Family values: where would the theater be without them? Show Boat (Gershwin Theatre) and A Cheever Evening (Playwrights Horizons) are both about families, both nuclear and in the more proliferated sense. Both sprawl across the generations, Show Boat from the 1880s to the 1920s, Cheever from the Forties to the Seventies. Both contain miscegenation, in Show Boat between a white man and a Negress, in Cheever between a WASP man and a Jewess. Show Boat follows the drift from rural roots toward the cities; Cheever makes the journey in reverse, from Manhattan to the ’burbs to East Coast summer colonies. Show Boat, as the years unfold and the fragrant ballads yield to raucous rags and jazz, embraces the hurly-burly of America in its period of most rapid expansion; Cheever’s world is defensive, its elegant decline symbolized by the final image—a resort...

 
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