Play by Play: January 29, 2010

By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  January 27, 2010


ALL MY SONS | The Huntington Theatre Company starts off the new year with Arthur Miller's New York Drama Critics' Circle Award–winning 1947 drama about a businessman who prospered in World War II by selling plane-engine parts to the armed forces but now harbors an ugly secret. It's all enacted on the BU stage with a blistering believability that does not flinch from the play's near-operatic anguish. Director David Esbjornson even throws in a brief, ghostly interlude that prefigures the visits, in Death of a Salesman, of Willy's long-dead Uncle Ben. Will Lyman, if closer in type to Atticus Finch than to Joe Keller, nonetheless creates a bullish charmer with a quick defensive trigger that melts like hot metal into a puddle of bewildered grief. As Kate, Karen MacDonald conveys motherly beatitude and near-animal suffering with equal conviction. Lee Aaron Rosen is an Eagle Scout Agonistes of a Chris and Diane Davis an adamant if giggly Ann in a production that proves, however out of fashion the moral crusader who married Marilyn Monroe might have been, it's Miller time in America once again. | Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave, Boston | 617.266.0800 | Through February 7 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues | 2 + 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 pm Sun | $20-$82.50

BOYCE & MELINDA'S INVESTMENT STRATEGIES FOR THE POST-MONEY WORLD | "It's the year 2020, and President Palin's faith-based economy has collapsed. Where can you turn?" Why, to this "musical-comedy and financial seminar" from Gip Hoppe, author of Jackie: An American Life. and A New War. The original score, by Hoppe and Chandler Travis, features "investment-savvy tunes" including "Rockin' the Money/Rollin' the Green," "Toxic Assets," "All the Best Things in Life," and "New America." Former ART stalwart Will Lebow plays fourth-rate musician-turned-financial-adviser Boyce; Julie Perkins reprises her (likewise musician manqué) Melinda from the production last summer at Payomet Performing Arts Center in Truro. Well, this show sounds as promising as a bull market. But the satire is protracted and toothless, and the songs — with the exception of Hoppe's "All the Best Things in Life," which takes materialistic exception to the common wisdom — are hard-working mediocrities, despite their rocking aspirations. Lebow and Perkins bring all their talent to holding the fort, but the fort stands about as much chance as the Alamo. | Boston Center for the Arts, Calderwood Pavilion, Virginia Wimberly Theatre, 527 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through January 31 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 1 + 5 pm Sun | $35; $31.50 seniors; $25 students

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