Mancini strikes the right balance of respectful student and self-confident artist in his own right, which allows us to believe Rothko when he says, after Ken finally tells him off, that it was the first moment the young man existed for him.
As for Sullivan, he gives plenty of well-timed modulation to soften the strident artist that the playwright imagined. The actor also unspools some very funny, spot-on impersonations of fools that Rothko has to put up with, from a prissy buyer who wants something to go with an orange sofa to a tough guy who barks, "My kid could do that!"
"Most of painting is thinking," Rothko insists here. "Ten percent is putting paint on canvas." This thoughtful piece of theater matches that concern in helping to clarify the process of making art. Red earned the Tony Award for Best Play in 2010. With this fine-tuned production, more theatergoers can appreciate what all the fuss was about.
, Fred Sullivan, Tony Estrella, red, More