You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Solitary Confinement

NEW YORK--If crowds roaring their appreciation at a final curtain guarantee a long run, Stacy Keach may have found in "Solitary Confinement" his biggest break since he replaced John Wood in "Deathtrap" 13 years ago. Rupert Holmes' new play and Ira Levin's old one are similar in that they're both boulevard thrillers, happy to provide audiences with a few hours of suspense sprinkled with a couple of jolting surprises.

Cast:
Richard Jannings ... Stacy Keach

NEW YORK–If crowds roaring their appreciation at a final curtain guarantee a long run, Stacy Keach may have found in “Solitary Confinement” his biggest break since he replaced John Wood in “Deathtrap” 13 years ago. Rupert Holmes’ new play and Ira Levin’s old one are similar in that they’re both boulevard thrillers, happy to provide audiences with a few hours of suspense sprinkled with a couple of jolting surprises.

They also require a certain virtuosity, which Keach has in spades, even if the once-keen talent of this actor has grown flabby from trashy TV gigs and theatrical junk food.

Here he plays Richard Jannings, reclusive billionaire and grand acquisitor, a man with Donald Trump’s modesty and Howard Hughes’ mental balance and social graces, controlling his world via big-screen closed-circuit TV from a 51st-floor aerie atop his corporate headquarters in Albuquerque.

The first act is so boring, pointless and expository that it’s a wonder word of mouth in the lobby doesn’t kill it off early.

Act 2, a kind of cat-and-mouse game Jannings plays with a killer, is a bit livelier. It also employs a device Holmes used in “Drood,” namely, pandering to the audience, in this case through a quiz a would-be killer must pass to save his skin.

Keach delights in stretching out the time he takes to work out the answers, in a way calculated to quicken theatergoers’ heartbeats.

But “Solitary Confinement” is clumsy and almost wholly lacking in style; every word has a phony ring, as does William Barclay’s imposing, gimmick-ridden set. All of the characters but one take part by way of a giant video screen, a situation sure totip off the play’s major surprise to at least some astute audience members, and one that makes for an oddly two-dimensional experience.

Clearly, given the B.O. response during prior runs in California and Washington, this is enough for a lot of ticketbuyers. But anyone who wants to see what can really be done creatively with live actors interacting with video should check out Blue Man Group or any night at the Kitchen, and save your money.

Solitary Confinement

(Nederlander Theater; 1,205 seats; $ 42.50 top)

Production: A Gladys Nederlander, James M. Nederlander & Charlene Nederlander and Roger L. Stevens presentation, in association with Normand Kurtz, of a play in two acts by Rupert Holmes. Broadway production supervised by Marshall W. Mason; original direction by Kenneth Frankel.

Creative: Set, art direction, William Barclay; costumes, Kathleen Detoro; lighting, Donald Holder; sound, Jack Allaway. Opened Nov. 8, 1992.

Cast: Richard Jannings ... Stacy Keach

More Legit

  • The Band's Visit

    Broadway Box Office: Promising Start for 'The Band's Visit'

    NEW YORK–If crowds roaring their appreciation at a final curtain guarantee a long run, Stacy Keach may have found in “Solitary Confinement” his biggest break since he replaced John Wood in “Deathtrap” 13 years ago. Rupert Holmes’ new play and Ira Levin’s old one are similar in that they’re both boulevard thrillers, happy to provide […]

  • Judd Apatow

    Judd Apatow on Weinstein Co. at Power of Women Luncheon: 'Shut It Down'

    NEW YORK–If crowds roaring their appreciation at a final curtain guarantee a long run, Stacy Keach may have found in “Solitary Confinement” his biggest break since he replaced John Wood in “Deathtrap” 13 years ago. Rupert Holmes’ new play and Ira Levin’s old one are similar in that they’re both boulevard thrillers, happy to provide […]

  • War Paint review

    Broadway Musical 'War Paint' Will Close Earlier Than Expected

    NEW YORK–If crowds roaring their appreciation at a final curtain guarantee a long run, Stacy Keach may have found in “Solitary Confinement” his biggest break since he replaced John Wood in “Deathtrap” 13 years ago. Rupert Holmes’ new play and Ira Levin’s old one are similar in that they’re both boulevard thrillers, happy to provide […]

  • Springsteen on Broadway opening

    'Springsteen on Broadway' Opening: Don't Clap Along With The Boss

    NEW YORK–If crowds roaring their appreciation at a final curtain guarantee a long run, Stacy Keach may have found in “Solitary Confinement” his biggest break since he replaced John Wood in “Deathtrap” 13 years ago. Rupert Holmes’ new play and Ira Levin’s old one are similar in that they’re both boulevard thrillers, happy to provide […]

  • SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY

    Theater Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway' Is an Intimate, Living Autobiography

    NEW YORK–If crowds roaring their appreciation at a final curtain guarantee a long run, Stacy Keach may have found in “Solitary Confinement” his biggest break since he replaced John Wood in “Deathtrap” 13 years ago. Rupert Holmes’ new play and Ira Levin’s old one are similar in that they’re both boulevard thrillers, happy to provide […]

  • Tony Awards

    Tony Awards Set a Date for 2018 Telecast

    NEW YORK–If crowds roaring their appreciation at a final curtain guarantee a long run, Stacy Keach may have found in “Solitary Confinement” his biggest break since he replaced John Wood in “Deathtrap” 13 years ago. Rupert Holmes’ new play and Ira Levin’s old one are similar in that they’re both boulevard thrillers, happy to provide […]

  • Young Frankenstein musical review

    West End Review: 'Young Frankenstein,' The Musical

    NEW YORK–If crowds roaring their appreciation at a final curtain guarantee a long run, Stacy Keach may have found in “Solitary Confinement” his biggest break since he replaced John Wood in “Deathtrap” 13 years ago. Rupert Holmes’ new play and Ira Levin’s old one are similar in that they’re both boulevard thrillers, happy to provide […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content