Nephew’s Night Out – Lincoln Center, Jack O’Brien and Joe Allen

I took my nephew, now a sophomore at Columbia, to see Ethan Hawke in the Scottish Play at Lincoln Center last night.  My nephew is far from my sister and home, and the Columbia campus is a tad remote from the cultural hub of the city, so I thought we’d make an entire evening of it.  I booked a reservation at Joe Allen after the show.  He has seen a couple of musicals on Broadway, but that’s pretty much the extent of my nephew’s theatre-going experience.  This was the first time, he said, that he was seeing “a drama.”  I liked that he dressed up for the occasion.

Jack O’Brien’s production of MACBETH indeed provided plenty of drama.  Both acts begin with the house lights on, and in both instances the director lets us know that we are entering a world of darkness and hurt.  The opening sound and light effects that begin the evening seem to hammer the very light out of the room; something wicked this way comes.  The cast is, on the whole, quite good, and this director’s control over his milieu is complete and masterful.  His staging is imaginative, fluid, and visually stunning.  He is aided by wonderful designers, and by the cavernous thrust arena of the Vivian Beaumont.  I mean really, it is thrilling to watch his work, and I am glad that my nephew’s introduction to dramatic theatre on Broadway was in the hands of  the astonishing Jack O’Brien.

Dinner at Joe Allen and a late nightcap at the always fun Don’t Tell Mama across the street didn’t exactly suck, either.  It was a full evening of all kinds of culture, and I am pretty sure my nephew went back to Columbia campus feeling pretty good about the possibilities of daily life in New York.  I am not so certain, however, that he made it to his 8:30AM Oceanography class. Don’t tell my sister.

Michael Hillyer

Author: Michael Hillyer

Michael Hillyer was an Associate Director at the 29th Street Rep, Blue Heron Arts Center and the Wings Theatre Company, and has directed elsewhere in New York at Playhouse 91, Theatre For The New City, the William Redfield Theatre, Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, the Nat Horne Theatre and the Irish Arts Center. His long-running horror-movie send-up at the American Renaissance Theatre, SLASHER, THE SPLATTER ROCK MUSICAL, was revived Off-Broadway at the Perry Street Theatre, choreographed by Susan Stroman. He has also directed at the John Drew Theatre (As You Like It), Millbrook Summer Playhouse (Morning's At Seven), Thomaston Opera House (Born Yesterday), the Palace Theatre in Stamford, CT (The Boy Who Cried Elvis) and the Palace Theatre in Manchester, NH (Shenandoah, Man Of La Mancha), as well as at Cornell, Columbia and Seton Hall Universities. He has written articles about New York theatre for Backstage and The Village Voice.

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