A View From The Bridge at Westport Community Theatre

“Welcome to Katz Reviews. This is Ed Katz of Katnip Marketing- marketing consultant by day; theater critic by night- bringing my weekly review segment, Katz Reviews, here for you on WICC 600.

Maybe I am jaded because, let’s face it, I do see a lot of theater. And, being just over an hour from Broadway means I get to see some of the best shows and performers in the world- on a regular basis.

So that is what made seeing ‘A View From The Bridge’ at Westport Community Theatre such a spectacular surprise.

I saw Arthur Miller’s ‘A View From The Bridge’ almost 20 years ago on Broadway – and this regional production, in Westport- is better. Now, I admit, when I saw it on Broadway it was with the understudy for star Anthony LaPaglia and he shouted a lot, overacted and truly diminished the production.

 (l to r): Rich Masotti, Cathy Cordaro, Deanna Hartog

But that isn’t the case at all with this nearly flawless production. Rich Masotti embodies Eddie Carbone and is truly sensational. But the entire cast is spot-on, too- and perfectly cast, as well!

This is a real rarity in regional theater and this local production of one of Arthur Miller’s great works is a gift to southern Connecticut theatergoers that should be savored and- most importantly- seen!

As director John Atkin noted, this is one of Miller’s plays that isn’t produced as often as his more popular ‘Death of a Salesman’ or ‘The Crucible’- but it’s remarkably powerful.

‘A View From the Bridge’- with its theme of the fear of immigrants taking over jobs and marrying Americans to be able to stay permanently in the country- is particularly relevant now.

Eddie’s comment, “He ain’t right” about Rodolpho, well-played by Chris Kozlowski, and the way Eddie mocks him by adding how he can cook and sew is a not-so-thinly veiled gay slur. But Eddie’s motives for protecting his niece from Rodolpho are far from pure and that aspect ratchets up the tension between Eddie and his wife Beatrice- marvelously and sincerely played by Cathy Cordaro in a heartfelt performance- and also Eddie’s 18-year old niece, Catherine- smartly portrayed by NYU student Deanna Hartog.

 images: Westport Community Theatre

While the entire cast is wonderful- and kudos to director Atkin for that- I wanted to also note John Ponzini who plays the immigration lawyer who tries to warn Eddie about the dark path he is going down as well as serving as the narrator who notes early on, with foreboding, that Eddie “was as good as he had to be.”

What elevates this production above the Broadway version I saw is the humanity apparent in every character’s portrayal and how it comes out in their interactions with each other and, when Miller’s story adds a development where one character sets in motion something he tries to undo before it becomes too late, the dramatic tension matches the human drama and we feel empathy while the clock ticks away on the opportunity to make things right.

This critical scene is expertly handled and one of the best moments I’ve seen in the theater in ages.

This show is a true gem, one of the highlights of the year and I give ‘A View From The Bridge’ at Westport Community Theatre 4-and-a-half stars out of 5 and I urge you to see it before it ends October 1st.

Catch my reviews right here this time each week and on my Facebook page and website, Katz Reviews dot com, where you will find all my WICC 600 reviews.

This is Ed Katz talking theater for WICC 600!”