NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sporting a thick Brooklyn accent, actress Scarlett Johansson won accolades in reviews posted on Monday for her Broadway debut in playwright Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge.”
Starring in a revival of Miller’s mid-1950s play alongside actor Liev Schreiber, the New York-born actress who already is a marquee name in movies has dazzled Broadway critics after the play opened on Sunday.
Johansson, 25, made “an enchanting Broadway debut” in the role of Catherine, the 17-year-old niece of an Italian-American longshoreman, wrote USA Today, in “what could be this season’s most inspired piece of movie-star casting.”
“Johansson’s performance is a revelation,” the review concluded.
After Sunday’s opening night performance Johansson told Reuters television on the red carpet that it was “a new thing” to appear on stage and have people “bear witness to what essentially feels like you’re baring your soul. It’s a little bit of a scary thing.”
Showbiz newspaper Variety called Johansson’s performance “remarkably assured” in toeing the line between her character’s girlish sensuality and emerging independence with “touching dignity.”
Johansson performed the role with “seeming effortlessness,” said The New York Times, and compared favorably to stage performances by other film stars in recent years including Julia Roberts and Katie Holmes, who made her debut in another of Miller’s plays, “All My Sons.”
“By comparison, Ms. Johansson melts into her character so thoroughly that her nimbus of celebrity disappears,” said the Times.
The New York Post, noting the role was a smart choice for her big stage debut, said it was “just wonderful to watch Johansson challenge both herself and our expectations of her.”
Only a few reviewers said there was room for improvement, with The Hollywood Reporter saying she could do more with voice projection and stage presence, common problems for film actors crossing onto the stage.
Johansson debuted on the big screen as a child actress in the 1994 film “North” and later appeared in “The Horse Whisperer.” She won acclaim for more recent film roles in “Lost in Translation,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “The Other Boleyn Girl.”
Johansson also has performed as a vocalist on music albums, including last year’s “Break Up” with U.S. singer-songwriter Pete Yorn.
Additional reporting by Sharon Reich, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Vicki Allen