a kate west review
written by Clare Boothe Luce
directed by Scott Elliott
at American Airlines Theatre
227 West 42nd Street, New York
running Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM
Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2 PM.
contact Roundabout Theatre Company
"The Women" is a story told in countless variations (several films, a play, a musical) and the latest version is now on Broadway. Originally written by Clare Booth Luce, the (sort of) updated "Women" stars Cynthia Nixon ("Sex and the City's" Miranda) as Mrs. Stephen Haines, the wronged woman whose husband wants to leave her for sexpot Crystal (Jennifer Tilly).
With a cast of popular female iconettes, from Jennifer Coolidge ("Legally Blonde", "American Pie") and Kristen Johnson ("3rd Rock from the Sun") to Rue McClanahan ("The Golden Girls"), this piece is meant to celebrate the power of women, but from the point of view of a different era. Haines is initially devastated by her husband's philandering, but she then empowers herself by winning him back instead of striking out on her own, as we might expect in this day and age.
So viewed in this light, forget modern self-fulfillment, just appreciate the characters as depicted, especially in their wildly fun Issac Mizrahi couture. The posh sets by Derek McLane delight as well. Not so much fun is Hallie Kate Eisenberg as Haines' daughter, smirking her way through her tedious scenes. The rest of the cast is fun though, especially seeing old gal Rue McClanahan breeze in to delighted applause. Jennifer Coolidge is amusing as the perpetually pregnant Edith as well.
All and all it's about as visually fun as the movie versions (especially Jennifer Tilly's fun bubble bath scene as the perkily evil Crystal). So don't go looking for über feminism here, just enjoy the frothy cattiness of decades of women. Back then women defined themselves by the men they were with, but we know better now. Right?
The 1930's Film:
The Women (Keepcase)
More Good 'ole Female Bonding: