If the idea of seeing classic American plays doesn't pique your interest, think again: Off Broadway’s Transport Group is currently flexing serious muscle with its repertory productions (meaning they run both shows on a rotating schedule) of William Inge’s Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba.
Both offerings provide equal amounts of greatness: heavy hitting performances from Broadway A-listers (Michele Pawk, Emily Skinner and John Cariani in Picnic; Heather McCrae and John Kolinski in Sheba), stories of deep-rooted desire and disappointment, and expert direction by Jack Cummings III.
Transport’s organically presented Picnic is a surprisingly fresh take on an otherwise outdated trope: a sexy drifter comes into a small town, meets the prettiest girl who wants something more out of life, they fall in love and upend the world around them. Played on a bare stage with only a few porch chairs, the production allows Inge’s dialogue and excellent acting to really soar.
In …Sheba, a depressed middle-aged woman and her recovering alcoholic husband go about their lives, reminded of their long forgotten youth and personal failures reborn in the image of the young, sexually charged female coed who lives with them. The audience is seated on all sides of the perfectly realized 1950’s living space, allowing everyone to be fully drawn into the story.
The venue is the Gym at Judson. A literal gym. While you'd think this would detach from the experience of live theater, the space is transformed to give spectators close proximity to the action.
Transport Group is breathing new life into these timeless dramas, making them super relatable for a modern audience. Treat yourself to seeing either--or both!
Runs through April 23.
There's a reason it won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Musical. It doesn't get fresher and more relevant than this!