Present Laughter





by Noël Coward.

Produced by Jujamcyn Theaters at the St. James Theatre on Broadway.

With Matt BittnerKate Burton, Kelley CurranEllen Harvey, Peter Francis JamesKevin Kline, Tedra Millan, Kristine Nielsen, Bhavesh Patel, Rachel Pickup, James Riordan, Reg Rogers, Sandra Shipley, Cobie Smulders, and David L. Townsend.

Set design by David Zinn, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Justin Townsend, sound design by Fitz Patton, and hair design by Josh Marquette.

16 Weeks only! Now playing through July 2, 2017.


Click here for tickets!





Reviews

3 Tony Award nominations including Best Revival of a Play
Drama League Award nominations for Outstanding Revival of a Play and Distinguished Performance for Kevin Kline
Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Play, Outstanding Costumes, and Outstanding Wig and Hair
Outer Critics Circle nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Play, Outstanding Costume Design

CRITICS PICK!
"
Playing an aging matinee idol in the bouncy new revival of Noël Cowards Present Laughter, Mr. Kline blissfully plies the witty athleticism and derring-do that won him two Tony Awards and an Oscar. The combination of artifice and rue, of elegant ham and fretful heart, is the essence of Coward... Pulling off a great Coward, with its filigree contradictions, is a rare accomplishment!"

"Not only is Mr. Klines performance a triumph, but this revival, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, is the best staging of a Coward play—any Coward play—that Ive ever seen. Essendine is played for truth, not as a caricature, which simultaneously makes him more interesting and—yes—even funnier. Mr. Von Stuelpnagels 2015 Broadway staging of Hand to God proved him to be a master of stage comedy, physical and otherwise. Nevertheless, its really something to see how he puts Mr. Kline and the supporting cast through their comic paces. Even the smallest gestures hit their targets. And by having his actors underplay the first half of the show slightly, Mr. Von Stuelpnagel heightens the payoff of the second half, in which Coward turns what starts out as a witty drawing-room comedy into a four-door farce. By evenings end, the laughter is loud, continuous and entirely well-deserved. No matter what mood youre in when you arrive at the St. James Theatre, youll go home grinning with delight."

"Ive just learned what it takes to create an absolutely splendid revival of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter: Step 1: Cast Kevin Kline; Step 2: Hire a director whose name sounds like a punch line Coward might have considered—Moritz von Stuelpnagel. But not any Moritz will do. Find the one who helmed the equally hilarious but tonally rather different demon-possessed–sock-puppet satire Hand to God. There are further details (inviting design, surrounding Kline with a smashing cast), but the simple act of handing Americas greatest exemplar of comic suavity a role he was born to play is half the battle. Stuelpnagels assured, charged staging serves the play and characters in a way the Roundabouts abysmal 2010 production at the American Airlines Theatre did not."

"At the risk of joining the critics crew who toss out the adjective ”magnificent” far too frequently, Im going to say that in Moritz von Stuelpnagels revival of Noel Cowards very autobiographical Present Laughter, Kevin Kline is magnificent. Is there an encomium that tops “magnificent”? If so, Kline is that, too. And more… A production nipping at the clicking heels of perfection. It has been said of Noel Coward that he was “industry in cap and bells.” With this Present Laughter, those bells are ringing with the gleeful persistence of Big Bens.

"Talk about a match made in heaven. Kevin Kline was born to do Noel Coward, and his casting as Garry Essendine, the 1930s stage star and aging playboy at the center of his own eternal melodrama in Present Laughter, yields a performance of unimpeachable skill, made all the more delectable by its lightness of touch… Stuelpnagel steadily ups the tempo throughout, orchestrating a giddy circus by the time all the conflicts have come to light. But once the mayhem dies down, and Garry momentarily extricates himself from entanglements, finally getting the peaceful respite he claims to desire, the director and Kline allow those late scenes to breathe beautifully, finding the poignancy in his inability to be alone. Its a pleasure to see old-fashioned entertainment like this done with such style."

"More than the previous two Broadway revivals, one with Victor Garber in 2010 and one with Frank Langella in 1996, the production that opens tonight at the St. James, starring Kevin Kline, takes seriously the mess that radiates from Garrys narcissism, and with that seriousness refuels the hilarity of the farce that overlays it. In the hands of Kline and a vividly intelligent supporting cast, its a great and frank and still modern comedy. The scene in which he finally calls out the sexual subterfuges of his comrades — and definitively rids himself of his own extraneous women — successfully counterweights the plays many trivialities. Most of the rest of the cast, under the direction of Moritz von Stuelpnagel, seems to have got the same memo: Play the problems, not the jokes."

"Directed with classy restraint by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Kline holds back his virtuosic physical comedy until near the end, when his quick, startling feats made me want to rewind and watch them all over again. In fact, this is a revival that, despite a cast of farce experts, treats the broad moments as rare offhand treats that flash suddenly on characters as momentary glimpses into humanitys silliness. This production has one absolutely critical element for Coward. Style."

"Noel Cowards sublime comedy of manners is as delightful, delicious, and "delovely" as ever. Kevin Klines turn, and he is delivering a tour de force, calling upon all of his skills, both comic and tragic. When he speaks, its a soliloquy, brilliantly timed for maximum comic effect. Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel does exceptional work with his ensemble, maximizing the manic comedy while allowing his leads to rise above type. There is humanity among these crazy characters and far more depth than youd expect."


"But theres more up the sleeves of his silk dressing gowns than just funny facial expressions. Kline finds a surprising depth in the role, too, one that perhaps Coward only hints at. The reason this Garry thrives so heavily on sex is because hes so afraid of getting old, losing his appeal, and becoming obsolete. When Kline obsessively stares at himself in the mirror (over and over and over), Garry is looking past the handsome face and more at the thinning hair and age lines. Its a fascinating take, one that gives the proceedings a little bit of gravity it wouldnt ordinarily have… the show reaches its apex in pretty delightful ways. "

"Kline relishes the comic challenge in this snazzy production directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. Director von Stuelpnagel, who flashed his flair for comedy in Hand to God, has assembled a cast of reliable pros who know the drill so well they could pace it out in their sleep. Garrys disarming admissions of frailty — his fear of growing old, of losing his magnetic appeal, of being alone and unwanted — run like a rushing underground river beneath the farcical fun."

"Kevin Kline preens to perfection. Under the smart direction of Moritz von Stuelpnagel the production is in fine feather."

"Moritz von Stuelpnagels revival is fleet, funny, deliciously cast and over the top when it should be.

"Kline appears to be having the time of his life onstage at the St. James Theatre. Its a fast-paced production, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel… a romp of sitcom-like goings-on, incredibly well executed, among the retinue surrounding a vain, self-impressed, charming star."

"An unruly cast of stylish denizens has arrived at the St. James Theatre just in time to relieve the torpor of all of us currently afflicted by, well, almost everything, and offer the New York spring season a comic confection whose ability to delight and distract never falters. Staged by the talented Moritz von Stuelpnagel, who was Tony nominated for the surreally brilliant Hand To God, attention is paid here, as it was there, to anchoring the farcical frivolity in a way that allows us to believe that real things are happening to real people in real situations, though Cowards sleight of hand is such that we are meant never to be sure who is being sincere about anything or even whether they know themselves! But we believe that they are attempting to solve the challenges of being in lust, in love or perhaps more importantly in friendship as best they can. Stuelpnagel deploys his ensemble throughout this clockwork comedy to excellent effect. Present Laughter sends us from the theater warmed and cheered."

"Kevin Kline leads a terrific cast. Tedra Millan helps get director Moritz von Stuelpnagels sharply played and energetic production off to a strong start. The moments of Kline and Burton together represent the productions peak of civilized high comedy. While this is an ensemble play with plenty of richly drawn characters, Kline is the colorful centerpiece, with the star delivering droll John Barrymore-like hamminess to cover his desperate fear of becoming obsolete."

"Present Laughter is veddy British, proper, and absolutely terrific. Theres a refined civility that links the characters."

"Noel Cowards sublime comedy of manners is as delightful, delicious, and "delovely" as ever. Kevin Klines turn, and he is delivering a tour de force, calling upon all of his skills, both comic and tragic. When he speaks, its a soliloquy, brilliantly timed for maximum comic effect. Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel does exceptional work with his ensemble, maximizing the manic comedy while allowing his leads to rise above type. There is humanity among these crazy characters and far more depth than youd expect."