A comedy about politics and the power of female persuasion, Born Yesterday tells the timeless and timely story of a not-so-honest businessman and a not-so-dumb blonde out to “capitalize” on everything Washington has to offer.
Born Yesterday is the Garson Kanin play that in this iteration stars Jim Belushi, Robert Sean Leonard and Nina Arianda who is making her Broadway debut. It’s set in 1946 and the stage opens with one of the best art deco scenes you’ve ever seen. This is the story is of a junkman thug who comes to Washington to buy some influence from a senator to influence legislation– with the help of his well-educated lawyer, and he’s brought along for entertainment his bimbo girlfriend who is Billie and then he decides that she really won’t fit in and he’s been interviewed by a reporter who has been told he could kind of grease the skids to the world of influence in Washington, so he comes up with a brilliant idea of hiring the reporter to kind of smooth the edges on Billie, and as we can guess, they fall at least in lust, if not in love. But this is really Billie’s show: Judy Holliday had the original part in this one. The play rises or falls on whether you believe and like her. Arianda is just plain terrific. She plays dumb with a heart with a great deal of charm, it’s not easy to grow in the part without getting either cynical or — she just does a great job. You love her and believe in her the whole time. It rises and falls on her. So four stars.