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NYTG at the Official Opening of Children of a Lesser God on Broadway
New York Theatre Guide attends Opening Night for the Broadway revival of Children of a Lesser God at Studio 54.
Last night the New York Theatre Guide was invited to the official opening of the first-ever Broadway revival of Mark Medoff's 1980 Tony Award-winning Best Play Children of a Lesser God. The production proved a big hit as it premiered on the Fitzpatrick Main Stage during Berkshire Theater Group’s 2017 summer season in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, shattering box office records. A Broadway transfer resulted and Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon's new interpretation of the once groundbreaking drama now finds itself playing to inclusive crowds at the iconic Studio 54. And I say 'inclsuive' with good reason, as the production has set a goal of becoming the most accessible show in Broadway history, featuring supertitles and closed captioning at every performance, as well as American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters at select performances. Kudos to the production team for taking this huge step in Broadway's evolution of becoming accessible for all.
Children of a Lesser God is essentially a love story that must break through the barriers of the hearing and non-hearing world and it is only fitting that the production should also attempt the same. Thankfully, the show's leading lady Lauren Ridloff - reprising her role as Sarah Norman and making a stunning Broadway debut - gives such an exquisitely heart-wrenching performance that her deepest insecurities and anguish transcend any verbal language. Deaf actress Phyllis Frelich originated the role on Broadway, which was also based on her own life, and was awarded a Tony for her efforts in 1980, whilst the 1986 film adaptation earned Marlee Matlin her own Academy Award. I, for one, would not be surprised to see Ms. Ridloff showered with a plethora of trophies this Awards Season either.
My hat also goes off to her leading man Joshua Jackson, who is also making his Broadway debut and has learned ASL especially for the role of James Leeds. He has admirably taken on the dual duty of leading man and leading lady's interpreter in the production - a challenge I dare say many a TV star would shy away from. Fans probably know him from his recurring roles as Cole Lockhart in "The Affair," Peter Bishop in "Fringe," or Pacey Witter in "Dawson's Creek" (or perhaps even as Charlie Conway in Disney's "The Mighty Ducks" movie franchise), but his performance as James Leeds marks a firm start in a promising Broadway career.
For more on our thoughts about this 2018 revival itself, read our 4* review.
And in the meantime, check out our photos from the cast and creative team celebrating last night's official opening...
There was also a whole host of Broadway and TV favorites that attended Opening Night at Studio 54 in support of their peers, who helped celebrate the return of this Tony Award-winning play.
Children of a Lesser God Tickets are available now for performances through to September 9, 2018.
(Photos by Tom Millward)