Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-12-11
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



THEATER REVIEW The Inheritance (Part One & Part Two)
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

By: Matthew Lopez

At: Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St., New York. Tickets: 800-447-7400 or; $39-$349 per play. Runs through: March 1

Can gay writers born an ocean and nearly a century apart inspire and learn from each other? U.S. playwright Matthew Lopez passionately thinks so, and his two-part stage drama The Inheritance is an ambitious affirmation.

Lopez's gay opus recently opened on Broadway following its triumphant 2018 world-premiere run in London, scooping up multiple Best Play awards along the way. By taking the 1910 novel "Howards End" by closeted British writer E.M. Forster ( 1879-1970 ) as his inspiration, Lopez crafts The Inheritance into an expansive retelling of recent gay American history.

Lopez even conjures up Forster himself in the play as a storytelling guide named "Morgan" in The Inheritance. Morgan ( Forster's middle name ) provides encouragement to Lopez's modern gay American characters, who each are tested by the ongoing fallout of the deadly AIDS crisis and the shock of the 2016 elections.

The main relationship of The Inheritance is between an online social justice worker named Eric Glass ( Olivier Award-winner Kyle Soller ), and his hot-shot, social-climbing writer boyfriend, Toby Darling ( Andrew Burnap ). With marriage on the horizon, all seems initially well for this happy New York couple in their 30s.

The lacking-in-self-confidence character of Eric sticks closest to the plot mechanics of Howards End. Like the Margaret Schlegel character ( which won Emma Thompson a Best Actress Academy Award for the 1992 Merchant-Ivory film version ), Eric becomes enamored of a contested country house that the audience knows should rightfully belong to him.

Toby is more of a contemporary creature. He's on the cusp of an artistically fulfilling writing career as he adapts his young adult gay novel, "Loved Boy," into a play. But Toby also suppresses a traumatic childhood by telling lies about himself and getting into embarrassing situations.

For instance, Toby shares a story of drinking too much at a modernistic Hamptons home owned by gay Republican billionaire Henry Wilcox ( John Benjamin Hickey ) and his rather saintly longtime companion, Walter Poole ( Paul Hilton, who also doubles as Morgan ).

Later Toby develops an obsession with a handsome young actor named Adam McDowell ( Samuel H. Levine ). Toby's fascination turns dangerous for a near doppelganger of Adam, a male hustler named Leo ( also played by Levine ), who falls under Toby's destructive thrall.

Lopez also touches upon class inequities, political divisions and cultural appropriation to give extra relevancy to The Inheritance. It emerges as a moving and redemptive tale of a chain of gay lovers who connect, separate and questionably recouple.

With so much to explore, Lopez unapologetically takes his sweet time over the course of a six-and-a-half hour running time divided into two plays with two intermissions apiece. The Inheritance has weight dramatically ruminates over gay societal successes and tragedies that affect the larger LGBTQ and allied communities.

For some audiences, The Inheritance will be too sprawling and too male focused. That's despite Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member Lois Smith making an important and devastating arrival in Part Two. But overall The Inheritance hums along thanks to Lopez's multifaceted storytelling that pays homage to Howards End while also veering away from Forster's engaging template.

The Inheritance is also blessed with Tony Award-winning film and stage director Stephen Daldry ( Billy Elliot; An Inspector Calls ) at the helm. Daldry's Olivier Award-winning direction is stark, and always places its emphasis on the amazing acting company.

There is plenty of actor doubling going on, and the cast spins out a masterful array of believable and often very funny characters. Jon Clark's sophisticated and Olivier Award-winning lighting design frames and transforms the action, which ranges from sex and drug-fueled Fire Island parties to a secluded, centuries-old upstate New York home that possesses a tear-jerking secret.

With The Inheritance, Lopez creates an artistic dialogue with Forster that fascinatingly spans decades and compares the hard-won freedoms of today with memories of past repressions.

Lopez also uses The Inheritance to ponder the different kinds of legacies that get lost or passed down among successive generations of gay men. It's a deserving history, and Lopez isn't at all ashamed to give it the epic treatment.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater includes Midwest premieres, Ailey classics 2019-12-12 - ( CHICAGO, IL ) — The Auditorium Theatre announces programming for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's March 4-8, 2020 performances in Chicago, featuring ...

Gay News

Renee Fleming in rehearsal with Lyric Opera for The Light in the Piazza 2019-12-11 - CHICAGO ( December 11, 2019 )—Rehearsals are underway for Scenario Two's presentation of the beloved Tony Award-winning musical The Light in the Piazza ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW A Xmas Cuento Remix­­ 2019-12-11 - By: Maya Malan-Gonzalez At: 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th St., Berwyn Tickets: 708-795-6704 or; $22-$32. Runs through: Dec. 29 You've ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-12-11 - The Tall Boy, Stage 773, through Dec. 15—The celebrated talent behind this touring show ( Tandy Cronyn, Kay Boyle, Simon Bent ) create ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Gay spy movie, Santa Suite and more 2019-12-11 - —London Spy: In this British-American series that originally aired in 2015, devil-may-care Danny ( played by a fantastic Ben Whishaw ) meets the ...

Gay News

'Nat King Cole' holiday show Dec. 16-17 2019-12-10 - Writers Theatre, in partnership with Artists Lounge Live, will present a limited engagement of An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas, starring Evan Tyrone ...

Gay News

10th anniversary of 'The Nutcracker' features gay dads 2019-12-10 - The House Theatre of Chicago will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the annual hit production The Nutcracker—an all-original, ballet-free and family-friendly production playing ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Land of Forgotten Toys 2019-12-10 - Authors: Music by Dylan MarcAurele; book and lyrics by Jaclyn Enchin and Jennifer Enchin, based on a story by Larry Little At: The ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Tall Boy 2019-12-07 - Playwright: Simon Bent At: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: and 773-327-5252; $35-$39. Runs through: Dec. 15 The absence ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Cold Town/Hotline: A Chicago Holiday Story 2019-12-07 - Playwright: Eli Newell At: Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St. Tickets: 773-338-2177, or; $25-$30. Runs through: Dec. 22 Cold Town/Hotline: ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.