Last Wednesday I got a chance to catch “Picnic”, based on the 1955 Columbia Pictures classic, now on Broadway through February 24, 2013, at the American Airlines Theatre. I enjoyed the play. It is well written and performed. Two hours went quickly with shirtless Sebastian Stan from Captain America who plays Hal Carter, the player who tries to get his life back on track, but falls in love and in so doing alters the course of his life and that of Madge Owens (played by Maggie Grace). Madge has lead somewhat of a sheltered life in this small town, and her mom expects her to wed the wealthy Alan Seymour. The ending might be predictable, and we are left wondering if it is true, what Flo Owens (played by Mar Winnigham), Madge’s mom, states that “Love isn’t enough to keep most people happy”.
Indeed, at having fallen in love with Hal, Madge asks her mom, “What are you supposed to do with the love you feel?” This is in response to her mom’s request that she forget Hal and stick with the wealthy Al Seymour, who Madge has been seeing for a while, seemingly with no commitment or consummation of the relationship, as has occurred so quickly with the drifter Hal. “Where is it you can take it?”, Madge asks. Her mom responds that she never found out.
There is one set, the back porch and yard, where all of the action takes place, in this well scripted play. It was a pleasure to see a seasoned pro like Ellen Burstyn on stage. The cast works well together and the comedic moments (Elizabeth Marvel is hilarious as, Rosemary Sydney, the spinster school teacher) are funny. It is a refreshing respite from the musicals and flashy productions. Catch it before it ends its limited run on February 24, 2013. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 7.5, because it is well acted and entertaining, if somewhat predictable. There is so much lesser fare on Broadway these days, where some shows seem to open and close overnight. Don’t miss this one!