Closed 1h 45m
LUNT AND FONTANNE: The Celestials of Broadway (FringeNYC)
East Village
87

LUNT AND FONTANNE: The Celestials of Broadway (FringeNYC) NYC Reviews and Tickets

87%
(11 Reviews)
Positive
100%
Mixed
0%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing, Intelligent, Delightful

About the Show

Part of FringeNYC: Meet the most famous forgotten actor-couple in theater history, Lunt and Fontanne, played by a real actor-couple. This fast-paced new play covers their extraordinary partnership, from the 1920s through WWII and the 1950s, with cameos by Olivier, Coward and Brando.

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Member Reviews (11)

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74
Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if Excellent performances help greatly to overcome paint-by-numbers script & insipid direction; but a worthy intro into Lunt/Fontanne lives

Don't see it if Limited knowledge of Lunt/Fontanne career; not a theatre history geek

95
Absorbing, Great acting, Moving, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if You care about the Golden Years of Broadway or this couple. They transformed into the Lunts right before my eyes--glorious! Good history!

Don't see it if You don't care about theatrical history, or the Lunts, or the impact of the WW I&II on theatre and these people. Almost 2 hours flew by!

Critic Reviews (11)

August 18th, 2016

“In Mark W. Lang’s bioplay, Alison Murphy is lovely and expressive as Fontanne; Lang, her real-life husband, captures Lunt’s insecurities without demonstrating the great charisma he must have had...But Lang’s script is burdened with clichés and clumsy exposition...It makes one long for a play that captured the vitality of the Lunts, rather than reducing them to talking exhibits in a theater museum.”
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August 21st, 2016

“While ‘Lunt and Fontanne’ is a fine and concise review of their careers for people who have never heard of them, Murphy and Lang make them seem more superficial than necessary. The Lunts’ famous use of overlapping dialogue can be seen in their film of ‘The Guardsman’. Murphy and Lang often use it to talk over each other’s lines making them unintelligible. To portray them as delivering their lines on the same level all time would not have made them as famous as they were.”
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August 21st, 2016

"At times, 'Lunt and Fontanne' feels more like reading an autobiography than seeing a play, but overall the show is appealing and humorous. And Murphy and Lang certainly have undeniable chemistry, perhaps because they are a real life husband-wife acting duo, just like their characters. 'Lunt and Fontanne: The Celestials of Broadway' certainly shines and brightens the stars of a past era in Broadway history."
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August 24th, 2016

"The era of the grand actors is long over and it is difficult to create these two in particular without seeming exaggerated or unreal, a major problem that neither Mr. Lang as Alfred Lunt nor his co-star Alison Murphy were able to overcome. Where it should have effervesced, it bogged down in a smoothly staged series of biographical skits. Their attempts at embodying these stars were hindered by poor direction by Owen Thompson...The ending was far too misty-eyed and sentimental."
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August 21st, 2016

"This two-hander presents the back-stage story of this famous acting couple whose partnership lasted four decades...This play doesn't turn every stone on the Lunts' remarkable partnership. But what it does uncover and hold up to the light, rings true. Directed by Owen Thompson, this two-hander sensitively portrays the theatrical greats on and off stage. And stranger or no stranger to the legendary duo of Lunt and Fontanne, everybody leaves this show as intimates."
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August 25th, 2016

"The show proves to be a wonderful history lesson thanks to Lang’s unique balance between the information provided and how it’s delivered (we learn that they thought of Montgomery Clift as their son and there is a recurring joke about Lynn’s rivalry with Helen Hayes that proves to be a hoot) and the joyfulness of their performances (they also play supporting characters which include Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, among others) make the play essential for theatre buffs."
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August 14th, 2016

“'Lunt and Fontanne' is strongest when we see the current acting couple bravely undertake scenes from some of the Lunts' favorite productions including ‘The Guardsman’ and the ‘Taming of the Shrew’…The Lunts seem a natural subject for a stage play, and it’s a disappointment that too many of the 105 minutes of Lang’s play are taken up with a kind of clunky chronology, including an occasional cheery/cheesy direct address to the audience.“
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August 18th, 2016

"'Lunt and Fontanne: The Celestials of Broadway' offers a conventional overview of the careers of two great stars the lights of whose memories have dimmed, partly because they refused the lure and lucre of Hollywood. It may prove catnip for those interested in the work and lives of these legendary actors, but, without performances even closely approximating the originals, it remains a pleasant, educational, but ultimately superficial exercise in theatrical nostalgia."
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August 20th, 2016

"A tender homage to the legacy of Lunt and Fontanne...Director Owen Thompson leverages the natural chemistry of his actors and the result of this creative collaboration is lovely to behold...Some of the best moments are when Lang and Murphy step out of their title roles to portray other notable friends and associates in the Lunts’ lives...For anyone who loves theatre, loves a grand love story, or simply enjoys an engaging, well-acted historical play, 'Lunt and Fontanne” is a solid win."
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July 22nd, 2016
For a previous production

"This one-act piece serves as a tribute to their legacy and provides an intriguing overview of theater history…Lang and Murphy are marvelous as the titular couple, as well as the other characters they morph into as the need arises (Lang particularly delivers an amusing Brando) by means of simple onstage costume changes. 'Lunt and Fontanne' is a warm, fully formed portrait of a theatrical partnership that managed to stand the test of time."
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M
July 20th, 2016
For a previous production

"The show is a charmer…One of the most powerful scenes is a scene from the play ‘There Shall Be No Night,’ which they performed in London during WWII. The play captures one of the performances that took place during a bombing raid; while air raid sirens blare, they press ahead. The play is a love letter to the stage, which is appropriate, since the couple dedicated themselves to it."
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