25 May 2012 12:00 PM, PDT | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

February House (Playing at the Public Theater through June 10) February House is an ambitious artistic experiment about an ambitious artistic experiment: An attempt by Harpers fiction editor George Davis (Julian Fleisher) to found an art commune in Brooklyn Heights in 1940. Davis’s incandescent brood of tinderbox souls included wunderkind novelist Carson McCullers (the adorable Kristen Sieh), composer Benjamin Britten (Stanley Bahorek) and his lover-muse, the tenor Peter Pears (Ken Barnett), anti-fascist firebrand Erika Mann (Stephanie Hayes), “thinking-man’s stripper” Gypsy Rose Lee (Kacie Sheik), and, as elder statesman (at 33), the revered poet W.H. Auden (Erik Lochtefeld, subtly and sustainedly wrong for a disagreeable and miswritten role).To capture the brilliant din, composer-lyricist Gabriel Kahane, a narrative songwriter of great skill and ample wit, has attempted a simultaneous dialogue with the yearning poetry of Auden, the modern musical decouplings of Britten, McCullers’s Southern longings, and Gypsy’s brass. It’s »


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