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This Week on Stage: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick tear up Broadway

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Its Only A Play 02
Joan Marcus

Two buzzy new plays opened on Broadway this week. It’s Only a Play, a Terrence McNally comedy reuniting Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, is proving to be anything but an only at the box office. It’s averaging 1.2 million bucks per week and 101 percent attendance. The madcap sendup of Broadway roasts a lot of boldface names; one of its biggest targets — New York Times critic Ben Brantley — had a surprisingly good sense of humor about the depiction of himself. Also opening this week is the stateside premiere of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel. (Note: If you see the show, don’t head too quickly for the exit post-curtain call, trust me.) In other news, after falling slowly (ba-dum-bum) for some months now in ticket sales, the Tony-winning musical Once is throwing in the towel on Jan. 4 after a nearly two-year run.  Andrew Rannells winds down his run in Hedwig and the Angry Inch this weekend to make way for Dexter star Michael C. Hall in his first musical role on Broadway in over 10 years. Here are EW’s reviews of this week’s new Broadway plays (click on the links below for full reviews):

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  The London smash (which has played in cinemas via National Theatre Live) gets a full Broadway production. The new (American) cast embody different characters in the universe of an emotionally troubled, teenaged sleuth named Christopher. EW critic Stephan Lee certainly thinks you should be more than Curious to catch this one: “For all the high-tech bells and whistles, some aspects of the show have a refreshingly analog quality…one element unifies the spectacle and the human journey: Alex Sharp’s performance. A recent graduate of Juilliard, he somehow looks even younger than his character, but brings gravitas to Christopher’s facial tics and flat affect, even amid balletic choreography, slow-motion acrobatics, and countless technical cues.” EW grade: A-

It’s Only a Play  The A-list cast of this new name-dropping comedy about an opening-night party seems to be the red-hot draw for this Broadway smash. (In addition to Lane and Broderick, performers include Megan Mullaly, Stockard Channing, and Harry Potter‘s Rupert Grint.) Senior editor Thom Geier admits the production has some hiccups (ahem, Matthew Broderick), but is overall a pretty good time, especially for show mavens. “It’s Only a Play is a poison-pen mash note to New York theater, at once gleefully bitchy and affectionate,” he writes. “There’s just not enough plot here to sustain a two-and-a-half-hour show—and what plot there is can seem thinner and more obvious than F. Murray Abraham’s toupee. But this is the sort of comedy that puts the broad in Broadway.” EW grade: B+

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