasn't his wife. His friend Buddy Bliss (Joey Slotnick) takes the blame and says he was driving. Buddy spends ten months in jail.
In order to save his marriage he promises Marion that he won’t sign another contract with the studio.
Charlie’ manager Nat Danziger (Chip Zion) insists it’s a good deal and he should sign the contract. He say’s fourteen years and 3.9 million dollars is nothing to throw away. The big studio boss Marcus Hoff (Richard Kind) and his side kick Smiley (Reg Rogers) threatened to expose him unless he signs the contract. Marcus said he will even add $25,000 more per picture.
Smiley tells him the women in the car Dixie Ivans (Rachael Brosnahan) says she is going tell the press what really happened. He asks Charlie to talk to her to see if she will change her mind. Maybe if he tells her he will marry her.
Charlie is hurting. His life is unraveling. People are pressuring him. Too many lies and secrets are taking their toll on him.
What they are, you will have to see the show.
Catherine Zuber costumes are wonderful. The show no age, you could wear them today.
The cast is made up of seasonal actors, all adding substance to the show.
Bobby Cannavale is outstanding. The is the best role and performance I have seen him in.
Richard Kind is so convincing you hate him. That’s how good he is.
Marin Ireland, Chip Zien and Reg Rogers are all exceptional in their roles.
It makes you think at what price you have to pay to keep your integrity.
This is a good revival, one you will enjoy seeing.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazoor.
To read a candid interview with the cast, scroll down to the left for recent photos. Click on recent photos for this and other shows.