The AndyGram

Friday, Aug 12th

You are here: Home Theatre Reviews & Features 2015-16 Reviews 2011-12 Theatre Season Press Releases BORN YESTERDAY to Close Sun, Jun 26
Monday, 20 June 2011 10:30

BORN YESTERDAY to Close Sun, Jun 26




Get Born Yesterday Tickets

After garnering some of the best reviews of the season, Born Yesterday is set to close following the matinee on Sunday, June 26; it will have played 28 previews and 73 performances.  The production, which stars Jim Belushi, Robert Sean Leonard, and Nina Arianda, opened Sunday, April 24, at Broadway’s Cort Theatre, 138 West 48 Street.  Doug Hughes directed the classic Garson Kanin comedy. 

For her performance as Billie Dawn, Nina Arianda won the Outer Critics Circle Award for best actress in a play and received nominations for Tony and Drama Desk Awards.  Born Yesterday also received nominations for best revival of a play from the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle.  And the production’s costume designer, Catherine Zuber, received a Tony  nomination for best costume design for a play.  Born Yesterday also marked the return to Broadway of Jim. Belushi and Leonard after long hiatuses.

The production’s three stars wowed the critics, receiving unanimous praise:

“I hereby nominate the luminous laugh-goddess Nina Arianda for president, running on the Ditz Savant ticket.  Channeling just a dram of Judy Holliday’s legendary performance, Arianda takes the physical comedy further, but never too far: Whether she’s trying to outrun the train of her peignoir or pouring herself a brimming water glass of gin, she invests everything she touches with comic energy.  Her bravura performance reclaims a classic that’s well past its expiration date, transforming it into a night of (hell, let’s call it what it is) inspirational entertainment.

Jim Belushi plays Harry Brock in big brass blats, at intensity levels heretofore reserved for Gleason and Gandolfini. He sweeps around John Lee Beatty’s stunningly, sinfully plush wedding cake of a hotel penthouse like a hydrogen zeppelin in search of an incendiary spark.  Arianda, the play’s animating ambrosia and, without a doubt, the most exciting find of the Broadway season.” 

                                        --Scott Brown, New York magazine

“Nina Arianda is giving a performance that could be called breakout, although breakout somehow seems insufficient.  She shines brightly on John Lee Beatty’s radiant art deco set, delivering proclamations with a zing and a perfect gangster’s-moll accent  that would make Garson Kanin proud.”

--Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly

“A STAR IS BORN!   When knockout newcomer Nina Arianda, Broadway’s new Queen of Comedy, takes centerstage, be prepared to fall in love – hard, fast and completely.  Her thrilling Broadway debut is sheer fizzy perfection.  Jim Belushi brings just the right mix of menace and uncouth stupidity as Harry Brock, Billie's thuggish, sometimes violent, lover.  Robert Sean Leonard’s seductive nonchalance works like a charm. He and Arianda have a crackly chemistry in this deliciously witty comedy.”

--Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News

“THIS WINNING REVIVAL IS A GEM!  The dazzling Nina Arianda lands all her quips, with inspired touches of physical humor for good measure.  But her uncommon warmth and charm also make Billie Dawn touchingly vibrant, as she tracks Billie’s evolution from vulnerable bimbo to assured woman.  IT'S A DOWNRIGHT TOUR DE FORCE.

She also has a surprisingly good foil in Jim Belushi, who doesn't soft-pedal Harry's brutal bullying while suggesting it's prompted by insecurity.  Watching these two lock horns is so pleasurable, you want to see them again as soon as the curtain comes down.”

                                        --Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post

“A LARKY, LAVISH, FIRST-RATE PRODUCTION WITH A STELLAR CAST!   Jim Belushi is splendid, fun to watch without trying to be lovable.  He makes us understand what Billie Dawn, his moll and ex-chorine, sees in him. His performance is the surprise of this star-cast Broadway season.  Nina Arianda is fabulous.  Her nervous and hormone systems are so hotwired with theatrical talent and savvy that a gawky wiggle becomes an erotic money shot and a curled lip seems plain adorable in un-plain ways.  Robert Sean Leonard, an expert in heart-crushingly poetic characters, tosses off light comedy with a dashing, nerdy elegance.”

--Linda Winer, Newsday

“The sound that you're hearing at the Cort Theatre these days is one of the rarest in the world: the collective purr of an audience falling in love with a brand-new face.  Nina Arianda is a charismatic comedienne who is as funny as she is sexy, and anyone capable of resisting her charms is both blind and deaf.  Go—and save your program. Your grandchildren will be impressed when you tell them that you saw Nina Arianda before she was famous.”

  --Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal

“With her luscious pout and sweep of peroxide curls, Nina Arianda banishes Judy Holliday’s pop-eyed, chirpy naivete to evoke the surly molls of 1930’s gangster flicks.  Her Billie Dawn is embodied with invigorating spunk, like a cross between Jean Harlow at her tough-blondest and pop singer Cyndi Lauper, with her Queens-bred rasp.  

What a pleasure it is to have Robert Sean Leonard  back onstage in New York.  Played with wonderful gallantry and delicacy, he brings a touching, exhausted wistfulness to his performance as Paul Verrall.”


--Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

“Stupidity has never looked as smart as it does in Born Yesterday

The decision to cast Nina Arianda as the bubbly, muddle-headed blonde in the classic Garson Kanin screwball comedy is a stroke of genius. She is delicious.   Arianda wins much more than the hearts of the two onstage rivals for her affection, played by Jim Belushi and Robert Sean Leonard.   Belushi’s natural, impish nature and good humor emerge, a great mix of violent threat and boyishness.”


--Mark Kennedy, Associated Press 

“A TRULY INSPIRED COMIC PERFORMANCE!  Nina Arianda just knocks it out of the ballpark.”

                                        --Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg News

“BREAKOUT STAR NINA ARIANDA STEALS THE SHOW!  Taking your first Broadway bow in a role inextricably linked to the great Judy Holliday requires moxie as well as talent.  The relative newcomer proves she has both to spare in an enchanting turn that’s gutsy, hilarious and fully inhabited.

Director Doug Hughes doesn’t try to goose the 1946 comedy with contemporary perspective.  Instead, he lets the play stand on its own idealistic, mid-century terms in its certainty that honesty and Constitutional integrity will always win out over big-money muscle and corporate and political self-interest.  Hughes also respects the shop-worn mechanics of the three-act play, with its conveniently timed entrances and exits through multiple doors on a single set.  And what a set.  Period ostentation is one of designer John Lee Beatty’s specialties, and this swanky D.C. hotel suite—all dusky blue, black, cream and gold, with splashes of regal red upholstery—is a stunner.  Ditto Catherine Zuber’s sharp costumes.

Robert Sean Leonard gets the least showy of the central roles in ultra-earnest Paul, who spouts noble speeches about truth and decency.  But the actor makes him an appealing straight man; he’s smart, sincere, and believably caught off-guard by Billie’s directness and by his sudden feelings for her.  Harry is a brutish braggart, never talking when he can shout or making a request when he can demand something.  Jim Belushi gets the bullying attitude, the self-inflated arrogance and the barely concealed menace just right, revealing the briefest flashes of insecurity and class envy. He also shows that underneath all the intimidating bluster, Harry really is crazy about Billie.

But this is newcomer Arianda’s show. Her comic line readings are priceless, and her scenes with both co-stars are terrific.  It’s when she’s onstage that the polished production really sparkles.”

--David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

The cast of Born Yesterday also includes Frank Wood, Terry Beaver, Patricia Hodges, Michael McGrath, Fred Arsenault, Bill Christ, Jennifer Regan, Liv Rooth, Danny Rutigliano, Andrew Weems, and Chris Barnes. 

The scenic design for Born Yesterday is by John Lee Beatty; costume design is by Catherine Zuber; lighting design is by Peter Kaczorowski; original music/sound design is by David Van Tieghem; hair/wig design is by Tom Watson; casting is by Jay Binder; fight direction is by J. David Brimmer; production stage manager is Tripp Phillips.

Emmy Award nominee Jim Belushi (“According to Jim,” “The Defenders”), Tony Award winner Robert Sean Leonard (Best Featured Actor for The Invention of Love), and Outer Critics’ Circle nominee Nina Arianda (“A breakout performance—one of the highlights of the year” Charles Isherwood, The New York Times for Venus in Fur) head the cast in Born Yesterday, Garson Kanin’s award-winning comedy.  Tony Award winner Doug Hughes (Doubt) directs this timeless and timely story of a not-so-honest businessman and a not-so-ditzy blonde out to “capitalize” on everything Washington has to offer.

Born Yesterday had its New York premiere on February 4, 1946 at Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre, starring Paul Douglas, Judy Holliday, and Gary Merrill, and produced by Max Gordon.  It became an instant hit, ran for 1,642 performances (moving to the Henry Miller’s Theatre), and remains the seventh longest running play in Broadway history.  The play was adapted to the screen in 1950 with Judy Holliday winning an Academy Award for repeating her stage triumph, this time alongside Broderick Crawford and William Holden with George Cukor directing.  Born Yesterday was revived on Broadway in 1989, starring Ed Asner and Madeline Kahn, and ran for five months, following a national tour. 

Born Yesterday is produced by Philip Morgaman, Anne Caruso, Vincent Caruso, Frankie J. Grande, James P. MacGilvray, Brian Kapetanis, and Robert S. Basso in association with Peter J. Puleo.  Previews began Thursday, March 31. Born Yesterday plays Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm; Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm; Sunday at 3pm, at the Cort Theatre, 138 West 48 Street.   

Tickets are $26.50 - $121.50 and may be purchased by or by phoning   212 239 6200 or 800 432 7250

For more information about Born Yesterday, please visit

# # # # #

Last modified on Monday, 20 June 2011 10:34