Broadway Lyceum Theatre May 23, 2015 matinee 5 Reasons To See The Visit on Broadway
The Visit is an intriguing notion of a musical, a story centered on themes of avarice and vengeance. Claire Zachanassian, played by the legendary Chita Rivera, is merely a teenager when she falls in love with Anton Schell and becomes pregnant. Following Anton’s public denial of her, she is forced to leave their small town of Brachen, Switzerland. However, Claire accumulates a substantial fortune when she is repeatedly widowed through the years, and in her older age, she returns to the town that deserted her as a teenager. The townspeople are destitute and hope that Claire will offer a piece of her fortune to help revitalize the town. Instead, Claire offers the townspeople money in exchange for the murder of Anton Schell, her former lover, and the people must determine if the murder of a neighbor is a suitable exchange for wealth.
1.) Chita Rivera
Chita’s performance is everything Broadway audiences desire from a legendary Broadway diva. She is a formidable presence on stage. Her performance is satirical and even comedic in some moments, insinuating the irony of the visit. Whenever Chita was on stage, which was most of the time, I was engaged and interested- she exuded a certain magnetism.
2.) Chita Rivera is 82 years young.
Who wouldn’t want to witness an 82 year old carrying a lead role on Broadway eight times per week? Actors such as Chita, Angela Lansbury, and Elaine Stritch, who have worked well into their ninth decade of life, simply amaze me. Such dedication to the craft is very admirable. After seeing The Visit, I can attest to the fact that Chita’s light has not dimmed with age! Her mobility and gracefulness on stage were quite remarkable.
I love a good satire, and it’s not every day that we see this musical “genre” on Broadway. Broadway abounds with Walt Disney, drag queens, youthful ingenues, and reimagined movies (to name a few). Let’s engage our imaginations with something unique and unconventional. The Visit may be a bit macabre, but it’s also a thought-provoking piece of theatre, depicting humanity in a much more realistic light than those musicals which culminate in a pleasant resolution.
4.) Jason Danieley
Admittedly, I am a fan. Jason Danieley’s performance of “The Only One” as Frederich Kuhn was one of the non-Chita highlights for me. The melody and lyrics are haunting, and I was transfixed. A great song performed by a great singer and actor.
5.) It’s Kander & Ebb’s last musical. Need I say more?