Best Theater Surprise

Abie's Irish Rose

Abie's Irish Rose, which ran on Broadway for five record-setting years beginning in 1922, might well be the first Teflon play (even though it predates the invention of Teflon by sixteen years). Reviewers had few words of praise for Anne Nichols' lowbrow comedy about the uproar that ensues when a good Jewish boy (Abie) brings home a Catholic bride (Rose Mary). For nearly 90 years, Abie's Irish Rose has been the theater world's Exhibit A of "successful but bad." Of course, most of us had never seen Abie's Irish Rose, but we knew it couldn't be any good. Leave it to Act Inc., an intrepid theater company that delights in resurrecting forgotten drama from the musty past, to stage a simple yet charming production that did us all the disservice of compelling us to alter our ignorant preconceptions. If Abie is not a lost classic, it at least delivered a well-acted evening of humor and sentiment. Thanks to all involved for filling in a missing link in theater lore.

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