Drury Lane continues its inaugural season at Water Tower Place with a nod toward its demographic. A sort of Jazz Age “Golden Girls,” “Morning’s at Seven” traces the tangled relations of four sisters and their families who have lived in dangerously close proximity for fifty years. Bleak as things might look at points, this is the kind of play that is never more than fifteen minutes away from affirming the blessings of family and connection with a wry joke and a hug. Drury Lane’s assembled a sharp ensemble for “Morning’s at Seven.” Though Katherine Helmond (of “Soap” and “Who’s the Boss” fame) headlines, the most memorable of the sisters is Roslyn Alexander’s tart Esther, surveying the goings-on about her with a steely authority. The sisters have picked up a curious array of husbands along the way; James Harms displays an understated comic charm as the nebbishy Carl, always on the verge of a “spell” over his failure to become a dentist. Director Jessica Thebus exploits Jack Magaw’s elaborate and handsome stage design to its fullest, creating a set of striking tableaus that extend into the shadowy indoor areas. The production signals Drury Lane’s welcome ability to mount well-made plays in the heart of downtown. Now if they could only get the audience to pipe down. (John Beer)
“Morning’s at Seven” plays at Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place, 175 East Chestnut, (312)642-2000, through August 28.