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Friday, 09 October 2009 17:01

Manhattan Theatre Club's The Royal Family Embraced by Critics


“Rosemary Harris and Jan Maxwell are giving the kind of performance
that turn agnostics into true believers. It’s something close to a miracle.”
Ben Brantley, The New York Times

The Manhattan Theatre Club production of the classic comedy THE ROYAL FAMILY, by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber and directed by Doug Hughes, opened last night at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and was embraced by critics and audiences alike. Below is a sampling of what critics had to say:

THE ROYAL FAMILY is suffused with the radiance of pure, inexhaustible love of an ancient craft. The passion atthe play’s heart is forever. You may find yourself moved to tears. Rosemary Harris and Jan Maxwell are giving the kind of performance that turn agnostics into true believers. It’s something close to a miracle.”
–        Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“Effervescent! This comedy is graced with a terrific collection of actors. Jan Maxwell hilariously raises neurotic indecision to a fine art. Reg Rogers is wonderful. Ana Gasteyer is supremely comic. Director Doug Hughes never lets any of the actors descend into cartoons, which makes the play’s ending all the more poignant.”
–        Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press

THE ROYAL FAMILY is a royal inside-theater delight. There are many pleasures in Doug Hughes’ sumptuous joy of a revival. The legendary Rosemary Harris gives a thrilling and ravishing performance. Hughes clearly knows that comedy is serious business.”
–        Linda Winer, Newsday

“A fine showcase for two marvelous actresses, Jan Maxwell and Rosemary Harris. They are a joy to behold. Maxwell’s elegant, high-cheekboned beauty and comic dexterity suit the part perfectly. It’s impossible to imagine an actress who would be more likable or funnier. Harris similarly makes us laugh and breaks our heart. She is masterful . Under Doug Hughes’ sprightly direction, the ensemble performs gamely. John Glover is excellent.”
–        Elysa Gardner, USA Today

“Dazzling comic performances from a superb cast who go for broke and emerge triumphant. With exquisitely juicy material and over-the-top bravura performances, it persuades you that there’s nothing funnier than actors playing actors. Under the stylish, pitch-perfect direction of Doug Hughes, it’s crucially, believably human and it works beautifully.”
–        Robert Feldberg, The Bergen Record

THE ROYAL FAMILY has the best cast assembled in a show this season or any other season. They are absolutely wonderful from top to bottom! When you hear Tony Roberts’ gravelly voice, you know you’re in for a funny evening.”
–        David Richardson, WOR Radio

THE ROYAL FAMILY is a love letter to the stage and an amusing look at the lunacies of the theater.  Jan Maxwell squeezes her juicy role for all it’s worth. She is a riot while Tony Roberts is terrific.”
–        Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News

THE ROYAL FAMILY is one of those ageless comedies with extravagant, often brilliantly comic banter that is sure to beguile audiences. Enhanced by John Lee Beatty's perfectly grand setting, director Doug Hughes and 16 actors beautifully dressed by Catherine Zuber serve the comedy very well indeed. Rosemary Harris etches a sassy, valiant Fanny while the ever-elegant Jan Maxwell stops the show. It's very early in the Broadway season to predict the spring's Tony Award contenders, but this classy staging of THE ROYAL FAMILY sets a high bar for subsequent shows to beat.”
–        Michael Sommers, New Jersey Newsroom

3 ½ STARS (OUT OF 4)! Doug Hughes’ production has a firm hold on THE ROYAL FAMILY’s humor and heart. Rosemary Harris is perfectly cast as the aging, regal matriarch Fanny. Jan Maxwell triumphs.”
–        Matt Windman, amNY

“Under Doug Hughes' inspired direction, the cast is just-about perfect. Rosemary Harris is a combination of maternal concern and girlish maturity as matriarch Fanny. Maxwell, in an extravagantly over-the-top and Tony Award-worthy performance, leaves no stop unpulled. John Lee Beatty's re-creation of an East-Fifties Manhattan mansion is perhaps the finest interior the architecturally savvy designer has ever created.”
–        David Finkle, Theatermania

The cast of THE ROYAL FAMILY features “Saturday Night Live” alum Ana Gasteyer (Kitty Dean), Tony winner John Glover (Herbert Dean), Tony Award winner and Oscar nominee Rosemary Harris (Fanny Cavendish), Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Jan Maxwell (Julie Cavendish), Broadway veteran Larry Pine (Gilbert Marshall), Tony Award nominee Tony Roberts (Oscar Wolfe), and Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award nominee Reg Rogers (Tony Cavendish). They are joined by Freddy Arsenault (Perry Stewart), Kelli Barrett (Gwen Cavendish), Caroline Stefanie Clay (Della), Rufus Collins (McDermott, Gunga), David Greenspan (Jo), Anthony Newfield (Chauffeur), Henny Russell (Miss Peake), Cat Walleck (Hallboy), and John Wernke (Hallboy).

Follow a famous family of stage stars as they go about the drama of the day: choosing scripts, dashing off to performances, stealing kisses from handsome beaus. But what’s this business about the youngest diva wanting to quit the stage for domestic bliss? Never, darling! 


  • Single tickets to THE ROYAL FAMILY are available via; by telephone at (212) 239-6200 or (800) 432-7250 if outside the NY metro area; and at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre box office (261 West 47th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue).
  • THE ROYAL FAMILY tickets range in price from $57.00-$111.00. 

Please note: For all weeks except Thanksgiving Week, THE ROYAL FAMILY is dark on Mondays.

  • THROUGH SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1: Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2 PM.
  • MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8: Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Saturday, and Sunday at 2 PM. Please note there are only 7 performances on sale to the general public this week.
  • MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22: Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2 PM.
  • MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29 (THANKSGIVING WEEK): Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 PM. Tuesday at 7 PM. Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM. Dark on Thursday.

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