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Returning to see 4000 Miles at Lincoln Center Theater (having reviewed it last summer at the Duke on 42nd Street) felt like visiting a beloved older relation. There it was—granny Vera’s quaint Greenwich Village pad, same as I remember it: furniture mismatched like in a dorm room; weird seashell sculpture on a table by the couch; bookshelf filled with lefty-propaganda paperbacks from the ’60s. If these walls could talk… Luckily they don’t have to; playwright Amy Herzog has put plenty of articulate, emotionally resonant dialogue in the mouths of Vera (Wilson) and Leo (Ebert), the grandson who drops in unexpectedly late one night at the end of a cross-country bike odyssey.
Herzog’s wonderful play about growing up and finding home has only ripened over time, with the actors sinking more deeply into roles they already inhabited so completely. Back in June, Daniel Aukin’s tonally perfect staging had already arrived fully formed, with crucial, outstanding lighting by Japhy Weideman and an understated but evocative sound design (and beguiling incidental music) by Ryan Rumery. The production fits the Mitzi E. Newhouse quite snugly.
Wilson and Ebert’s achingly nuanced work as soul mates separated by time and temperament is the heart of the piece, but you can’t overlook beautifully realized turns by Zoë Winters and Greta Lee as Leo’s ex and a bar pickup, respectively. 4000 Miles is one of the best, bravest plays of the season. See it, no matter how far you must travel.—David Cote
Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote