April 23, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

West Coasters unable to travel 3,000 miles for the Broadway revival of The Iceman Cometh have a fine alternative in ACT’s revival of O’Neill’s masterpiece Long Day’s Journey Into Night — which won the 1957 Pulitzer — about one family’s early-20th-century psychic savagery. While the ghosts of Katharine Hepburn and Jason Robards (who starred in the 1962 movie version) lurk off stage, the current cast, under the taut direction of Laird Williamson, inhabit the family’s distressing dynamic and make it their own. With Josef Sommer as the parsimonious patriarch James Tyrone, Pamela Payton-Wright as his strung-out wife, Jason Butler Harner as the consumptive son Edmund, and Marco Barricelli as his alcoholic brother, the play remains a beautiful, colossal downer. B+

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