The Front Page
By Andrew Andrews
There are some stories that stand the test of time. Romeo & Juliet, of course, and The Great Gatsby comes to mind, but even the more recent (albeit four decades old) Chicago will no doubt entertain audiences when its age has doubled.
On the other hand, we have The Front Page. Now, this play was quite the success when it first hit the stage nearly a hundred years ago, but the book is showing its age—not in the classic, quaint way of, say, Oklahoma!, but as a pink- or salmon-colored 1950’s bathroom dates itself today.
So how do you make money from a has-been production on Broadway? Apparently it’s easier than it sounds: first, take a (nearly) all-star cast from popular television shows that have run their course, and market it to fans that just want to see a familiar story delivered by famous people up close and in person, knowing they will laugh at the outdated antics simply because they’re thrilled about who’s performing them. And, don’t forget to charge through the nose for the experience, because big names don’t come cheap and, let’s face it, the target demographic is willing to pay for it.
Now, this is not to say that said actors aren’t doing a decent job with what they have, but even the best chef can only do so much with rotten eggs and spoiled milk. And despite the stench from the excessive smoking, the limited exit doors and one-too-many but still too-short intermissions, the set and costumes were impeccable, the special effects were delightful and the value, albeit awful even at TKTS prices, was still better than Heisenberg. But unless you enjoy paying a premium to see the wrinkles on the faces of your favorite Mad Men, pass over this show for something a little less dated... or at least less expensive. May we suggest Cagney or In Transit?2
Andrew Andrews attended The Front Page at Broadhurst Theatre in Manhattan on Friday, January 20, 2017 @ 8:00pm to write this review.