American Son (Broadway)
Closed 1h 30m
American Son (Broadway)
85

American Son (Broadway) NYC Reviews and Tickets

85%
(386 Reviews)
Positive
93%
Mixed
6%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Relevant, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense

About the Show

A Florida police station in the middle of the night. Two parents searching for answers. Kerry Washington (“Scandal”) returns to the Broadway stage alongside Steven Pasquale  ("Junk") in this unflinching new drama.


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Member Reviews (386)

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507 Reviews | 1868 Followers
82
Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if The strong script steals the show in this intense drama about race in America.

Don't see it if You don’t like heavy dramas.

691 Reviews | 212 Followers
80
Ambitious, Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Anxious

See it if Covers a lot of ground w/upscale parents trying to raise a black child in racist USA. Conflict of aspirations, fears & values. Good acting

Don't see it if You are expecting a thriller. This was a parental & marital argument. There is a dual mystery of the son’s emerging identity & whereabouts.

687 Reviews | 113 Followers
68
Cliched, Disappointing, Resonant, Relevant, Slow

See it if It's highly topical, well intentioned & certainly heartfelt but it's wildly overwritten & overwrought despite solid performances from cast

Don't see it if Demos-Brown button-pushes his drama to exhaustion leaving little room for complexity or nuance Anger may be justified but its on steroids

567 Reviews | 146 Followers
81
Great acting, Intense, Relevant, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

See it if At the mercy of authority, fraught parents hope to quicken the answers to the questions regarding their son. Universality revealed in title.

Don't see it if Another drama w/ race and identity under the microscope.Washington's jangly performance is the only distinguishing grace of this mild drama.

585 Reviews | 220 Followers
72
Absorbing, Relevant, Cliched, Disappointing, Contrived

See it if You feel that a play about young black men and their interactions with police is incredibly relevant and important for Broadway to address.

Don't see it if You can already write this play in your head. It’s exactly what you think it is, plus with Kerry Washington screaming for 90 minutes.

532 Reviews | 488 Followers
75
Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Well-observed, Hard to watch

See it if you want to see a very topical play that is very well-observed and well-done and well-acted.

Don't see it if you're looking for a fun night out. It's pretty tough stuff.

461 Reviews | 710 Followers
88
Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you prefer dramas that challenge you and hold up a mirror to society. This is an important, powerful play of our #BlackLivesMatter era.

Don't see it if you’re looking for a light, fun night of theatre. This ain’t Wicked. Read more

481 Reviews | 316 Followers
85
Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Intense, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if Topical. Very sad play. Great set, impressive rain storm effect.

Don't see it if Worth seeing although not if you feel like escapist entertainment. Play is serious and will evoke feelings of stress and sadness throughout Read more

Critic Reviews (50)

The New York Times
November 4th, 2018

"This is the director Kenny Leon’s best work to date: incisive and breakneck...These are big but nuanced performances...'American Son' is not a subtle play; it barely feels like a play at all. With its unrelentingly high tension on every level — maternal, marital, societal — it’s more like a slice of a nightmare, with few contours despite its surprises."
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Time Out New York
November 4th, 2018

"The rhetoric is heavy-handed, the grief and fear are unremitting, the brushstrokes are asphalt-thick, and there’s no subtlety...The play doesn’t need to establish suspense because we all know what’s happened...'American Son' is meant to make us sit with this grim certainty, and it strategically deploys the glamour of Kerry Washington to sugar the pill...She takes the rage, sorrow and guilt of our whole city-state and channels them into a single cry."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
November 4th, 2018

"A dreadful play...Stale, expedient storytelling and go-for-the-jugular sentimentality...A contrived, TV-ish script peopled by one-note characters and peppered with amateurish flourishes...Its director, Kenny Leon, can’t push the material past its inherent paperback flatness...There’s nothing remotely theatrical about this play, no reason for it to be a play at all — save that we retain a kind of anxious cultural cachet about drama...This is cheap, manipulative writing."
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New Yorker
November 12th, 2018

"“It’s hard—and, given the volume of choices, maybe ultimately impossible—to isolate the worst aspect of ‘American Son’…There’s the stilted, bulky dialogue, through which the characters deliver loads of exposition...Nobody says anything interesting, or funny, or surprising. The acting is even less flavorful, probably as a result of the deficient script...But what struck me as frankly offensive about 'American Son' was its treatment of the son, Jamal, who never appears onstage.”
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The Hollywood Reporter
November 4th, 2018

"'American Son' vibrates with the urgency of a necessary conversation...Director Kenny Leon is only ever as good as his material, and in this case he's working with a drama more compelling in subject than execution. Christopher Demos-Brown's play undercuts its power with schematic writing a tad too heavy on speeches. Nonetheless, it remains involving and provocative...This is tense theater designed to shake up our complacency and make us think. In that aim, it succeeds."
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Entertainment Weekly
November 4th, 2018

"A thoughtful, tension-filled 90 minutes. It is a play about race, yes, and about the assumptions we make about people. It is also a play about misunderstandings, inadvertent and willful, inconsequential and potentially fatal...Kenny Leon paces this taut production more like a thriller than a polemic...'American Son' is most affecting when it is personal, not political...There is, contained within 'American Son’s' lean script, much to discuss after the curtain falls."
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Variety
November 4th, 2018

"Director Kenny Leon has assembled a solid creative workforce...It’s hard to take your eyes off Washington’s Kendra, whose anguish seems to have taken over her entire body...Playwright Demos-Brown is a clever phrase-maker, and he delights in using language that vividly illustrates the social and educational gulf between Larkin and Kendra...A play that’s probably a bit too small for Broadway and a bit too narrow to throw a long shadow, but still manages to get under your skin."
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The Wall Street Journal
November 8th, 2018

"A couple of stagy but nonetheless head-turning 'surprises' notwithstanding, what happens thereafter is understandably predictable, since the purpose of the play is to dramatize and illuminate a story that has become all too familiar. What we have here, in short, is an earnestly meant, soundly made commercial stage drama of the kind that used to play Broadway regularly, one that is overly inclined to TV-type clichés but proves to be unexpectedly good about not stacking the deck."
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