Published on www.newyorkcool.com
Glengarry Glen Ross
May 1st - August 28th 2005
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (formerly Royale)
Starring: Alan Alda as Shelly Levene, Liev Schreiber as Richard Roma, Frederick Weller as John Williamson, Tom Wopat as James Lingk, Gordon Clapp as Dave Moss, Jeffrey Tambor as George Aaronow and Jordan Lage as Baylen.
Reviewed by Christina M. Hinke
New York Cool
Joe Mantello’s revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross is a taut, funny look at a group of smarmy real estate salesmen who will do anything to make a sale. Winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, this all-male cast kicks up the testosterone and puts on one hell of a show.
The top-seller, Richard Roma is played with power and pizzazz by Liev Schreiber (Tony for Best Featured Actor). He has the Italian machismo down. With his impeccably tailored suits and a black onyx pinky ring on his right hand, he emphatically gets his message across as he talks in his bada-bing voice and throws his hands around to accentuate a point.
Among his colleagues are the old-timer Shelly “the machine” Levene (Alan Alda), the unsuccessful, with no balls George Aaronow (Jeffrey Tambor), and the strong-headed loud mouth Dave Moss (Gordon Clapp). All of them are led by office boss, John Williamson (Frederick Weller). Weller seems to take his lead from the company man Lumbergh of the film Office Space, complete with large-framed glasses and back-stabbing persona. Even his smile is sadistically false.
In the opening scene, Shelly, desperate to close a deal, meets with Williamson at a gaudy Chinese restaurant complete with an aquarium large enough to hold a shark. Using the F-word like a machine-gun-in-open-fire (the lady-who-lunches next to me gasped), he frantically tries to get some hot leads from Weller. Alda, looking old (jowls and all), seems custom made to play a man stuck in his memories of being a top-seller-who-had-all-the-tricks-of-the-trade, but now refuses to realize he doesn’t have it anymore. His suit is too big to hold his withering frame and his posture is slumped over, making him look like a man begging for dinner.
As the second act opens, we see a lowly real estate office with nine fluorescent overhead lamps (one burnt out). The set is so honest with fake wood paneling, cheap furniture, revolving doors and a chalkboard covered with statistics about the “top sales.” The setting is perfect in its sheer dankness.
Tom Wopat’s quiet portrayal of James Lingk, a man being walked all over by the sales shark Roma, is dead-on. With head lowered and twiddling his thumbs, he attempts to get his money back from a signed deal just because his wife said so. Dressed in rumpled khakis and tired wind breaker jacket, he is no match for the sweet-talking Roma. This scene is the epitome of the tale.
Glengarry is an ideal play. The 1992 movie was remarkable, but after seeing Glengarry on Broadway, it is clear why it was originally written for the energy of the stage. And who better for the lead than the mesmerizing Schreiber.
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (formerly Royale) 242 W. 45th St.
© Copyright Christina M. Hinke 2005. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.