What does the color red mean to you? If you go to see John Logan’s Tony Award-winning play at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park — wrapping up its run this weekend — I’m willing to bet you’ll never think of “red” in simple terms again. The play focuses on abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko, commissioned in the late 1950s to create gigantic murals for the Four Seasons Restaurant in the then-new Seagram’s Building in New York City. Always an iconoclast, Rothko took on the job with an eye toward spitting in the eye of fat cats, creating art that would give them indigestion.
But the play posits that a thoughtful assistant leads him down some paths of doubt about intentions and outcomes. It’s a fascinating dialogue about the meaning of art, and it’s dynamically portrayed by this Playhouse production. Red is one of the most produced plays at American regional theaters this season, and I suspect the Cincinnati Playhouse’s is one of the best. If you want to be part of the conversation about the meaning of art, this is the show for you.
Go here to read Rick Pender's full review.