A NYC Evening With the Cast of Golden Boy on Broadway
I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a boxing drama. I have trained in kickboxing, so it appeals from a knowledge of what it’s like to face down another in a direct physical contest, but also because there’s something about boxing that evokes the original American spirit, especially in New York City’s industrial age. So, discovering that playwright Clifford Odets’s 1937 boxing drama Golden Boy has been revived by Lincoln Center Theater and director Bartlett Sher was a moment of great anticipation. Imagine my glee when I was invited to a VIP pre-show party with several of the cast members. (Hint: it was an epic level of glee.)
The party took place in the mezzanine level bar at The Lambs Club on 44th Street, which is a swank and sparkling New York City style lounge located in the circa-1905 mansion that once housed the illustrious professional theater club by the same name (it is now The Chatwal New York hotel.) The cocktails were divine and original, and the hors d’oeuvres we enjoyed were savory enough that I’m dying to go back for dinner. While we enjoyed the atmosphere and libations, we had the opportunity to chat with some of the cast members, namely lead actor Seth Numrich, who plays boxing wunderkind Joe Bonaparte with incredible nuance and emotion, and Dion Mucciacito, who is part of the ensemble as a boxer and sparring partner for Joe. Both men were passionate about the play and spoke with enthusiasm about the kind of training they had to do to prepare for their roles. (Admittedly, not everyone finds gym talk fascinating, but I was riveted.)
At show time, we crossed 44th Street to the gorgeous Belasco Theatre, which happens to be the very same stage on which Golden Boy originally premiered in 1937. What unfolded over the next 2 hours and 45 minutes was the heartfelt story of a young man who is a gifted violinist, but who is also a natural in the boxing ring—a path that beckons with the promise of glory and riches, but comes with a devastating cost.
Numrich’s portrayal of Bonaparte is outstanding—every gesture, expression, and vocal nuance is spot on. In fact, the entire cast is made up of some of the most skilled actors I’ve had the pleasure of watching onstage. Tony Shalhoub, who plays Mr. Bonaparte, Joe’s father, nearly brought me to tears with his quiet intensity. Considering the Broadway pedigrees of most of the cast, including Tony Award winning actor Anthony Crivello (Kiss of the Spider Woman) who plays Joe’s gangster investor, Eddie Fuseli, it’s no wonder the acting was so superb, though credit should also be given to director Sher.
As for the story itself, it reminded me of a really good 30s or 40s film or, as Sher himself put it, it’s like “five episodes of an HBO series in a straight sit-down.” The intensity sucks you in then spits you out and in the end, leaves you both stunned and satisfied.
Golden Boy is playing at The Belasco Theatre through January 20th.
Don’t miss the Pinterest contest for GOLDEN BOY where the winner receives two tickets to the show and dinner for two at Saju Bistro. Check out on image below to enter! The contest started November 27 and runs through December 9. Happy Pinning!