(Ben Brantley’s article appeared in The New York Times, 7/20; via Pam Green.)

Please, oh please, say that this isn’t goodbye.

Jan Maxwell, who recently told Time Out New York that she was retiring from the stage, is providing audiences with a heartbreaking display of what they’ll be missing when she’s gone. I’d almost call her work in Howard Barker’s “Scenes From an Execution,” which opened on Wednesday night at Atlantic Stage 2 in a first-rate Potomac Theater Project production, the performance of her career.

I say “almost” because Ms. Maxwell, a five-time Tony nominee, tends to inspire breathless and definitive pronouncements in whatever her latest role happens to be. That’s been true whether she was portraying a cartoon villainess in an overblown Broadway children’s frolic (“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”), a jaded New York hostess in a Stephen Sondheim musical (“Follies”) or a highly histrionic actress in a classic satire of life in the theater (“The Royal Family”).


Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.

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