THE LYONS debuted last fall at the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning Vineyard Theatre and opened tonight on Broadway at the Cort Theatre. THE LYONS comes to Broadway with its entire original cast: Linda Lavin and Dick Latessa along with Michael Esper, Kate Jennings Grant, Brenda Pressley and Gregory Wooddell. The Vineyard Theatre production of THE LYONS will be presented on Broadway by producer Kathleen K. Johnson. Mark Brokaw directs.
THE LYONS is a comedic work starring Linda Lavin as Rita Lyons, the indomitable matriarch of a family at a major crossroads: her husband is dying, her son's in a dubious relationship, her daughter's struggling to stay sober and on top of it all, she can't settle on a new design for the living room.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: Sure, from a distance the title characters of “The Lyons,” the Nicky Silver play that opened on Monday night at the Cort Theater in a production starring the fabulous Linda Lavin, are hilarious as they kick the ego out of one another. But look at them close — no, closer — and you’re likely to find an intimate mirror of your own frightened self. Welcome to Broadway at last, Mr. Silver. And might I add that that this cozy-but-nasty family portrait is just the right vehicle to bring you here?
Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press: The first-rate cast — Linda Lavin, Dick Latessa, Michael Esper, Kate Jennings Grant, Brenda Pressley and Gregory Wooddell — has made the trip north after the production made its debut last fall off-Broadway at The Vineyard Theatre. Mark Brokaw returns as the director, and the play has been trimmed into a tighter, harder little gem...Lavin is an absolute wonder to behold as Rita Lyons, a nag of a mother with a collection of firm beliefs and eye rolls, a matriarch who is both suffocating and keeping everyone at arm’s length.
Terry Teachout, The Wallstreet Journal: One of the reasons we expect so much out of Broadway shows is that they cost so much to see. Nicky Silver's "The Lyons," which transferred to Broadway this week, is a clever little dysfunctional-family comedy that contains at least twice its fair share of laughs. Though it's more than a bit of a mess, "The Lyons" has its moments, and Linda Lavin, the star, is in sensational form. Off Broadway, that amounted to a passable bargain—but is it really worth $126.50 to see an amusing but inconsistent show? All I can tell you is that despite its extreme unevenness, "The Lyons" is never boring.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: ...thanks to the complexities of Lavin’s characterization, the penetrating insights of Silver’s writing, and the imperceptible calibrations of Mark Brokaw’s crisp production, Rita is no mere monster of insensitivity. The degree to which she accepts responsibility for her children being “sad and unforgiving,” and for her own entrapment in a 40-year marriage to a man she never loved is clear. That doesn’t mean, however, that she’s atoning. Silver’s play doesn’t go in for such banalities. But in addition to being a maestro of timing with her comic delivery, Lavin has a peerless ability to humanize her characters even while exposing their lacerating edges.
Matt Windman, AM New York: As a dysfunctional family drama, "The Lyons" is hardly as penetrating as "Clybourne Park" or "Other Desert Cities." But as directed by Mark Brokaw, it's entertaining and full of witty one-liners. Lavin delivers a wild performance marked by wide facial expressions, an often screeching voice and kooky personality. She is nicely supported by an emaciated Latessa, tortured Grant and seemingly helpless Esper.
Howard Shapiro, The Philadelphia Inquirer: “The Lyons” is blessed with Mark Brokaw’s nimble direction and a cast that mines all the dissonance as if each little imbroglio comes popping hot from a precious nugget. Lavin is the outright leader in this — everything from her New York accent to the world-weary mini-whine in her voice to the roll of her eyes says this is a woman who knows her mind and wants nothing to do with anyone else’s. The wonderful Dick Latessa is her dying husband; even though Silver gives him far too many cheap barbs based solely on high-level cursing, Latessa is a pro with the know-how to land them...“The Lyons” works best as lashing comedy, less as a meaningful look at anything. And there’s enough funny lashing to leave an audience happily smarting.