Kenneth Lonergan's The Starry Messenger (Theatre Row) begins like a continuation of last spring's The Philanthropist, with Matthew Broderick again playing a dreary, passive-aggressive professor, this time of astronomy. But Lonergan's hero has, when sufficiently prodded, a drive that, regrettably, the author-director has failed to put into Broderick's sleepy-eyed performance. This astronomer, like several other characters, wants to understand his place in the cosmos, but Lonergan's preoccupation with this intriguing and worthy theme only intermittently finds its way into what's still a blurry, discursive play, badly needing another draft. With wonderful actors like J. Smith-Cameron and Kieran Culkin struggling to make sense of hazy, elliptical roles, it's unfortunate that Lonergan and Broderick didn't have a no-nonsense director to get their heads out of the clouds.

Deep in the art of Texas: Part One of The Orphans' Home Cycle
Gregory Costanzo
Deep in the art of Texas: Part One of The Orphans' Home Cycle

Details

The Orphans' Home Cycle, Part 1
By Horton Foote
Signature Theatre
555 West 42nd Street, 212-244-7529

In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play
By Sarah Ruhl
Lyceum Theatre
149 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200

The Starry Messenger
By Kenneth Lonergan
Acorn Theatre, Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street, 212-279-4200

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