Bring back the bustier! Fine lingerie takes center stage at Bay Street Theater where women (and a man) strip down to skivvies for the fine production of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel. Kelly McCreary, from Season 10 of television’s “Grey’s Anatomy” stars as Esther Mills, and she is lovely, durable, and stoic, her character evoking a bit of Cynthia Erivo’s Celie—(although Intimate Apparel is not a musical)-- from last year’s production of The Color Purple on Broadway. She simply doesn’t know how beautiful she is.
On a rotating stage a bed serves an array of functions, as Esther’s world revolves: a society wife (Julia Motyka), a prostitute (Shayna Small), a landlady at the boarding house (Portia), a fabric merchant (Blake DeLong), and the Caribbean laborer (Edward O’Blenis) who comes to New York City from afar, the man she marries. The Bay Street artistic director Scott Schwartz directs, keeping this drama set in 1905, in motion.
In Sweat on Broadway, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage tapped into the Zeitgeist, portraying townspeople in Middle America losing jobs, identity, and dignity, confronting one another in the local saloon. Here in this older pre-Pulitzer 2003 play, she creates intimacy on a historic stage telling the story of emblematic individuals who would otherwise be anonymous.