August 24, 2015

The money is vividly apparent as soon as the lights go up on “Love & Money,” the slender new play by A. R. Gurney that opened at the Pershing Square Signature Center on Monday. The sumptuous but tasteful set, by Michael Yeargan, depicts the parlor floor of a brownstone on the Upper East Side, stocked with expensive-looking furniture, paintings and books. And one expensive-looking person, Cornelia Cunningham (Maureen Anderman), who owns the townhouse and all those mouthwatering goodies. After you’ve sighed at the glory of it all, or perhaps clucked disapprovingly at the luxurious manner in which the elites live, you may notice that many of the furnishings have colored tags dangling from them. Although she has not been motivated by the clutter-go-away movement, Cornelia is preparing to divest herself of her handsome possessions, and indeed her entire, sizable estate. If you were one of the cluckers, you might be surprised to learn that Cornelia supports your team. When Harvey Abel (Joe Paulik), her new young estate lawyer, arrives to discuss the dispersal of her fortune, she tells him she’s in the process of “making amends.” In her view, she has “committed the major crime of having too much money,” and is firing off checks to worthy charities — Amnesty International, the International Rescue Committee — because her manner of wealth “becomes a crime when millions of people elsewhere in the world have hardly a plug nickel.”