Seeing The Heiress on Broadway

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.

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Although the show sounded intriguing, it was Dan Stevens—aka heartthrob Cousin Matthew from Downton Abbey—who peaked my interest.

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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!

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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).

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Did I mention gorgeous Dan Stevens?

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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.”

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Photography was prohibited during the show, but here are a few pictures from the website.

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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?

25 responses to “Seeing The Heiress on Broadway

  1. This looks fantastic! I love going to the theatre, and this production seems like something I would really enjoy. That theatre looks really familiar. I think that’s where I saw Doubt when I was in New York six years ago.

  2. I’m a little jealous that you were so close to Cousin Matthew! Speaking of which, sooo close to Downton Abbey time!! 🙂

  3. I love Love LOVE theatre! Houston is blessed with an excellent theatre district, and I try to make it there several times a year. 🙂 My birthday is coming up in January, and this year, we’re headed to Chicago to celebrate. While we’re there, we’re supposed to see a show called “I Love Lucy.” I hadn’t heard of it, but I can’t wait!

  4. I really want to see “Once”. Ages ago my parents and I saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in NYC and a distant cousin was in the show so we got to go backstage and meet the actors.

  5. Ooh that looks so fun, I love seeing plays on Broadway!

  6. Wow I am so jealous that you live in NYC. Even though everyone always asks me (living in NY) when I venture to the city LOL…somehow Oswego is not the same…

    • Yeah, I think whenever you said, “Oh, I live in New York,” people always assume NYC; and if you don’t live in the city, then they think you go there every weekend. Not exactly. 😉

  7. I love going to the Theater, but maybe because we make it a special occasion and don’t do it a lot. When we were in NYC last month we went to see Spiderman because I knew I could get hubs to it and it was great

  8. Oh my gosh, how amazing!!! I’m super jealous of you right now. Seeing a Broadway play is on my to-do list.

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  11. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t think that I would like big productions like this all that much … I have too much trouble sitting that long and concentrating on one thing. I can barely make it through movies!! However, the building really, really is beautiful. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have a sleepover party there? haha. Yes, this was the first thing that came to mind. 😉

    • I have to admit that my attention waned a bit. I kept whispering funny (and inappropriate) things to my sister, which helped keep me focused. 😉 But two hours without an intermission felt a little long.

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