Network has 5 Tony Award Nominations including Best Actor for Bryan Cranston and Best Director for Ivo van Hove. The Broadway version of Network is based on a 1976 movie written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet. The movie features Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, and Robert Duvall. The movie won four Academy Awards, in the categories of Best Actor (Finch), Best Actress (Dunaway), Best Supporting Actress (Straight), and Best Original Screenplay (Chayefsky). Network feels very 1970s with its obsession with ratings and “winning” time slots.
Bryan Cranston pretty much carries this Broadway version of Network. Cranston plays a quirky newsreader (think Walter Cronkite on steroids) named Howard Beale who is fired because his newscast has low ratings. Cranston snaps on camera and his mantra, “We’re as mad as hell, and we’re not going to take this anymore,” produces a ratings surge. So Cranston’s character is put back on the air. There’s some internal politics and a love affair between Director of Programming Diana Christensen (played by Tatiana Gabriele Maslany–remember her in Orphan Black?) and the head of the News Divison, Max Schumacher (Tony Goldwyn). There’s a gratuitous sex scene on stage.
My quibble about Network is that this nearly 2-hour media extravaganza has NO INTERMISSION! Quite a challenge for those with weak bladders! GRADE: B