Off Broadway, New Play
Stage I at New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street
Runs through 7.26.15 | Tickets $90
BOTTOM LINE: Melissa Ross puts her own spin on the dysfunctional family play in this engaging dramedy about three sisters.
Starring Alicia Silverstone, Jennifer Mudge and Heather Lind.
Of Good Stock is a play written by a woman, directed by a woman, and starring three women. That shouldn't be something I would have to point out at the start of a review, but it's still rare enough on and off Broadway that it's always nice to see when it happens. Maybe one day this will be such a regular occurrence that it won't seem like such a big deal. We're definitely making progress, as this is actually the second production of a Melissa Ross play in New York this month. Her Nice Girl recently closed at Labyrinth Theater Company and was also a Theasy Best Bet.
Here Ross writes about a dysfunctional family—a familiar topic to anyone who has ever seen a play—but she makes it fresh. It's Jess's (Jennifer Mudge) birthday and she and her husband Fred (Kelly AuCoin) have invited her younger sisters to their house on Cape Cod to celebrate. Amy (Alicia Silverstone) is joined by her fiancé, Josh (Greg Keller). Celia (Heather Lind), the youngest at 31, brings a boyfriend (Hunter, played by Nate Miller) to meet the family for the first time in her life. Their father was a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who had many affairs and their mother died young and it's left them all pretty messed up, as is revealed the more we get to know them.
Mudge, Silverstone, and Lind are believable as sisters and the dialogue, which involves a lot of hilarious teasing, rings true. Ross writes how people actually talk, with characters speaking over each other. This is indicated in the script and director Lynne Meadow navigates it well, so it's not difficult to understand what is being said.
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