Guare, however, using a brief, intriguing newspaper report as his jumping off point, found a way in Six Degrees to make us laugh in the face of our own insufficiency in bridging that midnight-dark gulf.
The 2011 Broadway revival of The House of Blue Leaves was too unbalanced to do the job, but Trip Cullman's razor-sharp staging of Six Degrees of Separation serves as a welcome reminder of the fiercely intelligent, pungently funny voice of playwright John Guare at his vintage best.
The production, directed with compassion and merciless hilarity by Trip Cullman, has a wonderful, luxuriously large cast, with some actors dropping in for just a few perfectly pitched scenes.
Any doubt that John Guare's 1990 sharp-edged comedic drama "Six Degrees of Separation" is one of the finest contemporary American plays should be put to rest by the terrific new Broadway revival starring Allison Janney ("The West Wing"), John Benjamin Hickey ("The Normal Heart") and Corey Hawkins ("Straight Outta Compton").
The play (which was adapted into a 1993 film with Will Smith) popularized the idea that everyone in the world is connected by just a handful of people (i.e. But it also displays a class-based society, where an Upper East Side penthouse is a world away from a homeless youth sleeping in Central Park - though not necessarily impenetrable.
On the evidence of the spectacular revival that opened tonight at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, with a cast led by Allison Janney (Mom, The West Wing), Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton) and John Benjamin Hickey (The Normal Heart), either it's been a very long moment that Guare captured.
The “Cats” movie is both a punchline and a recurring symbol of the yearning — for status, for money, for connection — at the play’s core.
For the cast of the new “Six Degrees,” it all leads to an obvious question: Who would you want to play in the “Cats” movie? “I am embarrassed to tell you: I never saw ‘Cats,'” she said. I mean, I feel embarrassed that I never saw it the first time! Andrew Lloyd Webber, the ultra-successful composer who created the show (and who currently has four productions running on Broadway), has the answer. “I must confess I never thought I’d live to say that, given some of the drafts of ‘Cats’ that have gone around over the years. At the time — and we’re talking 25 years ago — it was going to be traditional animation, which I thought probably would be a very good idea.
But the revelation is rising actor Corey Hawkins' performance as the interloper Paul.