Alley Mills, Lindsay Crouse, Patty McCormack & Alma Cuervo. Photo by Maria Baranova
Paul Osborn’s Morning’s at Seven focuses on four aging sisters living in a small Midwestern town in 1928. At the play’s center is the long-standing sibling rivalries of four aging sisters. Ida (Alma Cuervo), Cora (Lindsay Crouse) and Arry (Alley Mills), have lived next door to each other for fifty years, and Esther (Patty McCormack), the eldest.
Living so close has taken its toll, as secrets start to unravel even the most secure members become unhinged.
Arry has lived with Cora and her husband Thor (Dan Lauria) since she was seventeen. Cora feels the chemistry Arry has had all these years with her husband. She has her hopes set on the house Ida’s husband Carl (John Rubenstein) built for his son Homer (Jonathan Spivey).
Everything comes out as Homer brings his fiancée of seven years and whom he has known for five years prior, Myrtle (Keri Safran) to meet the entire family.
In the meantime Esther’s husband David (Tony Roberts) has refused to let her visit her sisters, even though she only lives only a few blocks away, because he feels they are beneath him. Carl is having a elder life crises, that it seems runs in the family.
By the end all is solved and life goes on.
Paul Osborn was well known on Broadway and in Hollywood. His shows The Vinegar Tree, On Borrowed Time, A Bell For Adano and The World of Suzie Wong, The Yearling, East of Eden, Sayonara and South Pacific were all his. His play has endured for 63 years because he wrote about the lives of “ordinary” Americans, however we are no longer ordinary.
What stands out here is the marvelous set by Harry Felner, the costumes by Barbara A. Bell, and lighting by James E. Lawlor. All are flawless and drop us into the twilight zone of 1928.
Dan Wackerman’s direction has this play moving at a turtle pace. Act 2 and 3 thankfully move at a lot quicker pace.
The cast however is stellar. I have long been a fan of Alma Cuervo, since Quilters and Assassins. It was great to see Dan Lauria, Tony Roberts and John Rubenstein whose work is always first rate. The standout though is Patty McCormack, best known for her stage work in The Bad Seed from 1954 – 1955 and then Oscar-nominated in the 1956 movie. I hope someone will write her something she can really sink her teeth into, because she is a marvel to watch.
Mornings At Seven will satisfy those who miss the past, which I do, I just need more.
Morning’s At Seven : Theatre at Saint Clement’s, 423 West 46th St. Until January 9, 2022