Nora's Playhouse presents the Kennedy story as a one woman show, told through the eyes of the matriarch, Rose Kennedy. More…
'Rose' is set in 1969 at the Kennedy’s Hyannis Port compound the week after Teddy’s fateful accident at Chappaquiddick. Rose Kennedy struggles with all the tragedies the Kennedys have overcome and finds new understanding of the choices she made, as well as those made by her husband and children. Inspired by audio recordings Rose Kennedy made, this one-character drama takes the audience on a fascinating and unexpected journey.
"In Kathleen Chalfant, the production has an actress who is superbly skilled at probing the unspoken emotions tucked away behind Rose's iron-willed great-lady façade…Surely the director, Caroline Reddick Lawson, had much to do with sculpting such a tactful, understated, and ultimately devastating performance...In the end, 'Rose' is a remarkable portrait of a woman who played the hand she was dealt without ever looking back." Full Review
"Caroline Reddick Lawson directed with a fine sense of the ebb and flow of this century-wide tale. Of course, Ms. Chalfant was charismatic, as usual, and molded what was clearly merely a documentary in the guise of a play into a fascinating character study. 'Rose' has a shockingly limited run. If you want to see the brilliant Ms. Chalfant at the top of her form, and get a refresher course in the colorful Kennedys, run to the Clurman Theatre immediately." Full Review
"Leamer’s portrait of Rose isn’t mawkishly sentimental. It goes very close to the bone and gives us a real slice of the Kennedy legacy...'Rose' is a riveting piece of theater. If you have ever wanted to know the secrets of the Kennedy clan as viewed through the eyes of its no-nonsense matriarch, this is your show." Full Review
"One could not ask for a better interpreter of this complex role than the brilliant Kathleen Chalfant. Clad in an Arnold Scaasi–esque pantsuit by Jane Greenwood, she exudes her signature fiery intelligence. Rose’s thwarted drive is all there, kept in check by constant hand-wringing—a gesture not of guilt but of determination to maintain decorum at all costs." Full Review
"The fascinating, often tragic events of Rose's life are explored in the play in a brilliant portrayal by award-winner Kathleen Chalfant...Leamer overuses the telephone technique in his first attempt at writing for the stage...The nuanced performance by Chalfant, directed by Caroline Reddick Lawson, has us engaged throughout the 90-minute performance." Full Review
"Equally impressive is Kathleen Chalfant's layered and nuanced performance...There is nothing new in Mr. Leamer's script and the lackluster set does little to enhance the text. The power of 'Rose' is in the performance...See 'Rose' to bask in the craft of an actor who knows how to bring authenticity and believability to an iconic woman and her remarkable story." Full Review
"Kathleen Chalfant has found a terrific showcase for her estimable talents in Laurence Leamer’s 'Rose.' This one-woman show about the matriarch of the Kennedy clan doesn’t hold many surprises dramatically...Leamer’s contrived ratcheting up of tension using this device and his awkward conceit that allows Mrs. Kennedy to launch into her recitation of family lore may undermine Rose dramatically, but they do not deter Chalfant from delivering a marvelously crafted performance." Full Review
"She moves and convinces us of the woman she is portraying. We feel her breeding and her poise and the hint of a scratch of a emotional person inside...The problem here is she is unlikeable, but to see a piece of history play right before your eyes is fascinating and watching Chalfant is a joy. Caroline Reddick Lawson directs this piece with as much humanity as can be found inside this cold-hearted woman." Full Review
"It's rarely a riveting evening, and anyone with merely a passing familiarity of the Kennedys will find few genuine surprises in it. But it unveils enough seldom-aired complexities to at least stay interesting. The production could be sharper...Chalfant's portrayal is articulate and measured, but pointed, every line reading, head turn, and blink choreographed to allow Rose to maintain the appearances that drive her." Full Review
"I thought that Chalfant’s otherwise fine performance might have benefitted from slightly more vocal modulation and variety...What most comes across in this drama and in any study of Rose Kennedy’s life is her strength of character...Metaphorically, the play is a lesson on how a flower can still blossom and thrive after having experienced the deepest and bitterest of winter." Full Review
"Leamer’s text has the ring of truth but one wonders if Rose Kennedy would have revealed so much to a group of visiting strangers....Under the direction of Caroline Reddick Lawson, Chalfant is always commanding and interesting to listen to...'Rose' has a certain number of flaws which a bit of rewriting and reshaping could put on a better footing." Full Review
"Director Caroline Reddick Lawson guides Chalfant with a stern grip and a keen eye on nuance. Together, their collaboration is strong, creating an interesting character study of this American icon. The design team is without flaw...Relying entirely on Ms. Chalfant’s exquisite capacity for subtlety and nuance, Leamer's script is unfortunately mostly a textbook of Kennedy history and family trivia...As a whole, if not for the fantastic performance, the play is without a basic dramatic drive." Full Review
"There’s much to learn from the story of a woman who endured so much grief, and who reveals many of her own potentially controversial personality traits, warts and all. But the drama of this woman, who declares that, regardless of what happens, her family just keeps 'marching forward. There’s nothing we cannot do,' remains subdued, and Ms. Chalfant, while offering a Rose that bears a passing resemblance to the real thing, lacks the thorns that might have drawn dramatic blood." Full Review
"Ms. Chalfant is enchanting — isn’t she always? — working her typical magic in a white pantsuit, pearls and a 1960s bouffant. Her work is hampered, though, by a play that tries to say way too much...This is a ladylike drama, in keeping with its subject’s public persona...Ms. Klepikov and Lianne Arnold’s projection design could have seriously enhanced the production...But at the Clurman, projected between pretty floral window-treatment panels, they’re sometimes difficult to see." Full Review
"Chalfant can only do so much under the overly cautious direction of Caroline Reddick Lawson. What she does do, however, is a class act. It's just too bad that our visit with Rose has all the dramatic punch of a lecture on underwater basket weaving. Even with the help of projected slides and photos (mostly too faded to see clearly) our interest wanes pretty quickly." Full Review
"Why DO people continue to write shows like this?...Because the premise is to trumped up, however, even Kathleen Chalfant can do little with it. This is an interview one cannot imagine Rose Kennedy every making...I know theatre is a place for abandoning credulity. It is, after all, art and the reality is that we are all in a theatre, not in a living room, etc. But plays like this take the premise one or 20 steps too far." Full Review
See it if you love all things Kennedy and love minutia. Also see it if you love seeing a great actor elevate an uninspired script.
Don't see it if you want riveting theatre and fall asleep easily. There is nothing new here.
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