Scarlett Johansson received warm applause for her opening performance of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre on Thursday evening (January 17, 2013). Johansson - a Tony Award winner - stars as leading lady Maggie in the latest revival of Tennessee Williams' classic play.
The reviews of Rob Ashford's revival of the play are far from unanimous, though most agree that Johansson is the shining light in a production otherwise lacking a cutting edge. "The star and her similarly marooned fellow cast members are all at the mercy of Rob Ashford, a director out of his depth," wrote David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter. The New York Times theatre critic Ben Brantley dubbed it an "oxygen-starved revival," though suggested Johansson was a stage actress with "adventurous intelligence," adding, "Quibble all you want about the particulars of her performance. She obviously has a strong sense of what she wants to do here and the convictions to follow it through." Over at Entertainment Weekly, Thom Geier admired the actress' "fierce, fighting spirit" in the role, though adding, "For a movie star with major sex-appeal, she falls surprisingly short in seductiveness. Her Cat flashes her claws, but doesn't purr."
The production marks Johansson's return to the stage following her acclaimed Broadway debut in Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge in 2010, which won her a slew of awards. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof stars a string of theatrical names in support of the Lost In Translation star, including Ciaran Hinds as Big Daddy and Benjamin Walker as Maggie's estranged husband Brick. Set in the plantation home of a wealth cotton tycoon, the Pulitzer winning play examines the relationships among members of Big Daddy Pollitt's family, primarily between his son Brick and Maggie, Brick's wife.
Speaking about her return to the stage, Scarlett told BBC News, "It's wonderful to be back on Broadway, I'm born and raised in New York and I grew up dreaming about one day treading the boards. It's a dream come true for me. I think Cat on a Hot Tin Roof seemed like the right challenge for me. I knew I wanted to do it, I didn't know how I'd do it, but I knew that I could do. It seemed like all the pieces fitted into place." Since the initial read-throughs, it's been a gruelling schedule for an actress used to relatively short movie shoots. "I spent a lot of time on stage and I spent a lot of time talking to Brick. Which is like talking to no one sometimes...it's just draining. I've had the same cold for three months with this job. I'm never going to shake it".
Following her run on Broadway, it's back to movies for Johansson, who will begin work on Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Avengers 2.