The new Broadway production of Tom Stoppard’s 1995 Best Play contender “Arcadia” opened Thursday to excellent notices. While the work lost the top Tony to “Love! Valour! Compassion” by Terrence McNally, it did win over the New York Drama Critics’ Circle in 1995.
The time-shifting tale is set in an English country manor and moves between contempoaray scholars studying the house’s history and the lives of those who lived there two centuries ago. Beyond being a frontrunner in this year’s Play Revival race at the Tony Awards, several of the dozen performers could be rewarded as well.
Among those is Billy Crudup, who originated the role of nineteenth century tutor Septimus Hodge in the 1995 run and is now in the part of modern-day academic Bernard Nightingale first done by Victor Garber. Crudup won the Featured Play Actor Tony in 2007 for his performance in Stoppard’s epic “The Coast of Utopia.”
Four-time Tony also-ran Raul Esparza plays Valentine Coverly, a nemesis of Nightingale. Although Esparza has yet to win, he has demonstrated remarkable versatility landing nominations in each of the four acting categories at the Tony Awards: Featured Musical Actor (“Taboo,” 2004); Lead Musical Actor (“Company,” 2007); Featured Play Actor (“The Homecoming,” 2008); and Lead Play Actor (“Speed-the-Plow,” 2009).
This new production of “Arcadia” is based on a 2009 London revival and was directed by five-time Tony nominee David Leveaux. Other players include Broadway vets Margaret Colin and Byron Jennings and newcomers Tom Riley and Grace Gummer.