Theater: Stiff Drink

The Iceman Cometh gets a powerful revival

Great plays are not always easy to sit through. Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh runs nearly 4 1/2 hours, has a garrulous first act that could try the patience of saints, and hammers home its point about "pipe dreams"--the illusions that prevent people from facing the bleak realities of their lives--so many times that you might want to take a lead pipe to the author. Yet at least once a generation, theatergoers deserve a chance to immerse themselves in this oceanic masterpiece. This time it's an inspired dip.

We're back in Harry Hope's bar, an end-of-the-line booze joint, where a dozen...

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