Why See Frankie & Johnny?
A Celebration Of Terrence McNally's Legacy
Thanks to a prolific and influential creative output, beloved American playwright Terrence McNally has already taken his place amongst theater and literary luminaries like Rodgers, Hammerstein, George M. Cohan and Arthur Miller. Borrowing from his personal life and own unique understanding of the world, McNally has continuously illustrated an overarching theme of human connection or the failing thereof in many guises, be it satire or drama, exploring themes of AIDS, homophobia, love, life and all the messy bits in between. In celebration of this iconic theatermaker's 80th birthday, director Arin Arbus presents a special 16 week Broadway engagement of his classic two-hander Frankie and Johnny in the Claire De Lune.
Two-time Oscar-nominated Hollywood heavyweight Michael Shannon stars opposite Tony, Grammy and Emmy-winning Great White Way royalty Audra MacDonald as the titular middle-aged lovers at the center of the bittersweet comedy about romance blossoming in unlikely places. Whilst the respected actors are no strangers to treading the Broadway boards, the production itself made its mark on New York in 2002 starring Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci following an Off-Broadway debut featuring with Kathy Bates and Kenneth Welsh in 1987. Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer also brought the visceral story to life in Gary Marshall's 1991 feature film.
What is Frankie & Johnny About?
Unlike most stage and screen romances, Frankie & Johnny begins with its title characters in bed together, after their first date ends. They've been to a movie, made idle chit chat and done the deed - it's hardly the stuff of an epic Mills and Boon bodice-ripper. The sarcastic and frumpy Frankie, a waitress at a greasy spoon, can't wait for Johnny, a new short order cook at the same joint, to leave so she can eat ice cream and watch television in peace. But Johnny has other ideas... Although she mocks him mercilessly, prolific meddler and constant talker Johnny professes his undying love for his recent amour, convinced she is his soulmate. As he wares away at her defences, they each bare their souls a little more as the tentative signs of love unfurl and a mismatch becomes a tender new relationship.
Cast and Creative
Audra MacDonald - Frankie
Michael Shannon - Johnny
Writer - Terrence McNally
Director - Arin Arbus
Producers - Hunter Arnold, Debbie Bisno, Tom Kirdahy
Set design - Riccardo Hernandez
Costume design - Emily Rebholz
Lighting design - Natasha Katz
Sound design - Nevin Steinberg
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Until Apr 28, 2019
Cranston's wrenching performance stands on its own. In context, it's a terrifying reminder of how an all-too-human, anger-filled public figure, with access to a worldwide stage, can be mistaken for a god.
Such a joyful hoot. With its kinetic dancing, broad mugging and belty anthems, it makes you believe in musical comedy again.
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