Christopher Durang's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike opens tonight, March 14, at Broadway's Golden Theatre, on the heels of its sold-out premiere at Lincoln Center. Directed by Nicholas Martin, the Broadway production features the entire original company, which includes Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce, Kristine Nielsen, Genevieve Angelson, Shalita Grant, and Billy Magnussen.
The creative team will feature David Korins (Scenic Design), Emily Rebholz (Costume Design), Justin Townsend (Lighting Design), and Mark Bennett (Original Music and Sound Design).
Riffing on some of Anton Chekov's most time-tested themes, Christopher Durang proves in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike that whether you're in 19th Century Russia or 21st Century Pennsylvania, the human condition never changes.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Charles Isherwood, The New York Times: In Durang Land, of course, heartache is generally fodder for belly laughs. There are enough sprinkled throughout his latest play to keep the temperature in the theater from cooling for long, although this romp through an Americanized version of Russian anomie is more a series of loosely connected set pieces than a cogently put-together play.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: Sigourney Weaver, a longtime collaborator with Durang, plays Masha with flamboyant overacting. She's clearly having a ball; the whole cast is.... Director Nicholas Martin thankfully doesn't rush things, allowing the actors the freedom to extend a scene just a little further with merely a look....It's all a bit silly, a tad daffy and very, very sweet. Thankfully, for a show that both lampoons and honors Chekhov's themes, it doesn't end with the sadness that usually dominates that revered playwright's work. In fact, you can hear the Beatles sing "Here Comes the Sun."
Erik Haagensen, Backstage: It has taken 30 producers to bring Christopher Durang's six-character, one-set comedy "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" to the Great White Way, and all I can say is God bless them, every one. A sold-out hit Off-Broadway for Lincoln Center Theater this past fall, it is easily the best new play of the Main Stem season to date and a top contender for the Tony Award. Both breathtakingly funny and quietly poignant, this Chekhov-inspired work-for which knowledge of the Russian master's plays is not a requirement-is pure joy from start to finish.
New York Magazine, Vulture: The real problem is how the different parts of the play connect to one another.... You begin to get the feeling that Durang, in modeling his structure on Chekhov, invested in the best luggage available and then packed it like someone with five minutes to get to the airport. Some of what comes out of the valise is gorgeous: thoughtful, quiet moments but also perfectly crafted comedy scenes that sustain their dizziness for improbably long stretches. Other elements-notably the borderline-offensive black cleaning lady, who's all sass and voodoo-make you think: Why did he bring that?...Like its Chekhovian characters, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is assembled from mismatched parts and is desperate for affection, which it miraculously earns.
Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly: The play may be - okay, is, definitely - overstuffed. Fortunately, the performances are first-rate. Durang's old Yale Drama pal Weaver and Nielsen, his favorite character actress of late, know his brand of eccentric comedy better than anyone. Nielsen, especially, is at her bug-eyed, bobble-headed best - really, this is a good thing, particularly when she's impersonating Maggie Smith. And sure, Hyde Pierce's second-act harangue against technology, TV, and self-stick postage stamps goes on about five minutes two long - though the Frasier star's delivery couldn't be more spot-on....But restraint has never really been Durang's thing...Whatever he borrows from long-dead Russian playwrights, Vanya and Sonia... is entirely, indisputably, oh-no-he-didn't classic Durang. B+