Earlier this year, I purchased tickets to the chamber musical A Minister’s Wife at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater principally for the convenient Lincoln Center location. (And because I couldn’t get tickets to my first choice, War Horse.) As the play was in preview (no reviews,) I took a leap of faith based on LC’s generally good reputation. How bad could it be?
Well, A Minister’s Wife, based on GB Shaw’s “Candida,” is not awful, but neither is it very good.
Imagine my surprise when the play officially opened a few weeks later, and theater critic Charles Isherwood of The New York Times gave it a rave review. He called the cast “splendid,” and the music “intricately textured.” The cast is competent certainly, but with the exception of Kate Fry who plays Candida, a bit leaden, and the music frankly dull.
In truth, I like my musicals smart, brassy, and from the last century, but the comments from the Times readers were mostly negative as well. The play closes June 12th, but A Minister’s Wife may turn up again, perhaps in a city near you! And then you can judge for yourself—me or Charles Isherwood!
Performances of War Horse have been extended indefinitely at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.