Author: Judith

The Inheritance: Peter O’Toole’s Broadway Success

The Inheritance: Peter O'Toole's Broadway Success

Review: Tony-winning ‘The Inheritance’ is better in Los Angeles than on Broadway

One of the great pleasures of seeing a Broadway play is seeing a production that’s better for being on Broadway.

It’s possible — it’s a fact — that some of the best theater productions are the best theater productions because they’re well-cast and well-rehearsed. They are also, by definition, the most ambitious ones.

So, in the case of The Inheritance, the Los Angeles production is better. Because it’s set in a smaller space and because it relies on a smaller ensemble, it is less ambitious. It has a less complex structure and a more human feel.

One big benefit of staging a Broadway play in the West is that it allows the creators and the actors to use their imagination. So sometimes it’s possible to make the story come alive before an audience.

But, of course, every production is designed to be as faithful as possible to the Shakespearean original. It’s why there’s some confusion over the casting, especially in the case of the late Peter O’Toole.

O’Toole is an actor who has never truly gotten to the top. He has always struggled to find the proper balance between his dramatic gifts and his acting limitations. He came to prominence as a boy’s voice teacher, and he was a popular stage-school chum. But before he’d become a star, he was a very good actor.

His first major Broadway hit, The Seagull, earned him a Tony Award nomination. He was nominated three times for the Academy Award, winning for Young Frankenstein in 1974. But he rarely found top billing until his role in The Elephant Man.

O’Toole’s Tony success is all the more remarkable because his career began with little. He landed his first role on the stage when he was 13, in Christopher Striker’s production of The Seagull. He was 22.

It’s worth noting that his first major role — arguably the greatest of his career — is also the most autobiographical. When he was only 15, he played the part of Richard of Gloucester, King Lear’s son in William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

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