Review: Grand Horizons, starring Jane Alexander and James Cromwell

February 17, 2020

When the first words spoken in Bess Wohl's Grand Horizons are about wanting a divorce, you're going to want to know exactly how that happened. Bill (James Cromwell) and Nancy (Jane Alexander) have spent fifty years as husband and wife, but now that they've settled into their new retirement home, Nancy wants out. And the result? Their grown children come running back home to fix their parents' problems. 

 

And that's not to say the kids don't have problems of their own. Ben (Ben McKenzie) and his wife Jess (Ashley Park) have a baby on the way, while Brian (Michael Urie) is an overworked drama teacher trying to figure out how to fit as many kids as possible into a production of The Crucible. The result of all of this is a clever little play that intertwines the world we grow up in and adulthood, asking questions about how lives change. 

 

The cast is superb, with great performances by all. While the set appears to be a simple retirement home, there are more tricks than you would expect, making for a few little shocks for a play with a seemingly mundane subject matter. But what truly sets this play apart is Bess Wohl's writing, as she makes her Broadway debut and is one of only a few female playwrights on Broadway this season. Her work is set apart from others by the subject matter that lies beneath the certain. It's about women of a certain age and what they want to feel fulfilled in life, and asks the audience to see her as a full person rather than stuffed into one specific box. It's clever, it's moving, and it is hopefully the first of many Bess Wohl's plays to grace a Broadway stage. 

 

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