Johnny, a new short-order cook in a Manhattan diner, goes home with Frankie, a waitress. Johnny does everything he can to turn a one-night stand into the. FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE. By Dany Margolies | July 10, PM. Playwright Terrence McNally does “small” with the best of them. 28 Oct WHEN we first meet the title characters of Terrence McNally’s provocative new play, ”Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,” they are.

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It is, however, unfortunate that the superb performances Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci give seem to belong in a play other than the one they’re performing. Moreover, Johnny quotes Shakespeare amusingly and repeatedly; he mentions that he came by the knowledge on his own, yet, he doesn’t have the air of an autodidact.

Which is the way it should be, ideally. Those who saw Kathy Bates in the original production will likely agree with this criticism. It strains credibility, almost to the breaking point, that Falco’s Frankie is uneducated or common, incapable of understanding all of the words that pepper Johnny’s vocabulary, and Tucci, so slick and controlled, is equally difficult to believe as a divorced ex-convict with a difficult past of his own.

Falco provides no sense of wanting or needing anything more, so the reason Johnny persists is not present. Although Johnny insists he’s in love with every aspect of Frankie’s body, he also admits during a phone call to a classical music deejay that neither he or she are perfect specimens.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM. He also needs to more fully explain Johnny’s conviction that Frankie, whom he’s only known for a brief time, is definitely the prospective wife for him. The performers had an extended period of nudity in the first act. Instead, she wants him focused on the notion that steamy sex, which they energetically indulge in at play’s beginning, is the level on which they should keep their relationship.

He starts with a cute joke since, in the old torch song from which he purloins his title, Johnny was Frankie’s man but he was doing her wrong.

The two are in her one-room walk-up apartment in the west side of New York City. Advertise About Tips Contact Us.

Capitulate, she does, of course. And both perfs are marked by a splendid physical specificity: Sound designed by Scott Lehrer. Tucci and Falco speak the words, are living in the moment, and spend every minute of the play’s lne time doing absolutely nothing wrong. Tucci ce Falco, through absolutely no fault of their own, cannot handle this most basic premise of the play.


Directed by Joe Mantello. Both Johnny frankiie Frankie eventually confide the sadder episodes that have led them to the lovelorn situations in which they find themselves, but the revealed histories are cursory; they give the impression that McNally felt he’d better include them, but minimally.

Falco is a natural for this ckair character, her urban accent slicing off snippets of dialogue with crisp precision. We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. Frankie is ready to withdraw back into her frsnkie cocoon of emotional reticence; she wants him out, five minutes ago.

When they finally connect at the end of the first act, the moment is so unbelievable, the second act is rendered practically inert, an afterthought and not the final culmination of their relationship. When Johnny calls the radio station to request the most beautiful music ever written, Claude Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” courtesy of Scott Lehrer’s smooth sound design almost immediately floats onto the night air.

She reluctantly holds open her robe, while he lolls on the bed, his expression at once infantile and profoundly loving. That’s just about the time when Johnny, buoyant with love, beckons Frankie to join him at the window and to bask courtesy of Brian MacDevitt’s lighting design in the clair de lune. She pads around her apartment — which the always bang-on John Lee Beatty has designed to look like a fifth-floor walk-up in a West Side tenement — doing everything she can to clqir Johnny from learning anything about her damaged inner life.

Frankie seems to want little more from Johnny than a one-night stand, and Johnny spends almost the entire act attempting to convince her they can have jn than that.

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Or sign in with a social account: Negotiations begin, claor Johnny is nothing if not a tough negotiator. Which leaves us, the audience, in the dark, too, listening to moans, groans, yelps, murmurs and ecstatic exclamations that go on for some time. His unabated persual of her is nearly threatening at times – Johnny truly seems like an unwanted presence in her life.

In great physical trim, Tucci gallops on, in and out of Frankie’s convertible bed. It’s a lovely moment This time, Johnny’s trying to do her right; and, as in all plays about the road to commitment, the one pursued wants none of it. Who among us has not longed for acceptance, been afraid of facing the future alone, or not wanted all the details of our pasts tne become known at inopportune times?


Kathleen Turner’s full-frontal exposure surely has something to do with the continuing box office allure of the critically reviled “The Graduate,” and now “Sopranos” star Edie Falco and movie regular Stanley Tucci are causing a bit of a stir.

Contains adult situations and some nudity. Falco comes across as sophisticated and almost refined, an intelligent, thoughtful woman, exactly the opposite of Frankie, while Tucci oozes self-confidence from every pore. Sunday at 3 PM. Brian MacDevitt’s lighting, whether evoking the moon or the encroaching dawn, is a good complement for the ideas McNally expresses about how light lets one see – and be seen – more clearly.

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Have a Real Date Night at Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune | Westword

They’re middle aged, of no great physical attractiveness, and both, having been hurt in their past relationships, are looking for something they can’t exactly identify. The play opened on Broadway on July 26, in previews, officially on August 8, at the Belasco Theatre.

Directed by Joe Mantello. The play just refuses to work because Tucci and Falco don’t or can’t understand these lunee. The dialogue is clever and humanistic, seesawing between comedy and pathos.

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Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune – Wikipedia

McNally brings Frankie and Johnny together through a sort of kismet, a cosmic kinship forged through two lives of hardship that coincided at certain key points.

Johnny is a strange, twirling, gesticulating, over-the-top character. When he convinces her to part her robe so he can sit on the edge of the rumpled bed and gaze adoringly at her groin, the position and mien he assumes is part schoolboy, part Rodin’s “Thinker.

Just how intelligent is Johnny — and if that intelligence quotient is unusually high, how has he become a short order cook with so few aspirations beyond the griddle?

The Humans Makes for an Unsatisfying Night at