Off Broadway (and sometimes Broadway) Reviews and Information.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

The Easy Charms of Small Town America are reflected in Mornings at Seven.

(Ally Mills has replaced Judith Ivy due to an accident. This review has been changed to include her performance.) 

Patty McCormack and Lindsay Crouse as Ester and Cora

Mornings at Seven has an easy charm that harkens back to a simpler time. You can tell the play is a classic from my use of the word harken, at least I didn’t say old timey. The play tells the tale of 4 sisters, all in their mid 60s or older, who all live very close to each other in the 1920s. And they have for many years. These sisters are.

The sisters, 3 married and 1 not, talk every day and are involved in each others’ lives.  Over the course of 50 years of adulthood, small irritations have grown into large annoyances. albeit hidden.

One day comes that upsets the order of their lives. As a blurb would say, old wounds are opened, lies exposed and the sisters’ dynamics will never be the same. The headline would be correct, but the proceedings are a bit more leisurely than that implies.

A wonderful cast of older actors have been assembled for Mornings at Seven and they perform flawlessly. Cora and Thor (Lindsay Crouse and Dan Lauria) live in one home on stage. Cora’s younger sister, and the only unmarried one, Arry (a great Ally Mills) has lived with them since they were married decades ago. 

Across the yard, Ida and Carl (Alam Cuervo and John Rubinstein) live with their son Homer (Jonathan Spivey). The day’s adventures are kicked off when Homer brings home his fiancé for the first time after 5 years of engagement. His fiancé Myrtle (Keri Safran) is confused by the family tensions but is understandably ready to get married.

Alma Cuervo, Jonathan Spivy and Keri Safran as Ida, Homer and Myrtle

The last sister and her husband are Ester and David (Patty McCormack and Tony Roberts). They are the richer and more educated part of the family and live about a half mile away. David keeps Ester on a short leash as he hates the rest of the family.

With such a rich and experienced cast, the pace and tone of the show is magnetic. The richly designed set and the famous faces are things you expect on Broadway, not at a small theater just off the scene. It turns out the Theatre at Saint Clement’s gives Mornings at Seven a cozy accessibility to the show. 

Hosting Homer and Myrtle puts his father Carl in a bit of a state. Carl has “spells”, today we would call them mild anxiety attacks. Carl has a problem with both meeting new people and self-doubts about his life choices. Carl is much better with his hands than with his personal interactions. One of the things Carl has done is built a house for his son and his wife, to be given to Homer then he gets married.  

The house has sat empty for 5 years, and when it looks like Homer and Myrtle have broken up, Carl is ready to rent it out. And Cora has designs on it. She wants the house to finally move away from Arry and be with just her husband. 

Mornings at Seven is not full of big laughs or huge drama, but instead is a warm, humorous and familiar hug. It is a story that these actors bring to life with the ease of experience. Patty McCormack and Ally Mills stand out in a cast of stellar performances. 

Director Dan Wackerman has delivered a beautiful revival of this classic. T is a fantastic show if your tastes run to convivial entertainment. A special call out has to go to Harry Feiner to scenic design.

Mornings at Seven

Director: Dan Wackerman | Playwright: Paul Osborn | Cast: Lindsay Crouse, Alma Cuervo, Dan Lauria, Patty McCormack, Ally Mills, Tony Roberts, John Rubinstein, Keri Safran, Jonathan Spivey


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