Location: Longacre Theatre
Written By: Tom Stoppard
Summary: An epic story covering multiple generations of a Jewish family in Vienna from 1899 through 1955.
Highlights: This is prolific playwright Sir Tom Stoppard (Arcadia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, et al) at his most personal. He has woven a story of generations from his own family history. His family fled the Nazis in Czechoslovakia when he was young, and he grew up in England knowing little of that history. Now he grapples with it in a play that spans 56 years and could easily be made into a 10-episode Netflix series with the multiple characters and stories it contains, some barely hinted at. We begin in 1899, with two interwined Jewish families putting up a Christmas tree for "the papist children," a couple of its members having married Christians. In over two hours without an intermission (which is a bit long, but does contribute to the epic and unrelenting feeling of the tragic story), we follow generations of this family (children in the first act are adults in the second with children of their own that continue into the next scene) into 1924 recovering from WWI, 1938 with the impending cloud of the the Holocaust beginning to spread, and 1955 when those that are left reflect on their history. In typical Stoppard fashion there's smart and witty dialogue, a scandalous affair, a humorous misunderstanding involving a bris, and talk of mathematics and art. All of this plays out against the backdrop of this once prominent and successful family having their property, culture, and lives stolen from them.
*Once again, I'm using an abbreviated Fringe-style summary for my NYC 2022 trip, since I am in the greatest city in the world with much more exciting things to do than write! Click here to see all of my Broadway-related blog posts.