Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Birthday Jennifer Ehle!

We wish you health and happiness in the new year!

Tagboard hints

I haven't been looking at the tagboard as often as I should! As a result, I neglected these little pointers!

Firstly, there's a video of Voyage clips and production photos on the LCT site.

Secondly, the LCT site put up a whole heap of reviews for each part of the trilogy.

There's some talk on BroadwayWorld about Shipwreck. Some good, some bad.

Nothin' Like a Dame 2007

The Nothin' Like a Dame concert has been set for March 19 2007, and though Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris were in it last year, it has not yet been confirmed whether they will be attending this year.

After-party activity was reported by Variety:
Amidst such camaraderie, the mood was quite light at an after-party following the weighty, sprawling play about 19th-century Russian revolutionaries: Ethan Hawke held court in a black vest seemingly not bothering to change out of one of his costumes, while Jennifer Ehle instead changed from her period frocks and wig into ratty jeans and a leather jacket to gracefully accept compliments at the Avery Fisher Hall dinner.

Meantime, Martha Plimpton couldn't sit still, flitting about and successfully working the room. "Wait till you see the next part," enthused the show's director Jack O'Brien when asked how he's managed to create a legit show that's staged like a perfectly shot film. "I'm gonna blow this shit up!"

This picture is from the opening night of Shipwreck. More photos from the opening nights of Shipwreck and Voyage can be found at Getty when you search "ehle".

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Large Shipwreck Update

Reviews have built up during Christmas, so I'll just do them all in one post.

Leading The Charge and International Herald Tribune have the same review and describe Jennifer Ehle's performance like this:
One involves the lovely Jennifer Ehle , bewitching as Herzen‘s free-spirited wife. She is a woman who gives a bit too freely — and to one too many people. Her dalliance with German poet George Herwegh (a humorously self-centered David Harbour) threatens to capsize her marriage to Herzen.

Elysa Gardner from USA Today is impressed by Shipwreck's script and scope.
Ehle makes a convincing soul mate and sparring partner, relaying Natalie's fierce emotions and convictions with a stringent intensity.

The Variety Review is out:
The compelling work of O'Byrne and Ehle dominates the play, and their confrontation, when Alexander learns of Natalie's affair, is shattering. reports:
Women, who seemed a bit too "Little Women" in the first section, have far more fascinating things to do here. Bourgeois marriage is under scrutiny - this time, for both sexes - which gives the radiant Jennifer Ehle, as Herzen's wife, a lighthearted liaison with a friend (Martha Plimpton) and a more serious affair with George Herwegh (David Harbour), a romantic German poet indulged by his rich Jewish wife (Bianca Amato).

Theatre Mania
gives a positive review.

NY Sun is not so positive but calls Jennifer Ehle "ravishing".

New York Post is very enthusiastic:
Circling around him are his wife, the ethereally spiritual Natalie (another touchingly tender yet impulsive portrayal from Ehle); her bumptious German lover, the poet George Herwegh (a colorless performance by David Harbour); Herwegh's wife, Emma (a softly spirited Bianca Amato), and characters we met in the first installment: Crudup's nuanced literary critic, Belinsky; and Ethan Hawke's firebrand Michael Bakunin. Stoppard is totally a man of the theater. In one fantastic tableau, he anticipates by 14 years Manet's great painting "Dejeuner sur l'herbe," which has Ehle totally but tastefully nude.
Led by Ehle's conflicted, deeply felt Natalie, women assume greater prominence in this segment of the trilogy, their influence lending some heart -- for good or ill -- to the relentlessly cerebral preoccupations of the menfolk.

New York Daily News gives their review:
Ehle, as his wife, simmers with sensuality and intelligence.

That's about it for now! Brace yourselves for more!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Got some goodies, and thanks to Kate for all the pointers. Goodness knows we (I) can be slack around Christmas time.

Firstly, Broadway World has a series of reviews from forumers. Some are positive and some aren't so nice, but use your discretion.

New York Daily News gives a mention, not all positive but generally impressed.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says that Shipwreck is "fine, emotional stuff"... plus a review.

That's all for now. Have a great Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Bloomberg Article

This Bloomberg Article explains the plot of Shipwreck.

There's also a review from Surplus. More available at the website.
Last night marked, as far as things are planned, my last theatrical expedition of 2006 - part two of The Coast of Utopia, Shipwreck. (Top ten list coming soon, since I wrote it up at home, and saved it there, and if I were to try to recreate it here, it would inevitably be wrong.) I don't have a ton to say about Shipwreck - my reaction is very similar to how I took part one (scroll down), if last night's curtain call, though staged the same, was less thrilling. I also wasn't in quite as attentive a mental place (or as close-to-the-front a seat), but that couldn't entirely ruin it. Notable differences: Jennifer Ehle was great. And also hot, while pulling off the most tasteful (as in least distracting or uncomfortable-making) nude scene ever. She looks like a painting. "I've seen that in the Met." And speaking of hot and incredibly talented, at the risk of sounding like a total lesbian, there's also Amy Irving. She only has one scene in this part, but she's fantastic. (And looks about 25.) I know her mostly as Mrs. Arvin Sloane, so this transformation was especially impressive.

Shipwreck Opening Night reports on the Shipwreck opening night. It appears good friend Julianna Margulies was there in support as well!

Julianna Margulies, of "E.R.," who did time at Lincoln Center, too (Ten Unknowns) and Broadway last spring (Festen), was Ehle's cheerleader for the evening. "Yes, I am also biased, but I think it's a spectacular theatrical experience." She hopes to be back on the boards herself soon. "I'm looking for something, but I always need a break in between."

Ehle, who copped her Tony as another of Stoppard's chaotically married women in the revival of The Real Thing six years ago, would be more than at home in the role without the little summer brush-up she did as Lady Macbeth opposite Liev Schreiber in the park.

"I have never been as happy on stage saying a playwright's words as when I am playing a Stoppard woman," she declared. "It's true. I just adore attempting to embody them."

Accent on "body." She does a nude scene here, and O'Brien has directed it with great delicacy and discretion. (Actually, there are so many other things going on in the scene that you bearly/barely notice.) "I've only done one nude scene when I was 21," she recalled, "and I haven't done any since. But this particular one wasn't an issue."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Shipwreck reviews

The LCT blog has been updated: "New York 1848"

All That Chat has been talking about Ms Ehle in Shipwreck, although their reviews contain spoilers.
First mention:
I'm surprised to see so little mention of Jennifer Ehle. I walked away from the performance feeling that this portion was really her play. Though Herzen is clearly the main character, it seems that Ehle is given all the best moments (and the final bow). Judging from the first two plays, Ehle is really getting the choice female roles. And boy is she great!
Second mention:
I liked Ehle a lot in this one too - it's a very different character from Lubov in Part I and she draws the distinction well.

Third mention mention (with spoilers).

There are lots of other Ehle-non-specific reviews as well, here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shipwreck Official Opening

Shipwreck opens today, 21st of December!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Photos

From Playbill News

Star Tribune has an article on Tom Stoppard and his writing genius.

City Specific has written a positive review on Shipwreck and likes Jennifer Ehle's Natalie.
Jennifer Ehle and Brian F. O'Byrne as Natalie and Alexander Herzen are the stars of this installment, and they each manage to shed the problems I saw in the first one, turning in good performances that carry the show along. No one quite stands out quite like Billy Crudup did playing Belinsky in the first part, although Ehle does show her chops (and other things*) playing Natalie (*Refering to her nude scene)

Monday, December 18, 2006

"Unstoppable Stoppard"

Irish Echo Online has an article on Coast of Utopia. Excerpt:
The three segments of the stunningly prolific British dramatist's theatrical troika are titled, respectively, "Voyage," "Shipwreck" and "Salvage," with the first-named segment having opened at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater, to be followed in time by the middle and closing portions of the triptych.

"Shipwreck" will play its first preview performance on Dec. 6, with "Salvage" joining the first two parts on Jan. 30.

"The Coast of Utopia" will play at Lincoln Center through March 10, with an extension almost certain and with, according to most reports, a few days on which all three parts of the trilogy will be performed in marathon sessions lasting nearly nine hours, meal breaks not included.

Difficult as it is to assess a venture of this enormity on the basis of its starting segment, it seems safe to say that, if "Voyage" is any indication, the author of, among myriad other works including "Arcadia" and "The Real Thing" has outdone himself and come up with a saga worthy of massive attention.

"Voyage" itself is composed of two parts, each of them more or less capable of standing alone and making sense without undue reference to the chapter that follows or precedes it.

More Tonys Talk, etc

A Variety article talks about how much of a blazing success CoU has been and talks Tonys and ticket sales.
Dandelion Petals loved Voyage and wanted to hug Belinski.
BroadwayWorld has a video with lots of clips from the play and of Jennifer Ehle. It also includes reasonably long interviews with the cast (unfortunately Ms Ehle is almost the only person they left out!).
Dinner with Tom Stoppard? Yes please.
If you'd like to have dinner with playwright Tom Stoppard, you might want to sign up for a panel hosted by the The Drama Desk on Monday, January 8 at Tony's Di Napoli (147 West 43rd Street). It's not a tĂȘte-a-tĂȘte but thes panels preceded by a buffet dinner (starting at 5pm) are friendly and informal. Moderating the conversation with Sir Stoppard will be Drama Desk's genial president William Wolf and author Margaret Croyden. Tickets are $25 for Drama Desk members and $45 for non-members. Reservations emailed to are a must

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Another Tonys prediction

Praise for Shipwreck, especially Jennifer Ehle from Theatre Snobbery at its Finest (don't you just love that name?)
As usual, the brilliant Jennifer Ehle shines as his wife, Natalie; she gives a beautifully natural and heartbreaking performance. Watch out for her at Tony time.

He Who Laughs is not so enthusiastic. Actually, don't read it. It's mean. Let's just say the title of his post contains a fart joke.

The LCT blog has been updated- "Where are the Divas?"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy Birthday John Ehle!

Billy Crudup Q&A

Here's a Billy Crudup Q&A from He talks about the whole play and about his characters and some other actors.
Here are the first two questions:
You've just had your first performance of "Shipwreck," the second part of The Coast of Utopia. How did it go?
It went very well, all things considered. To step out onto a stage where you're familiar with the set, with the actors, with the house, with the character—and you don't have a clue about a play—is a really novel feeling. I was mostly engaged in managing the feeling last night. But it was really fun.

As far as your appearance in part 2, the playwright gives us a little clue in this stage direction: "Belinsky is thirty-six and less than a year from death."
[Laughs] Tom doesn't leave much suspense there for the reader.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Well crew, I'm home so here's the first splash of Shipwreck news and reviews.
Firstly thank-you to Kate for the heads-up on this positive review of Ms Ehle from "Just Goes To Show You"(be warned that the rest is not so nice):
"...The one exception among the actors with a lot of material here is Jennifer Ehle, who gives an emotional, capivating performance as Herzen's wife."

Elizabeth Maupin's blog reported that she will see the marathon.
"And then there's the required reading list the New York Times published a week or two ago -- the tomes you supposedly have to read to understand this stuff."
So much for not having to do any homework for the play! (*See the opening night video)

A positive review from All That Chat
But I saw part two, Shipwreck, this afternoon, and I found it completely enthralling. I saw it without having first seen Voyage. Perhaps part two is more interesting than part one? I think that the person with whom I attended, who had seen Voyage and liked it, liked this one a bit more.

The LCT Blog was updated on the 7th of December. The new post is titled "Children of the Revolution".

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Leaving on a jet plane...

Well guys, Tina and I are both away, but I'll be back on Monday for the next post.
Talk amongst yourselves in the mean time. I hope too much news doesn't build up!

Coast of Utopia extended run

All that Chat reports that the Coast of Utopia will extend for two extra months and run through to May 13.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"Shipwreck" begins previews!

Shipwreck begins previews today and officially open on December 21st.

Here's a fairly interesting article on the Russians' views on Coast of Utopia.
On the one hand, his interest in Russian history is flattering, but on the other it is alarming - our revolutionaries and idealists have long become a laughing stock all over the world. Tom Stoppard dispelled the apprehensions of the audience. He said that he was enchanted with the Russian thinkers, their acute sense of justice, temperament, and talent.

There were three major groups of questions to Stoppard that boiled down to the following: When and why did Russia become an inspiration for his trilogy? What would have happened if Herzen and others had taken power in the country instead of the Bolsheviks? How do the skeptical attitudes of such an inveterate postmodernist as Stoppard tally with idealistic sentiments of his characters?

Stoppard said that his interest in Russia had no point of departure but reflected British and Russian common craving for culture. Russia has always been a subject of close interest for British intellectuals and the public at large, and has gradually become part of the British cosmos. The Soviet Union's disintegration affected him deeply - as if a black hole took shape in history. Thinking about the reasons for the collapse of this utopia, Stoppard started writing his trilogy about the Russian thinkers

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bon "Voyage" Tina!

Your blog is in (sort of) capable hands. I'll try anyway. The Telegraph thinks this version of Voyage is better than in London.
One could hardly accuse the Lincoln Centre of lack of ambition in its decision to revive The Coast of Utopia, Stoppard's trilogy about the 19th-century philosophers, intellectuals and writers who sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution. Wisely, it is opening the three parts separately, rather than over a single exhausting day as happened at the NT. And Jack O'Brien's stylish production of the first play, Voyage, with Billy Crudup, Ethan Hawke and Jennifer Ehle among an outstanding cast, is fleeter, more lucid and more involving than Trevor Nunn's staging at the National.

You still need to concentrate, hard, to follow the numerous characters through their mental and emotional journeys, and I still think Stoppard may have bitten off more than his audience can chew with this massively demanding epic. Nevertheless there is something downright heroic about the dramatist's refusal to dumb down, and the humanity, wisdom and wit of his writing shine like good deeds in a naughty world.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

"Masterpiece in the making"

Terry Teachout raves about Voyage in the subscription-only Wall Street Journal. Luckily there's an extract of his review at his blog, About Last Night. The relevant bit isn't extracted but here it is from the print version:

The actors are uniformly fine, with Mr. Crudup and Jennifer Ehle taking top honors. Mark Bennett's incidental music adds considerably to the total effect of the production ... but I'm out of room! I'll have more to tell you in a few weeks, but so far, "The Coast of Utopia" shows every sign of being a masterpiece in the making.

The Hartford Courant has a spoilery blow-by-blow writeup of the show by Malcolm Johnson. Mentions:

As acted by Jennifer Ehle, Martha Plimpton, Kellie Overbey and Annie Purcell, they are a bright, winsome and innocent gaggle of tutored goslings, much in awe of their brother, Michael. Ethan Hawke, dashing in a red-and-blue infantry officer's uniform, endows the younger Bakunin with a cocky charm, and endless intellectual pretensions.
The headstrong Michael manages to head off the marriage of Ehle's sweet, thoughtful Liubov to Baron Renne (Andrew McGinn), a young, rich cavalry officer. But by the spring of 1835, Plimpton's more sour and tough-minded Varenka has wed her Dyakov and become pregnant. Soon, Varenka rejects her dull husband.

Link found via American Theater Web's comprehensive roundup. At Talkin' Broadway two orchestra tix to Shipwreck and Salvage are being sold for merely $30 apiece, a bargain.

Point and counterpoint: Scene 4's Michael Bettencourt vs reader Jerrod Bogard on the political impact of Voyage. Chris Nakimasha-Brown is "puzzled by the well-coordinated establishment media plugging" of Utopia. Blogger Greg found it went over his head.

Playbill summarizes the critical reception of Voyage:

The reception of The Coast of Utopia - Voyage was something of a happy surprise. The trilogy got mixed marks in London, but a winnowing of the text seemed to do the trick and the critics all sounded downright surprised that that they like the show so much. Calling it involving, exciting, expertly staged and acted, and declaring their appetite well-whetted for Part Two, they did prose back flips to convince their readers the show was more than just the snob hit of the season. An extension is expected. There's still Shipwreck and Salvage to come, and anything could happen, but for now Lincoln Center Theatre must be feeling that its millions were spent well.

Remember Shipwreck previews open on Weds Dec 6, with Ms Ehle in the lead female role of Natalie Herzen.

PS. From tomorrow morning I'm on furlough...with a stop at the front lines on Dec 9-10, when a group of us are going to see Utopia. Yay! Come say hi if you're there - look for hyperventilating females. Depending on time and net availability there may be reportage from the trenches. Otherwise, til Jan 5, Chelsea's holding the fort solo (owe ya!). I'll be checking the inbox when possible, but if you have anything important forward it to, Chels' "work" address. Reports and tips etc would be great. She is going on a short trip next weekend as well, so you'll have to fend for yourselves for a few days.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Voyage continued, continued

  • Rumour has it that an extension of The Coast of Utopia is being announced tomorrow, as well as more marathon dates.
  • Blogger Moxie the Maven reviews Voyage, as does Karl:
    I certainly enjoyed the first section. I had expected excellent performances by Richard Easton, Jennifer Ehle, Martha Plimpton and Brian F. O'Byrne .. and they did not disappoint. But Ethan Hawke and Billy Crudup were revelations.

  • David Cote blogs about his Time Out NY review.
  • Here's a Theatermania photo feature we forgot to post earlier. There's one photo of Ms Ehle.
  • BroadwayWorld is already announcing the start of Shipwreck previews on Dec 6.
  • Someone's Tony nomination predictions features Utopia and Utopians prominently (check out the bottom category).
  • Voyage, continued

    Francis X. Clines of the NY Times is as amused by the action in the audience as on the stage. In Time Out NY David Cote gives a 4/6 review. There's also video: go to "This Week in NYC" then "Theater: Week of 11/30/06" (dialup unfriendly). Polly Wittenberg of NY Theatre Guide quotes press reviews and gives the show a thumbs up.

    The large cast is full interesting actors but the star of Part 1 is an almost unrecognizable Billy Crudup playing the defiantly working class critic Belinsky, making his way in a world of social though not intellectual betters. Also memorable are the sincere Jennifer Ehle and the sparky Martha Plimpton as the Bakunin sisters Liubov and Varenka respectively. Making rather brief appearances here are the estimable Brian F. O’Byrne as Herzen and Josh Hamilton as Ogarev who play larger parts in Parts 2 and 3 of the epic. So much to look forward to.

    Don’t miss it.

    Joseph Hurley of the Irish Echo also covers the show, and Slate has a brief roundup.