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William H. Macy Replaces Jeremy Piven in "Speed-the-Plow"
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William H. Macy Replaces Jeremy Piven in "Speed-the-Plow"

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Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Jam Theatricals,
JK Productions, Ronald Frankel, Ostar Productions,
Peggy Hill, et al.


By David Mamet
(David Mamet Bio)

Directed by Neil Pepe

At the
Ethel Barrymore Theatre
243 West 47th Street

William H. Macy, Raúl Esparza, Elisabeth Moss

Scenic Design: Scott Pask
Costume Design: Laura Bauer
Lighting Design: Brian MacDevitt
Casting: Telsey + Company
Production Stage Manager: Matthew Silver
Technical Supervision: Larry Morley
Fight Director: J. David Brimmer
Company Manager: Bruce Klinger
Assoc. Producers: Rebecca Gold/Debbie Bisno
General Management: Richards/Climan, Inc.
Press Representative: Jeffrey Richards Associates/Irene Gandy

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 11, 2009

(See December 9, 2008 Review, Original Cast)

In December, at the end of my Speed-the-Plow review, with Jeremy Piven in the role of Bobby Gould, I wrote, “See it once to listen to the rhythmically devilish dialogue, and then see it again to watch the shifts in the theatrically internalized and connected relationships.” How prescient. I’ve just seen it the second time, and the relationships have truly changed, as there’s a new Bobby Gould – William H. Macy. This cast change was a Broadway saga, as Jeremy Piven left the show suddenly for “mercury poisoning from too much sushi”. There were actually four Bobby Gould’s: Jeremy Piven, then his understudy, Jordan Lage, then Norbert Leo Butz, and finally William H. Macy, because of whom the rhythmic dialogue and character connections have significantly shifted.

Mr. Macy, as Bobby Gould, is a mature actor with a weathered face. He’s fascinating and contained, predator and prey, as he jokes and spars with Raúl Esparza, as Charlie Fox, plotting their expected windfall, thanks to a newly acquired raw film script. Macy also seduces and succumbs to Elisabeth Moss, as Karen, who shifts the chosen script, from smut to surreal. What was new tonight was a tightness of timing, as the office repartee oozed congeniality. It was obvious that Mr. Esparza was more enthused and energized with Mr. Macy. Together, they were electric, exciting, engaging. A percussionist could have beaten the rhythm, as David Mamet’s script bounced with each phrase, each epithet, each edgy exclamation. When Mr. Macy connected with Ms. Moss in the Act II living room scene, he morphed from predator to prey before our eyes with transparent expression and posture. The chemistry of this trio, with Mr. Macy in the mix, was dramatically remarkable, seamlessly gripping, and consistently believable.

Mr. Macy has brought class and depth to this incredible production. He ultimately enhanced an already memorable and meaningful night at the theatre. Kudos to David Mamet, and kudos to this cast.

Raúl Esparza and William H. Macy
in David Mamet's "Speed the Plow"
Courtesy of Robert J. Saferstein

William H. Macy and Elisabeth Moss
in David Mamet's "Speed the Plow"
Courtesy of Robert J. Saferstein

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at