Roberta on the Arts
Manhattan Theatre Club Presents "Linda", by Penelope Skinner, at NY City Center Stage I
Contact Roberta
Jazz and Cabaret Corner
On Location with Roberta
In the Galleries: Artists and Photographers
Backstage with the Playwrights and Filmmakers
Classical and Cultural Connections
New CDs
Arts and Education
Onstage with the Dancers
Offstage with the Dancers
Upcoming Events
Special Events
Culture from Chicago
Our Sponsors

Manhattan Theatre Club Presents "Linda", by Penelope Skinner, at NY City Center Stage I

- Backstage with the Playwrights
Oyster Bar & Cocktail Lounge
818 10th Avenue (54th-55th)
New York, NY 10019
Tues. - Wed., 4PM - 11PM
Thurs., 4PM - Midnight
Fri. & Sat., Noon - Midnight
Sun. & Mon. Closed
Every Day/All Day Happy Hour
$1 Oyster & Daily Specials!

Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Spirits!
Premium Oyster & Clam Bar!
Truffle Fries, Lump Crab Cakes
Charcuterie, Artisan Cheese!
Shrimp Dumplings, Latin Burger!
Ask for Dean or Steve and
for All Day 10% Discount!

Manhattan Theatre Club


By Penelope Skinner
Directed by Lynne Meadow
Manhattan Theatre Club
NY City Center Stage I
West 55th Street, Btw. 6th and 7th Avenues

Artistic Director, Lynne Meadow
Executive Producer, Barry Grove

Janie Dee, Meghann Fahy, Molly Griggs
Jennifer Ikeda, Maurice Jones, Donald Sage Mackay
Molly Ranson, John C. Vennema

Scenic Design: Walt Spangler
Costume Design: Jennifer von Mayrhauser
Lighting Design: Jason Lyons
Original Music and Sound Design: Fitz Patton
Video Designer: Rocco DiSanti
Dialect Coach: Ben Furey
Production Stage Manager: Cole Bonenberger
Casting: Nancy Piccione & Kelly Gillespie
General Manager: Florie Seery
Press: Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Director of Artistic Operations: Amy Gilkes Loe
Director of Marketing: Debra Waxman-Pilla
Director of Development: Lynne Randall
Director of Production: Joshua Helman
Director of Play Development: Elizabeth Rothman
Line Producer: Nicki Hunter
General Manager, Linda: Lindsey Sag

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 10, 2017

Penelope Skinner’s new play, Linda, at Manhattan Theatre Club, NY City Center Stage I, replayed in my mind for hours on end, long after the curtain. The play’s theme of a woman becoming “invisible”, after a certain point in her life, is also what drives expensive, anti-wrinkle moisturizers, plastic surgery addictions, tight-fitting undergarments, and designer chic clothing. One only has to watch prime time newscasts to often see female anchors in long blond hairstyles, skimpy cocktail dresses, sparkling jewelry, false eyelashes, dramatic makeup, and stiletto heels, while men can be balding, overweight, and rumpled. The female gender’s greatest enemy, age. Think of Hollywood’s Golden Age and Sunset Boulevard’s Norma Desmond, as well as all the known actresses, like Garbo, who became recluses, when calls to their agents went silent. And, in Linda’s corporate world, where she creates a public relations campaign for a beauty cream, made for that “invisible” woman, she is steamrollered by a younger, craftier, sexier, rising star, Amy, who loves the view from Linda’s premium office.

We witness Linda’s (Janie Dee) career implode, as does her marriage to Neil (Donald Sage Mackay), a teacher and rock bandleader. Neil chuckles at notes in his inbox, not noticing his step-daughter, Alice (Jennifer Ikeda), who obsessively wears a skunk costume, carry a knife upstairs. Those notes in Neil’s inbox are, as we suspect, early on, from an aggressive young woman, a singer in Neil’s band, Stevie (Meghann Fahy). Also competing for Neil’s resistant attention is Linda and Neil’s high school daughter, Bridget (Molly Ranson), who’s looking for a male role in a high school dramatic assignment, because she says she can’t find any good female roles. King Lear comes to (her) mind. As Walt Spangler’s gorgeous, versatile set turns about, we shift from Linda’s neat home to her sleek office. Luke (Maurice Jones), a co-worker with benefits, bonds with both Linda and Amy (Molly Griggs), driving both women to psychic angst. Dave (John C. Vennema) bonds with the very visible Amy and conversationally recoils from the invisible Linda. The trajectory of Linda’s beauty campaign and premium office are obvious and predictable. It’s all downhill.

If Ms. Skinner, playwright, had been more understated and symbolic, this play would have been far more transporting. Unfortunately, she includes a cringe-worthy scene involving Alice’s post-traumatic stress, due to a long ago shaming incident in high school, which figures in a more interesting office confrontation with Amy. Ms. Skinner also underscores comments and behavior with overreach, such as Alice’s annoying costume (by Jennifer von Mayrhauser), apparently chosen to protect herself from men’s eyes. As Neil, Mr. Mackay is the invisible one, detached, absorbed in thought. I wished Director, Lynne Meadow, Manhattan Theatre Club’s Artistic Director, had made more of his role. Linda’s self-concept was viewed in direct reaction to Neil and Dave’s personas. Dave, as well, was cast as a predatory, arrogant, powerful male. His character could be painted with a finer brush. Luke, however, bloomed in the finale. Jason Lyons’ lighting shifted nicely with the sets. Kudos to Ms. Dee for her dramatically natural performance.

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