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.Read more Show less
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
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!
See it if You are fascinated with the history of great theatre, clever book and relationships between full time actors and real life spouses
Don't see it if You do not appreciate an historical play about a famous singing Broadway couple that is not a musical or lacks set and many characters
See it if want to learn more about this famous theatrical couple played by a married couple who choose key moments to dramatize for our enjoyment.
Don't see it if you aren't interested in learning more about the famous Lunt/Fontannes and their rise to theatrical fame.
See it if you enjoy historical plays and great chemistry between the leads.
Don't see it if are not a fan of historical plays.
See it if You enjoy Hollywood lore, simple staging
Don't see it if Get confused when actors unnecessarily change characters or don't like to watch actors lacking in the needed charisma to play legends
See it if You want to re-live the stories of two of the all-time great actors of the New York and world stage.
Don't see it if you
See it if You love old time actors histories.
Don't see it if You're very young
“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.”
“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.”
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
“'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.“
"'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."