Having loved Santino Fontana’s vibrant, star-making performance in the sadly shuttered BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS last fall, I was both anticipating seeing him in A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, and happy that he’d managed to get such a new plummy new job. Sadly, due to a concussion he sustained during a performance over New Year’s weekend, he had to leave the show, and was replaced by his understudy, Morgan Spector, who, at the performance I saw January 26, while adequate (though hobbled by a lousy blonde wig), wasn’t half the actor Fontana is.
While some sources claim that Fontana’s injuries were not a result of a fight scene between him and cast member Liev Schreiber, a mouthy little birdie told me that Schreiber – perhaps intimadated by how good Fontana was – had terrified the actor throughout rehearsals, saying he was “going for reality” in his physically abusive scenes. Additionally, Schreiber supposedly had taken complete control over the production, overriding vet director Gregory Mosher, and giving notes to other cast members, including Scarlett Johansen. If this is all true, maybe Schreiber should be redoing his Shakespearean role of Iago, rather than Arthur Miller.