Review: Maltz’s Glengarry Glen Ross — A Profanely Good Time

George Aaronow (Peter Galman), John Williamson (Cliff Burgess) and Richard “Ricky” Roma (Peter Allas) in a scene from the high-octane drama Glengarry Glen Ross, onstage through February 22 at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. (Photo: Alicia Donelan)

David Mamet’s 1984 Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” is now playing at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre with a strong cast and tight performance under the direction of Carbonell winner, J. Barry Lewis. The play runs through Feb. 22.

Lewis has done a wonderful job bringing life to a 30-year old play that could be awfully dated except that he distills truths of human nature from the stew of time (1984) and place (Chicago) and industry (real estate).

Despite the fact that the sales leads are physical printouts and phones are attached to walls instead of salesmen’s ears, and no one can take an Internet tour of a property for sale, the audience can relate to the gut-wrenching fear the salesmen feel under the gun of a younger manager who follows the book.

Lewis encourages the audience to experience the emotions of each character from the has been former superstar, Levene (Rob Donohoe) down on his luck and trying to bargain his was back up with sales manager Williamson (Cliff Burgess), to the perspectives of the other three sales men, Roma (Peter Allas), Moss (John Leonard Thompson) and Aaronow (Peter W. Galman), to police detective Baylen (Kenneth Kay) and to the mousy Lingk (Dan Leonard) whose wife has sent him to cancel a previously signed contract.

Through these characters, Lewis uncovers fundamentals of human nature in a competitive sales environment where you’re top of the heap one month and under the heap in the next; where people are driven to desperate measures to succeed – sometimes at any cost whatsoever.

Having worked in such an environment in days gone by, this writer can assure readers that dialogue and the emotions are real. All of the cast members were terrific. The scenery, lighting, costumes lived up to the Maltz’s standards.

There was a lot of profanity in the dialogue but the theater had posted signs warning theater goers to be prepared and Producing Artistic Director, Andrew Kato, made a point of iterating this fact during his welcoming remarks when he closed with, “Enjoy the f--king play.”

I did.

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