Performing Arts: Theater
November 2, 2021
Spareness gives way to a carousel of characters and events that slowly compose a family dynasty on the march to becoming an indispensable American financial institution in Broadway's remarkable drama The Lehman Trilogy. From a cattle farm in Bavaria to the deep South, up to NYC-- the ballooning financial epicenter -- the Lehman brothers invest in nascent American industries.

Originally written by Stefano Massini in the style of an ancient Greek epic poem, Ben Power crystalizes the over 800 page tome into a riveting tour de force.

Three actors of exceptional range, Simon Russel Beale (Henry), Adrian Lester (Emanuel), and Adam Godley (Mayer), assume all the roles in the foundational story of the brothers who will Wall Street's Lehman Brothers into being.

Part of the mid 1800's wave of immigrants from Europe, Henry is the first of his family to assess this new country and establish a modest dry goods store dedicated to the king of crops, cotton. Over the space of one decade, Henry's brother Emanuel and then Mayer, less cerebral but more personable, join the nascent family business that expands with each succeeding year.

A visionary, Herbert's mind quickly maps out how money gives structure to ideas that build the nation's industries and compound the Lehman Brothers' wealth.

From their roots in Alabama, the Lehman brothers are poised to snap up all the financial oxygen around them by--among other things-- wrangling global industrial commerce and establishing municipal bonds to rebuild municipalities. Miraculously, they recognize the potency of monetizing imaginations.

Performed inside a glass cubicle stacked with bankers boxes, nondescript black chairs and desks found in so many financial institutions, the men don black formal suits generation after generation.

Insightfully directed by Sam Mendes, Trilogy is as much a ballet as a theater production because the physical choreography is electrifying. Through their detailed gestures, movements and postures, the actors prove unabashedly convincing as the young and old men and women populating the Lehman dynasty.

Do not allow this bumpy Broadway season to end without seeing The Lehman Trilogy, a truly monumental theatrical experience.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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