For a limited engagement, Lucky Guy is on Broadway! Two-time Academy award winner Tom Hanks makes his Broadway debut in this Nora Ephron(Sleepless in Seattle, piece, directed by George C. Wolfe. I was especially excited to check out Courtney B. Vance’s return to Broadway and rising star Stephen Tyrone Williams (making his Broadway Debut as well). Thus far the show has been receiving great buzz with the powerhouse headliners and I did some extensive research on the story, Mike McAlary, the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper journalist who covered the police beat in New York in the 1980s and ’90 and Nora’s 13 year journey to bring this play to life! In June 2012 Nora Ephron lost her battle with Leukemia. It’s quite sad that she isn’t here to see the success of what she worked so hard to get made. “Entering early rehearsals a year ago, Hanks says, “we had, quite frankly, steeled ourselves for [Ephron’s] absence. There’s no other way of putting it. In many ways, I hear Nora’s voice and think of her in the present tense.” Whenever a line befuddled him, “she’d say, ‘Well, Tom, you know me. We’ve worked together. If a line doesn’t work, we’ll change it.’ So I can hear her saying, ‘Yeah, maybe we should change that.’ And if she shook her head, it was very slowly. Very slooowly. And that meant, ‘It’s not going to happen.’ I can see her doing that in some of the ideas that we have.” -NY Magazine: (excerpt from Jada Yuan’s article)
We all know that when big stars fit the bill, the price for a good seat will cost you a pretty penny. Previews began March 1st but Tonight, April 1st is the official opening! I was a Lucky Gal last week when my very close friend took me along to see the show. When we arrived at Broadhurst theater to pick up our tickets to our surprise we snagged orchestra seats, third row! I couldn’t believe it! As we sat there we looked around and realized we were the only colored folks in the entire orchestra section. The play opened up at an Irish Pub somewhere in New York City back in 1988. As we are flashed back to a time of Graffiti filled train stations, the crack era, and NYPD corruption the noise in the news room was booming. Courtney B. Vance plays Hap Hairston(McClary’s Editor) he moves the story along. In the eyes of this viewer he was the narrator, and boy did he tell this story beautifully. At the top of Act 1 Hairston cracks about poverty and makes reference to the rich/white being down in the orchestra and the poor/black being at the top mezzanine. The audience laughed at his swagger in his delivery yet I looked around and knew it was true in this theatre. Many of us aren’t so Lucky to afford to sit down here with the Broadway regulars. By intermission I was impressed by the energy and fervor of the entire ensemble. Tom Hanks was a natural in his element, it was wonderful to watch. The excitement of the evening continued to build when we learned real life lawyer being depicted on stage by Chrisopher Mcdonald, Edward Hayes was sitting two rows behind us. “What do you think of the show?‘ I asked, “I love it! How could I not!” -Hayes.
In Act 2 we are taken into the world of the Abner Louima police-brutality case which Mike McAlary won a Pulitzer Prize for in 1998 for his coverage of the case. Abner, played by Stephen Tyrone Williams opens up to McAlary vividly on his encounter with the NYPD. Williams, in only one scene is dynamic and powerful. It was an uncomfortable scene to watch. No wonder he was named “Future Legend of New York Theater” by TimeOut magazine. By the end of the show I was moved by this small glimpse into journalism history. It was a turbulent time in New York, I know where ever Nora is, she is proud. The show is only running until April 30th and if your Lucky enough to get a ticket, go check out it out.
There were so many people waiting to see Tom exit the theater at the end of the show. There were barricades, police the whole nine… I was Lucky enough to get backstage access and meet the man himself!