One of my all-time favorite plays -- Tom Stoppard's ravishing "Arcadia" -- is set for a first-class revival, opening at New York's Barrymore Theatre later this month. This new "Arcadia" starts previews on February 26, officially opens on March 17, and runs till June 19. Limited engagement. Fabulous play. Terrific cast. Who can resist?
"Arcadia" is a beautiful play, with two stories circling around each other, one set in the Regency period and one happening now, involving members of the same family at a posh English country estate. Stoppard spins a tale of love, truth, math, chemistry (both the scientific and the personal kind), chaos (both the scientific and personal kind), history, landscaping, hermits, Gothic novels, and the wonder of human connection, with wit and emotion stirred into the mix like a swirl of raspberry jam. His characters, like dashing tutor Septimus Hodge and his precocious student Thomasina Coverly back in 1809, or rival historians Hannah Jarvis and Bernard Nightingale in the 21st century, are engaging, warm and brilliantly rendered.
Director David Leveaux, who brought "Arcadia" to London's West End in 2009, takes the reins of this production, as well, but with a completely different (and significantly more American) cast. Billy Crudup, who played Septimus in the 1995 Lincoln Center production, will now play Nightingale, with Tom Riley as Septimus this time around. Others in the cast include Margaret Colin (Lady Croom), Bel Powley (Thomasina) and Byron Jennings (Noakes) in the past, and Raúl Esparza (Valentine Coverly), Lia Williams (Hannah) and Grace Gummer (Chloe Coverly) in the present.
If all of that isn't enough to get you to book a trip to Broadway, "Arcadia" has a Facebook page with videos and pictures of the cast and a lovely site with more information and tickets. If you need a reason to get to New York, "Arcadia" provides a very good one.