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Tonys 2008: 'Top Girls' could come out on top

May 9, 2008 |  4:04 pm

The final show of the season, "Top Girls," opened Wednesday night to reviews good enough to make it a Tony Awards contender. While the author, Caryl Churchill, is revered in her native England, this production of her 1982 play is only the second time her work has appeared on Broadway.


The play, set against the backdrop of Thatcher's Britain, uses historical female figures to tell the story of one woman (Elizabeth Marvel) dealing with her own successes and failures. As Linda Winer of Newsday enthuses, "There are more vital, fascinating, complicated women in 'Top Girls' than on any stage in town."

While Marvel plays Marlene, the other six actresses take on a variety of roles. The only question is whether standouts Oscar winner Marisa Tomei and Tony nominee Martha Plimpton will compete as featured or lead actress. Tomei already has been nominated in the supporting category by the Drama Desk. And both Marvel and Plimpton are among the 69 actors competing for the Drama League distinguished performance prize. Expect an announcement as to eligibility from the Tony Awards administration committee before nominations are announced Tuesday, May 13.

Ben Brantley of the New York Times asks, "How often, after all, do you get to watch this many actresses at this level of talent sharing a single stage, a meaty subject and the chance to flex underused theatrical muscles?"


New York Magazine's Culture blog sums up chatter it's picked up on the Web — CLICK HERE.

Variety: "It's a mark of the spiky brilliance of 'Top Girls' that regardless of having previously seen or read the 1982 play, deciphering its cryptographic mosaic of narrative, themes, structure and style is still a bracing challenge." READ MORE.