Let the weekend recaps begin!
On Thursday, my mom came to the city—we were going to the Open House at Random House the next day—and we brainstormed what to do that night. Seeing Anna Karenina was an option, but earlier that week, I had seen a TV segment highlighting The Heiress.
Although the show sounded intriguing, it was Dan Stevens—aka heartthrob Cousin Matthew from Downton Abbey—who peaked my interest.
When I mentioned seeing the Broadway production to my mom, she told me she saved a newspaper clipping about the show; we were totally on the same page—like mother, like daughter—so getting tickets was a no-brainer. Cousin Matthew, here I come!
Held in the Walter Kerr Theatre, the show featured well-known actors like Jessica Chastain (The Help), David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck), and Judith Ivey (two-time Tony Award winner).
Did I mention gorgeous Dan Stevens?
Set in the mid-19th century in Washington Square, the story centers on Catherine Sloper (Chastain), the shy and sheltered daughter of a prominent New Yorker (Strathairn). Caught between the demands of her emotionally distant father and the attentions of a passionate young suitor (Stevens), Catherine must navigate the terrain of love and regret, desire and duty, a chance for happiness and the burden of fortune … “as only an heiress can.”
Photography was prohibited during the show, but here are a few pictures from the website.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. Beforehand, I read some reviews, and for the most part, critics were split. A lot of them said people who’ve read the novel it’s based on would be disappointed (Washington Square by Henry James), as would folks who’ve watched the 1947 Broadway version (starring Wendy Hiller, Basil Rathbone, and Peter Cookson) and/or the 1949 film (featuring Olivia de Havilland, Ralph Richardson, and Montgomery Clift). Since I’m unfamiliar with these versions, I had no comparison to make, so I liked it. Both Strathairn and Ivey were phenomenal, and I also appreciated drooling over watching Stevens portray another character. (It’s possible my mom had to restrain me when he walked on stage for the first time; we sat in the third row, so we were super close!) It almost didn’t seem like him when he spoke in an American accent, which helped me keep noble Cousin Matthew and dodgy Morris Townsend separate. However, as some of the critics articulated, Chastain fell short for me. When you’re watching a movie, do you ever feel so embarrassed for a character that you literally can’t watch? Like you close your eyes and look away? I anticipated that level of awkwardness, so it was disappointing in a sense that I never felt embarrassed for her. Good show overall, though!
Have you ever seen a big-scale play or musical? If you could see any show on Broadway, which would you pick?