When it arrived on Broadway in May, “Enron” fell faster than the energy giant itself. Critics panned it and audiences avoided it, forcing the show, which was a hit in London, to close after 22 previews and 15 regular performances.
Luckily, not all Americans were offended by British playwright Lucy Prebble’s satiric look at white-collar criminals and the devastation of corporate greed. The Zeitgeist Stage Company, under the impeccable direction of David Miller, opens its 10th season with a superb, engaging production of the Broadway bomb that plays like a compelling, edge-of-your-seat mini-series.
Whether you’ve somehow never heard of Enron, or you’ve got your finger right on the pulse of the failure of its fiscal fantasy, you’ll certainly be entertained and informed by Miller and company who beautifully capture the smoke-and-mirror illusory effects of the financial world’s machinations. And at a time when we as a nation are still smarting from our latest capitalistic debacle, the sting of “Enron” has an even bigger impact.
Much of this production’s success is directly attributed to its perfectly cast ensemble. Victor Shopov is superb as CEO Jeff Skilling, capturing every subtle nuance of the disgraced exec’s meteoric rise and subsequent fall at the hands of his own “mark to market” strategies.
Erin Cole is perfectly power-hungry as Claudia Roe, the executive vying with Skilling for a shot at the top spot. Despite a couple of missteps with his Southern drawl, Bill Salem nails the aw-shucks demeanor and vitriolic undertones of Ken Lay while Greg Ferrisi is spot-on as Andrew Fastow, the brains behind the collapse.
When Jeff Skilling becomes CEO of Enron, the Texas giant, he changes the direction of the company by initiating an investment-heavy strategy in which the company doesn’t actually own any assets. The hedging strategy lands him on the top of the financial world. But what he has to do to stay there ultimately strips him of his blue power suits and everything that goes with them.