The 5th of July
Posted on July 5, 2011 at 9:06 am
This filmed version of Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July is a brilliantly acted story of the complicated relationships of a group of friends and relatives who get together over the 4th of July holiday. It centers around the relationship of Kenneth Talley, Jr. (Richard Thomas), a disabled Vietnam vet in a wheelchair and his partner Jed (Jeff Daniels), his sister June (Joyce Reehling) and recently widowed aunt Sally (Helen Stenborg), and his old friends, a wealthy couple named John and Gwen (Swoosie Kurtz in her Tony award-winning role). It is a searing but ultimately hopeful and healing story of very real characters and also a thoughtful commentary on the Vietnam era. This is one of three plays the gifted Wilson wrote about the Talley family, and it is a part of the superb series of Broadway Theater Archive productions that brought the best of live theater to Showtime audiences in the early 80’s.