Crimes of the Heart written by Beth Henley won the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. I sketched the auditions for the show back in September and now I can see that the casting decisions made were spot on. At the audition I caught quick glimpses of isolated scenes as actresses tried out for the various parts. I was fascinated with how a talented actress could breath new life into each part.
Watching the show at the Winter Garden Theater from start to finish turned out to be an emotional roller coaster. I suddenly cared deeply for this family of 3 sisters reunited by tragedy. The show handled difficult themes of loneliness, grief and family dysfunction. The sisters laughed uncontrollably at one point when faced with the worst of family news. I found myself laughing just as hard to the point of tears. Sometimes laughter is the only way to handle grief.
Between acts music filled the theater. Aradhana Tiwari the director told me "I have waited 5 years to use that song in a show." The song was "Wayfaring Stranger". Its sad mellow tones suited the show perfectly. I had the rare pleasure of sitting with the director and found she was laughing just as loud as anyone in the audience.
Lenny played by Meggin Weaver was high strung, bubbly and painfully apologetic. She seemed to have to apologize for her very existence. She was the sister left behind to care for their ailing Grandfather. Her own life has been put on hold as she struggles to clean up after every family members sloppy lives. She livened up every scene she is in with her comic timing.
Babe played by Britni Leslie gives a new meaning to "I'm having a bad day, a really bad day". Her quirky mannerisms like sprinkling sugar over a heaping spoon full of peanut butter or trying without much success to play saxophone are delightful to watch. Her thick southern accent and lighthearted charms were so authentically endearing.
Meg played by Jennifer Bonner is the black sheep of the three sisters. Her confident swaggering was a perfect compliment to Lenny's shy skittishness. A romantic scene with a now married ex boyfriend named Doc was Hot. She and Doc both knew they shouldn't be attracted but they could not help themselves. Going for a ride to look at the moon in a pickup truck suddenly seemed dangerous and exciting.
Chick Played by Beth Marshal has one of the funniest scenes in the play where she struggles into a tight pair of pantyhose while talking at the kitchen table. This scene got funnier as it went on and I applaud Beth for how far she pushed this character. Now I can not imagine anyone else in that role.
Toward the end of act three as Babe lights the candles on a birthday cake, she says "I'm not so all alone." The warmth of this scene with the three sisters playfully interacting as they laugh off the hardships of life once again left me struggling to see. Crimes is running through November 29th. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM. and Sundays at 2PM. Tickets are $22. This is a show you do not want to miss.