Review: Tony-winning ‘The Inheritance’ is better in Los Angeles than on Broadway
In his new production of The Inheritance, the Tony-winning composer and librettist of Lincoln Center’s productions of Blood Brothers and Equus, Matthew Lombardo has made a good-faith effort to transfer the tone, texture and narrative complexities of Manhattan theater to a small-town setting, and to his credit, the audience should be grateful. This is not a play that, like the others on Broadway, will be a success only because of the sheer volume of people who have seen it — it’s almost a miracle that the new production is still going strong seven weeks after its premiere. But Lombardo is an experienced Broadway player, with a theater background and a love of the great American music that defines his work. “What makes this one work is the way he can put it together,” says the director of the Roundabout Theater Company. “He can mix the music from the Broadway production and the sound and the words from the original play and make it all fit together as if it were a Broadway show, which is what people like about it.”
The Inheritance, like the other recent Broadway hits The Seagull and The Humans, is a story about the passing of the family business, and a story of love and family, the story of two siblings, one who is alive and one who has died. When they meet again, they realize they have more than they thought; their lives are in this new family. The new play features a cast of twelve, with the lead roles played by Joe L. Jackson and Rachel Hunter. The actors also include the three lead actresses: Keala Settle, who makes her Broadway debut as the sister who is dead; Emily Alder, who makes her Broadway debut as the sister with the heart of gold; and Anne Meara as the matriarch.
Though The Inheritance is a New York premiere, the original score is by composer Mark O’Donnell, who played the role of a young Philoctetes in the Broadway production of Equus. O’Donnell is an accomplished Broadway composer with a range that spans from the pop classics of the 1950s to the more adventurous works of the 1970s and the work of the classical repertoire. His work is based on a foundation of themes