La Bete Broadway Schedule
Wed & Sat 2pm
Wed through Sat 8pm
The La Bete Broadway play is ready for a second go-around. The 1991 satire was created by American playwright David Hirson and opened back in 1991 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. The show only ran for 25 performances and quickly regarded as a commercial failure. Still, the show transferred to London in 1992 and instantly gained an audience as well as acclaim going on to earn the Olivier Award for Best Comedy. La Bete has also found great success at many regional theater's around the country which the play is frequently produced for.
The play is considered to draw major influence from Molière, the stage name of French playwright and actor Jean-Baptiste Poquelin. Born on January 15, 1622, Poquelin is widely regarded as a true comedic master in Western literature. Much of the play's influence can be noticed within the first scene, the rhythmic use of the Iambic pentameter as well as rhyming couplets. While he became famous for his "farces" the playwright preferred the "tragedy," and this can be seen within La Bete Broadway through the character of Elomire.
The stage is set in 17th century France where the dignified and scholarly Elomire leads the high court theater company. He is a man whose life is his work, a classical dramatist who's true adoration resides on the stage. When Princess Conti ( Joanna Lumley), a patron of the theater, grows tired of Elomire's productions, she forces her hand to mix things up. The Princess brings local street entertainer Valere into the troupe. Valere is a polar opposite of the refined Elomire, frivolous, sloppy and unpolished. In an era where artistic purity could be relinquished by the gaining momentum of populism, the two find themselves at odds and pitted against each other in a battle for creative survival. The court-sponsored theater group is soon forced to put on one of Valere's plays despite the violent protests of Elomire. The decision subsequently brings forth dramatic changes to all involved, including the theater company itself. The new staging of La Bete Broadway replaces the original role of Prince Conti (Dylan Baker) with Princess Conti.
The first major revival of La Bete features a great cast of theater veterans. Tony and Olivier Award winner Mark Rylance steals the show as soon as the curtain is raised. The audience is thrown right into a continuous sidesplitting rant from the low-brow street performer Valere. He spends nearly thirty minutes uttering his artistic genius with spit flying from his false teeth. His unintelligible babble goes on with repeated failed attempts to reference Roman philosopher Cicero while belching. The display is one of the true comedic stage genius with perfect delivery, the use of silence and charming facial expressions. Tony and Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce, in the role of Elomire, is left only to absorb and react to this atrocity from behind the shadows.
La Bete Broadway is a thoughtful play which delivers great laughs. The work moves on to raise questions to the audience as they witness these two artists battle for the royal endorsement. It soon becomes a classic struggle between high-brow versus low-brow, the people against the elite. The audience is left to contemplate whether the arts and culture of a society can strive within the ideology of populism. While the debate it brings forth is one everyone will be left to mull over, the real question will be if the play can find success in its first major revival. La Bete will officially open October 14, 2010 at the Music Box Theater. You can view our great selection of La Bete Broadway tickets online by clicking the link.
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