‘Proof’ becomes a Shubert success

Last week, New Haven was the venue for the performance of “Proof” — the 2001 recipient of the Tony Award for best play.

Written by David Auburn and directed by Daniel Sullivan, “Proof” is the story of a renowned mathematician, his madness, his family and his legacy. As part of the Broadway Series, a program that brings Broadway shows to New Haven, “Proof” came to the Shubert Theater last week and met with favorable responses.

The national touring production had a one-week engagement at the Shubert from Jan. 22 to Jan. 27. “Proof” stars Robert Foxworth and Chelsea Altman. The play debuted in the spring of 1999 and continues to play at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York.

Shubert Marketing Director Anthony Lupinacci said he was very pleased with the way the show sold.

“I think people liked to see a current Broadway show,” he said.

The Broadway Series is a longstanding tradition at the Shubert that brings nationally touring plays to New Haven. Depending on what plays are available, the theater may get older shows or very new ones, like “Proof.”

“We were delighted to get ‘Proof’ so early in its tour and to be the only ones in Connecticut presenting it,” Lupinacci said. “It is very current, and that is a big plus for our patrons.”

“Proof” is the third play in the Broadway Series, which will continue in March with “The Music Man” and will culminate in May with “South Pacific.”

“Proof” is the story of Catherine, played by Altman, who is the daughter of a famous mathematician, played by Foxworth. During the play, Catherine deals with her father’s mental illness and death, her estranged sister, and the affections of her father’s former student, as well as her own fears of inheriting her father’s condition.

The Ezra Stiles and Morse College masters’ offices both organized trips to see “Proof” last week. Peter Fenzel ’03 went with the Stiles group and expressed a positive opinion of the show.

“It was well-written and well-acted,” Fenzel said. “There’s something about it that’s hard to describe — it’s not peculiarly avant-garde but it’s not rehashed.”

He added that the performance is set on the back porch of a Chicago-area home and focuses on the drama surrounding four characters: Catherine, her father, her sister and her suitor.

“The set design was realistic, and the directing was solid,” he said. “I liked the way the characters moved within the setting and I thought the acting was precise and specific.”

Fenzel attributed the play’s success to strong writing and subtle performances.

“It thrived on moderation,” he said.

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