Morning's At Seven by Paul Osborn. Directed by Daniel Sullivan. Set by John Lee Beatty. Costumes by Jane Greenwood. Lighting by Brian MacDevitt. Sound by Scott Myers. Cast: Elizabeth Franz, Julie Hagerty, Buck Henry, Piper Laurie, Christopher Lloyd, William Biff McGuire, Estelle Parsons, Frances Sternhagen, Stephen Tobolowsky.
Morning's at Seven, Paul Osborn’s love letter to just plain folks (specifically four sisters in a small Midwestern town in 1938) which opened tonight in a revival at the Lyceum Theatre is that rare thing, an absolutely perfect production of a heart-warming, funny, and emotionally satisfying play with a cast to die for. Morning's at Seven will not only make you feel great about yourself, it will let you finally forgive every member of your family who has ever wronged you. (I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it also whitened your teeth and added an additional zero or two to your bank balance - this revival is that good.)
The play deals with ramifications within the family when two of four sisters - played by Estelle Parsons, Elizabeth Franz, Frances Sternhagen, and Piper Laurie - begin questioning their lives and decide to change a few things before it’s too late. That’s a simple enough premise, but all Osborn needed some sixty years ago to craft the most charming play of the current Broadway season.
Daniel Sullivan has directed this revival with grace, wit, and a keen eye for what it takes to let each of his actors shine in turn. John Lee Beatty’s set and Jane Greenwood’s costumes genuinely capture a small, rural American neighborhood of over half a century ago. Brian MacDevitt’s lighting establishes and maintains a balmy, summer mood.
But it’s the performances you’ll remember and with a cast the likes of Parsons, Franz, Sternhagen, and Laurie, along with Julie Hagerty, Buck Henry, Christopher Lloyd, William Biff McGuire, and Stephen Tobolowsky, those memories will be fond indeed. It is unusual to see true ensemble performances when stars (Tony and Oscar winning stars at that) are involved, but an extraordinary professionalism is evident here. The enormous respect each member of this cast obviously has for the others is apparent in the warm, affectionate glow emanating from the Lyceum stage.