Theater: ‘Glass Menagerie’ is fragile, not cutting

Cherry Jones, left, pleads with Zachary Quinto's Tom as tenuous matriarch Amanda Wingfield. Credit: Michael J. Lutch
Cherry Jones, left, pleads with Zachary Quinto’s Tom as tenuous matriarch Amanda Wingfield.
Credit: Michael J. Lutch

She’s a bulldozer. With her imposing frame and boundless energy, Cherry Jones seems capable of plowing down anything in her path in the current staging of “The Glass Menagerie” at the Booth Theatre.

But appearances are deceiving. As Amanda Wingfield, matriarch of a family of three, she steamrolls absolutely no one. She’s a tank with gelatin for an engine — and her two grown children know it. But Jones’ performance illuminates the terror lurking beneath Amanda’s gracious and grating veneer.

“Menagerie” is about Amanda’s obsession with seeing her daughter Laura (Celia Keenan-Bolger) wed. It’s the only way the mother can see that her youngest is provided for after her failed attempt at business college. This leads to a desperate entanglement with a “gentleman caller” (Brian J. Smith), who appears in the final scenes.

Tom, played with passive-aggressive ambivalence by Zachary Quinto, explodes at his mother’s constant nagging. Laconic one minute, on fire the next, he’s literally driven to drink by Amanda. She chases him into the wild when she wants to domesticate him. Even poor Laura — crippled and unbearably shy — doesn’t fear her. She protects her mother when it’s within her limited powers to do so.

Tom, who doubles as the play’s narrator, says that what we’re watching is a memory play: sentimental and not realistic. Director John Tiffany, with help from scenic designer Bob Crowley, communicates this with a fire escape that whimsically leads to the sky, a reflecting pool that surrounds the Wingfields’ shabby apartment and a trick sofa out of which Laura makes her entrance.

This production is surreal and dreamlike, yet its heartbreaking story of unfulfilled dreams and inevitable disappointment is profoundly affecting.

‘The Glass Menagerie’
Through Jan. 5
Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St.
$77-$137,
www.theglassmenageriebroadway.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

City Council to vote on bill banning anonymous…

One of the two bills would make it so any type of communication paid for or okayed by a campaign disclose that they are involved in any way.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Movies

Review: The semi-good times don't last in the…

Despite the occasional blast of Iggy Pop and The Buzzcocks, the YA move "If I Stay" — with a near-dead Chloe Grace Moretz — soon turns maudlin.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Parenting

Fun family activity: Off-Broadway show for pre-teens

"The Love Note" is an off-Broadway musical your pre-teen won't roll his or her eyes at.

Parenting

Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung to release…

Barnes & Noble releases the first full android tablet optimized for reading.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.