I was surprised to discover that Taylor's play is very much a point-for-point adaptation of The Cherry Orchard—a fact that wasn't mentioned in any of the advance press materials. (Through this weekend, you can catch Strawdog's Cherry Orchard to compare and contrast.) Even when Christopher Piatt brought up Chekhov in an interview with Taylor a couple of weeks ago, she didn't own up. Maybe after Drowning Crow, her hip-hop–tinged update of The Seagull, got mixed reviews at the Goodman and Manhattan Theatre Club five or six years ago, all parties decided not to draw attention to it this time around? But once you see Magnolia, there's no two ways around it: The secret's out.
I liked several elements of Anna D. Shapiro's production (her first new work in town since August: Osage County), particularly Todd Rosenthal's deceptively sparse scenic design, though my reference to it in the review had to be cut for print space. (Todd's got his August Tony to keep him warm.) Overall, though, as well as Taylor's transposition of Cherry Orchard works technically, it left me a little cold.
And there's this: I didn't realize until I got the program in my hands that Hollis Resnik is Annette O'Toole's understudy. Now, I've mentioned to more than a few people in the past week how much I like O'Toole and was excited to see her on stage. But how much would I rather see Hollis play that part?