VIEWPOINTS – Amy Schumer and Uma Thurman make solid Broadway debuts in two mediocre new plays, METEOR SHOWER and THE PARISIAN WOMAN

This week, two Hollywood A-listers made their Broadway debuts in two medeocre new plays.

Amy Schumer and the cast of Steve Martin's "Meteor Shower" at the Booth Theatre.

Amy Schumer and the cast of Steve Martin’s “Meteor Shower” at the Booth Theatre.

This past Wednesday marked the opening of Steve Martin’s underwhelming new comedy Meteor Shower (SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED) at the Booth Theatre. The production, competently helmed by veteran director Jerry Zaks, is most noble for introducing superstar comedian Amy Schumer to Broadway audiences. The short answer is that she’s wonderful in the play, as are her accomplished co-stars, Keegan-Michael Key, Laura Benanti, and Jeremy Shamos. Ms. Schumer’s ingratiating yet irresistible brand of humor translates well to the stage; admirably, she’s able to both share the spotlight and hold court in a Broadway house. I only wish that Mr. Martin’s confounding, half-baked wisp of the play, a 75-minute hybrid between Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and a juvenile comedy sketch, was more substantial. I had high hopes for Mr. Martin’s new play, as I am a fan of his distinctive previous works for the stage (Bright Star, Picasso at the Lapin Agile). But, alas, Meteor Shower is ultimately a dud.

Uma Thurman and Blair Brown in Beau Willimon's "The Parisian Woman" at the Hudson Theatre.

Uma Thurman and Blair Brown in Beau Willimon’s “The Parisian Woman” at the Hudson Theatre.

Last night, Beau Willimon’s political drama The Parisian Woman (SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED) opened at the Hudson Theatre, marking the Broadway debut of the forever-gorgeous Uma Thurman. The play is an update of Mr. Willimon’s own early 1990s work, which in turn was based on Henry Becque’s scandalous 1885 play La Parisienne. Mr. Willimon, perhaps most well-known as the creator of the television series House of Cards, here trods familiar territory. Set in Washington, D.C., The Parisian Woman is a parable of what it takes, particularly the sacrifices that have to be made, to attain political power and advancement. In the center of it all is Chloe, the engine of play, here played by Ms. Thurman. I’m happy to report that Ms. Thurman not only looks more glamorous than ever, she’s also a wonderful stage actress. Her nuanced, naturally commanding interpretation of the role lends gravitas to Mr. Willimon’s predictable, at times clichéd, play. The rest of the capable cast, which includes Josh Lucas, Blair Brown, and Phillipa Soo, as well as excellent director Pam MacKinnon, do their best to save the handsome production from the writing’s surprising mediocrity.


Broadway, Play
Booth Theatre
1 hour, 15 minutes (without an intermission)
Through January 21

Broadway, Play
Hudson Theatre
1 hour, 30 minutes (without an intermission)
Through March 11


Categories: Broadway, Theater

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