Doug Hughes's Labor of Love and Reprisal, Royal Family

The director wrangles one of the biggest, most stellar casts of the season

Riding Kaufman and Ferber's pandemonium: Director Hughes
Mollye Chudacoff
Riding Kaufman and Ferber's pandemonium: Director Hughes

The Royal Family does not ignore the theater's frivolities and spitefulness, it does not dismiss the price that art exacts, and it does not, as critic Alexander Woollcott wrongly insisted, "shine with the ancient and untarnished glamour of the stage." Instead, the play shows the theater as a cruel and tender place, one you'd leave instantly—provided anywhere else was better. For lack of that, the show must go on. As Fanny proclaims, and as Hughes's parents might have, "Earthquakes and cyclones and fire and flood, and somehow you still give the show. I know it says in the contract that you stop for 'acts of God,' but I can't remember that I ever did."

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