The literary comedy Travesties (at the American Airlines Theatre through June 17) gives us Tom Stoppard in clover: frolicsome, intellectually gluttonous, a bit undisciplined, but showering delights in every direction. Stoppard has written many fine plays—Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967), Jumpers (1972), The Real Thing (1982), Arcadia (1993)—and a first-rate production of any of them is not to be missed. Others who have been called the best playwright of this generation, such as Harold Pinter and Edward Albee, can’t match Stoppard’s breadth or depth, but it’s more important to note that they can’t match his spirit, his verve, his firehouse gush of themes. The essence of Stoppard is surface frivolity that decorates and...


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