Broadway Theater – “The Audience” and “It’s Only A Play”

This review aired on KBAQ May 18, 2015


“The Audience” and “It’s Only A Play”
New York, NY

Broadway theater is full of unexpected surprises and diverse choices.  Glitzy musicals perform throughout the theater district while plays bring contemporary folks to vibrant life.  Dark, foreboding musicals run near a new stage adaptation of a 1951 movie musical classic while a 10-year-old musical is finally making its Broadway debut as it launches a debate whether it’s about unrequited love or revenge as a once poor girl who is now the world’s richest woman returns to her tattered hometown.  There’s also an opulent revival of a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic staged with fresh ideas.

In six days, I saw two plays and six musicals while at least five more worthy shows didn’t fit the schedule.  With 34 Broadway shows, there’s something for everyone.  In this first of three Broadway segments, I will review the plays I saw including the brilliant Helen Mirren starring as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience” and a hysterical Terrence McNally comedy, “It’s Only A Play,” with a starry cast of comedic experts.

“The Audience” is an insightful view into Queen Elizabeth’s private world as it reveals her very different relationship with the nine Prime Ministers who have served her.  Mirren is a remarkably believable Queen Elizabeth and the play allows a fascinating eavesdrop as the Queen discusses critical world issues with each Prime Minister during her long and continuing reign.  The Queen adapts differently to each Prime Minister as individual personalities dictate.  Mirren subtly reveals the Queen’s assessment of each Prime Minister and Margaret Thatcher looks like the worst power broker in Judith Ivey’s impeccable re-creation of a dominant woman who thinks she’s always right.  Mirren’s brilliant performance and the insider’s view into critical world issues makes “The Audience” a fascinating winner.  For tickets to “The Audience,” call the Telecharge box office at 212-239-6200 or order tickets online at

Playwright Terrence McNally finds funny foibles associated with presenting Broadway shows in “It’s Only A Play,” a frail but enjoyable play performed by a superlative cast of comic geniuses including stars Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and Stockard Channing who are supported brilliantly by additional farceurs who populate a laugh-a-minute comedy about an aspiring theater impresario producing her first Broadway play.  There’s even an amusing caricature of a New York theater critic who doubts his knowledge of and place in theater.  If you don’t like to laugh, stay away from the laugh riot “It’s Only A Play.”  For tickets to “It’s Only A Play,” call the Telecharge box office at 212-239-6200 or order tickets online at

In the next two Broadway installments, I’ll cover the six musicals I saw including “The King and I,” “An American In Paris,” “The Visit,” “Something Rotten,” “Doctor Zhivago,” and “Gigi.”