Theater Review: "Seminar" On Broadway
"Seminar" follows four aspiring New York writers and their time with a storied professor, who will be leading them in—you guessed it—a private seminar. Kate (Zoe Lister-Jones, "Whitney") is a feminist whose writing is quickly dismissed by the professor, Leonard (Jeff Goldblum, "Independence Day"). Douglas (Jerry O'Connell, "Jerry Maguire") is a basically competent writer who drops his famous uncle's name like a scorched potato (that is, as often as possible). Izzy (Hetienne Park) isn't afraid of using her sexuality to get wherever she needs to in life, while Martin (Justin Long, "He's Just Not That Into You") is reluctant to share his writing with their aggravating mentor. Personalities clash, and the writers' personal lives start to become more dramatic than the fiction they are writing.
As with Ms. Rebeck's other works this year, "Poor Behavior" and "Smash," the play has great dialogue, but there's a sense of hollowness to the whole thing. One yearns for something more, something besides the obviously imminent, to be simmering below the surface. Likewise, Goldblum's characterization of Leonard seems to be just that—a characterization, not a humanization. Leonard comes off more as a collection of mannerisms than a fully fleshed-out human. While he may have been written to be mysterious and aggravating, there's little sense of continuity to him.
The technical elements of the show were all very nice, with especially good attention to detail shown in the scenic design, by David Zinn, which really brought the world of the play to life believably. The music and sound design, by John Gromada, also added to the show.
For the most part, "Seminar" is an enjoyable experience at the time. Afterwards, though, while it's nice to bask in the good performances, it's hard not to wish for something more out of the show. Yes, it's fun to watch, but the deeper meaning behind it all is elusive.