Cate Blanchett Opens In “The Present”

Let me tell something about Cate Blanchett, who as far as I’m concerned is the greatest English-speaking actress of her generation: she could have made her Broadway debut in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Instead, she made it last night in “The Present,” her husband Andrew Upton’s adaptation of an early Chekhov play. And why did Miss Blanchett choose the markedly inferior “The Present” to “Streetcar”? Because she is generous: “The Present” not only showcases her husband’s talents but offers an opportunity for Broadway to see the ensemble of the Sydney Theatre Company, which she and Upton co-directed from 2008 to 2013. Even though the second half of “The Present” is messy, the second scene of the first half — a party — is absolutely sensational. Worth the price of admission.

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