The Grand Manner

Katharine Cornell, stage icon of the 1940s, is the subject of A.R. Gurney’s strongly perfumed love letter to the bygone days of Broadway; Bobby Steggert plays a teenage version of the playwright, revisiting the star (Kate Burton) backstage. Directed by Mark Lamos and designed with typical Lincoln Center Theater adroitness, this sleepy nostalgia trip has a warm glow to it, but no fire. Gurney imagines a Cornell who feels trapped in her genteel, obsolescent acting style, but the show seems too comfy in its own staginess to engage that concern with credibility.—Adam Feldman


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