The Hairy Ape
by Annie Schiffmann
Prepare to be thrilled. And arrive early to take a few pictures before the show begins. Stadium-style canary colored chairs face you as you walk into the majestic Park Avenue Armory.
The 90 minute play puts actor Bobby Cannavale’s (TV’s Boardwalk Empire, Broadway’s Glengarry Glen Ross) acting chops on full display as he gives a very physical, powerful performance. He is equal parts bare knuckle boxer, Andrew Dice Clay, and Jean Paul Sartre. As Yank he swings from the "cage" of the stoke hole where his fire and strength propel a vast ship. His knuckles practically drag on the floor by the end of the show - exhausted by coming to grips with his social status in New York City.
Eugene O'Neill has never been one for brevity - there are long passages about class by ancillary characters. Yet his words are literature. There is a reason why his writing has won both the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes. We are lucky to see it brought to light in such a vibrant telling.
There's a reason it won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Musical. It doesn't get fresher and more relevant than this!