Metropolitan Playhouse presents this 1862 melodrama, a tale of romance between two unlikely lovers whose relationship charts a difficult path. More…
A Jewish refugee, forbidden by law to pass the night in an Austrian town, finds love in the heart of a Christian citizen. But when a self-serving impostor accuses her of infidelity, her champion becomes her most zealous persecutor. By braving starvation, murder, banishment, and a fiery curse, the melodramatic hearts of this timely tale find a grace all their own.
"The direction, performances, and design elements combine for a most impressive and cohesive production in service to the company's mission of exploring seldom-seen plays from the past...It is not difficult to understand why 'Leah, the Forsaken' was a popular hit in its time...This production is a real winner for the Metropolitan Playhouse. The performances and creative elements come together in a harmonious collaboration." Full Review
"There’s a little dust on the dialogue in 'Leah, the Forsaken,' but a rare revival by the Metropolitan Playhouse shines up this 1862 play just fine...Augustin Daly, the playwright, was generous with the melodrama...But Daly threw in a few ideas about tolerance, too, raising this story a notch above other stage works of his era...'Leah, the Forsaken' won’t be mistaken for a long-lost classic. But it is a thought-provoking discovery, presented by a first-rate troupe." Full Review
"'Leah, the Forsaken'—written by an important playwright in the last half of the nineteenth century who contributed 100 scripts to the American theater including the now-classic 'Under the Gaslight'—is of historic value. However, in the fraught times we live in, the outcome of the play does little to convince that tolerance against bigotry is needed. Ironically, this may be the most accomplished production yet produced on the stage of Metropolitan Playhouse." Full Review
"It's extremely melodramatic, even for its time...For a modern audience this is all a bit difficult to swallow. Nevertheless, the cast does a commendable job with the overwrought language and extravagant action…Despite all these efforts, there are times when the play limps along under its own weight. No doubt 'Leah, the Forsaken' was chosen for its historic value. Nevertheless, some discreet editing would have gone a long way to making this play more contemporary and approachable." Full Review
See it if It Is for those who like stories with real historical settings and human drama.
Don't see it if You're uncomfortable with subjects of prejudice & disparaging racial/religious dialogue that is used to portray realistic historical setting
See it if You want to see how melodrama of the 19c may have looked and sounded; and you relish diva roles (Bernhardt and many others took on Leah)
Don't see it if You can't get past the very big acting style of high melodrama. Or you feel nauseous at seeing Austrian anti-semitism enacted.
See it if You are comfortable with dated themes and serious melodrama or if you like Shakespearean type misadventures
Don't see it if You are looking for a romp ( this is way too serious for that ) or if you get irritated with moralizing
See it if interested in an historic 1862 American theatre curiosity and in an unsettling evocation of bigotry which resonates w/current events.
Don't see it if tough stuff to make the overheated melodrama convincing and neither the director nor several of the leads were up to it.
See it if For the solid acting, great sets and costumes. There's never a dull moment in this melodrama but ....
Don't see it if The Jews in this play make the Merchant of Venice look like a sympathetic character. Maybe this was considered forward thinking in its day?
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