I heart Christopher Durang

Thanks to an invitation from a friend who happens to be on the Roundabout Theatre Chairman’s Circle, I was lucky enough to attend a reading of Christopher Durang’s The Marriage of Bette and Boo. As it was Roundabout, the cast was star-studded with Sigourney Weaver as a surprisingly hilarious Soot Hudlocke, James Naughton as an impeccably obnoxious Karl Hudlock, and Tyne Daly as a frank and fabulous Margaret Brennan. The rest of the cast (though perhaps not as famous) was also superb, particularly Heather Goldenhersh as Emily Brennan. (She’s also Lina Warbler on The Class. Who knew? Thanks, YouTube.) With a stage full of magnificent actors, the true star was the play. Durang’s complex, touching, hilarious style is in top form with …Bette and Boo, and it was such a treat to hear it. Perhaps because he’s not yet old enough to be a force the revival circuit, and new-new-new is the order of the day everywhere else, Durang’s previously produced works don’t seem to pop up as much as they should, (that is, outside university scene study classes.) This reading reminded me just how deserving these plays are of being done, and it’s exciting to see …Bette and Boo on the list of Roundabout’s upcoming possibilities. For your subway reading this week, go to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and check out …Bette and Boo, (or, if someone beats you there, grab Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You or Betty’s Summer Vacation, or any other of Durang’s uproariously funny, painfully human scripts.) Run especially fast to the library if you, like Durang (and me) are a product of the complex maze of guilt, repression, and family known as “a Catholic upbringing.” Durang’s plays certainly appeal to a wider audience than one comprised entirely of “recovering” Catholics, but his plays hit that particular nail so squarely on its head that it’s worth special note. Regardless of your religious affiliation, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that Durang’s writing will make you laugh, and feel less alone in the world.  Now isn’t that worth a trip to the library, (or Amazon.com?)

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