Everything's coming up Hathaway: The Devil Wears Prada star has put her very-public breakup with jailed Italian financier Raffaello Follieri behind her and emerged as the unlikely toast of New York theater critics, and is even gracing the cover of NY Mag's summer double issue to boot. While she's no stranger to the stage (her performance in Carnival seven years ago was well-received), it's been a while since she's performed live, and many wondered if the 26-year-old could pull off the difficult transition from film to outdoor Shakespeare. Well, the reviews are generally ecstatic, and not just for Hathaway, but for the entire production, lucidly directed by Daniel Sullivan (The Homecoming). Scott Brown at NY Mag writes:
With its seasonal promiscuity (it’s a midwinter comedy in a skimpy summer sundress) and circumscribing sogginess (the play opens with a squall and ends “with a hey, ho, the wind and the rain”), Twelfth Night is tailor-made for the city’s brand-new monsoon season. Some audiences, unlike mine, have been treated to a fully irrigated version of the show, and the Public has most likely recouped from poncho sales alone. But come rain or shine, before, after, or during the deluge, Daniel Sullivan’s perfectly cast, exquisitely pitched, thoroughly winning (though never merely winsome) production absolutely beams. I’d swear there are moments when the clouds part just for this show.
The most mixed review comes from the Post's Elisabeth Vincentelli, who has some problems with the production's "broooooaaaaad crowd-pleasing sight gags" but still finds it difficult "not to bask in [Hathaway's] contagious enthusiasm." Meanwhile, the estimable David Cote at Time Out declares, "The cast’s jollity is catching: We too feel young again—or, at least, that we’re reliving the early joys of Shakespeare. There’s not a weak link in this buoyant, musical delight (with delicate tunes by the folk ensemble Hem), and Anne Hathaway’s outdoor-Bard debut is impressive."
And the big dog in the yard, Charles Isherwood at the Times, deems the production "scintillating...The Viola of the gamine movie actress Anne Hathaway is the marquee attraction that will surely make this production the summer’s buzziest theater ticket. But among the many pleasures of her performances is its effortless modesty. On screen or onstage Ms. Hathaway possesses the unmistakable glow of a natural star, but she dives smoothly and with obvious pleasure into the embrace of a cohesive ensemble cast."
Speaking of tickets, they are free, but getting your hands on them is a hassle, especially for working stiffs. At least the Public Theater started making the process easier last year with their "virtual line," which enables you to try for tickets via their website starting at 12 a.m. on the day of each performance. The other option is to physically wait on line outside the Delacorte in Central Park (there is no more line outside the Public on Lafayette). The run ends July 12th, but you can also cross your fingers and hope for a Broadway transfer, which certainly worked for last summer's hit, Hair.