Cuccioli star.

A trio of finely tuned actors make "A Moon to Dance By" a compelling theatrical experience.

A trio of finely tuned actors make “A Moon to Dance By” a compelling theatrical experience. In the stunning new drama at the George Street Playhouse, playwright Thom Thomas has fashioned a fictitious encounter between D.H. Lawrence’s widow, Frieda, and her older estranged son, Monty Weekley, whom she left behind in London along with two young daughters when she ran off with the celebrated writer.

The play is set on the dusty Lawrence ranch near Taos, N.M., where Frieda (Jane Alexander) lives with her Latin lover, Angelo (Robert Cuccioli). She communicates with her late husband during a turbulent thunderstorm, describing the lean young man who has come to visit. The reunion with Monty (Gareth Saxe) is strained and often vitriolic as he attempts to come to terms with his mother’s abandonment of her children and their father.

In her finest portrait in years, Alexander offers a vital account of the lusty widow Lawrence, playing the role to the hilt with blowsy swagger.

Cuccioli and Saxe are reunited following recent turns as Claudius and the Dane, respectively, in “Hamlet” for the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. Cuccioli makes a well-grounded and often witty lover, while Saxe provides a cunning study of a confused offspring attempting to heal old family wounds.

Working on designer Stephanie Mayer-Staley’s desert ranch and chapel set, Edwin Sherin’s taut staging brings out the play’s rich emotional textures. The search is on for a Gotham venue.

A Moon to Dance By

George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, N.J.; 380 seats; $71.50 top

Production

A George Street Playhouse presentation of a play in two acts by Thom Thomas. Directed by Edwin Sherin. Set, Stephanie Mayer-Staley.

Creative

Costumes, Hope Hanafin; lighting, Andrew David Ostrowski; original music, Simon Cummings; sound, Steven Shapiro; production stage manage, C. Renee Alexander. Opened, reviewed, Nov. 20, 2009. Running time: 2 HOURS, 30 MIN.

Cast

Frieda Lawrence - Jane Alexander Angelo Ravagh - Robert Cuccioli Monty Weekley - Gareth Saxe
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