Theater Review - Breakfast at Tiffany's (NY)

The flaccid stage adaptation by Richard Greenberg of “Breakfast at Tiffany's” is a travesty. The idea must have seemed like a hole-in-one, an absolute home run. Set in New York city, the 1961 film, loosely based on Truman Capote's novel, starred cigarette slim, chic and vulnerable Audrey Hepburn and boyish/manly George Peppard, who won our hearts (How we miss them!).  It had a combo of sweetness and edge, romance and reality that swept audiences away. In this present production, replete with tedious scenes and gratuitous nudity, discerning audiences will run away, much like the tabby cat, depicted with sagacity by Vito Vincent.  Mancini and Mercer's beautiful, “Moon River” won the Oscar for best song that year, while here Rob Milburn & Michael Boden's original music is less than felicitous.  The song they have Holly sing is terrible! 

 

This version features Emilia Clarke, an English TV star in her Broadway debut. As Holly Golightly, she does not have the skills necessary to pull off this difficult part. She's sweetly pretty with a sharp-toned voice and no dash or flash; she does not use a cigarette holder or wear Colleen Atwood's beautiful costumes with any savoir-faire.  Her co-star, Cory Michael Smith as Fred, the innocent struggling writer who strives to save Holly from herself, displays some charm and a southern accent, but soon loses both.  However, the main culprits are the writer, Greenberg, and the director, Sean Mathias, whose credits are specious at best, and who leaves the actors high and dry on the Cort Theatre stage. If that were not enough, more money has been spent on projections by Wendall K. Harrington than Derek McClane's lightweight set.   

 

This “Breakfst at Tiffany's” begins with a dull scene set in a long dark bar. There, the owner, Joe Bell, (played by the rotund George Wendt), Fred and I.Y. Yunioshi (played by James Yaegashi) chat about the disappearance of Holly, whom they all loved in one way or the other.  By the time we meet Holly, we are yawning.  In fact, the first act is probably the worst first act I have ever seen.  In essence, Holly is a stylish traveler; willing to go off with just about everyone for money, she spends time in Tiffany's dreaming of better days. The rest of the cast consists of well-traveled actors, like Lee Wilkoff, who deserve better.

 

The best scene is the one when Fred is being fired in the New Yorker office of his stern boss, a part Suzanne Bertisch in a white wig plays to the hilt.  Never share the stage with kids or animals. The favorite was the cat!

 

“Breakfast at Tiffany's”is like a bad snack at Walmart.  At the Cort Theatre.

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