Already closed | 1h 30m | Midtown W

American Son (Broadway)

From 385 member  reviews
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.


Marking the Broadway debut of playwright Christopher Demos-Brown and directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon ("A Raisin in the Sun," "Fences"), "American Son" offers a look at who we are as a nation, and how we deal with family relationships, love, loss, and identity. 

1h 30m | Already closed | Booth Theatre (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (385)


Great acting, Relevant, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense

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

Hoping for more

See it if You want to see an unbiased take on how police officers handle situations involving people of color

Don't see it if you are looking for a lot of action. The entire play takes place in the waiting room of a police station

Also The first 15 minutes of this really scared me. The main character who ... Read more Read less

Cliched, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Intense

See it if A play dealing with topical racial and law enforcement issues. Kerry Washington gives a raw,gut wrenching performance.

Don't see it if This type of play is not of interest to you. The plot is contrived and the ending is predictable.

Cliched, Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you can overlook overwrought acting and a simplistic script to connect with a tragic and timely story that is all too relevant today.

Don't see it if you want your characters more nuanced and approachable. Everything is on such a level of intensity that it loses empathy and internalization

Cliched, Intense, Thought-provoking, Heavy-handed, Slow

See it if you’re a Shondaland diehard who just has to say you saw Washington live onstage.

Don't see it if you get antsy easily. This is a 90 min play that feels like 3 hours.

Ambitious, Manipulative, Intense, Relevant, Depressing

See it if you like realism; plays about racial violence/police brutality that are also family dramas; and abrupt endings that don't sugarcoat

Don't see it if you question the dramatic value of plays that are one long, realistic scene; you don't like being emotionally manipulated by "shock" endings

Also There are several places where the play feels a little plot-device-y, ... Read more Read less

Intense, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Dramatic

See it if you want to see an intense drama about a highly relevant topic in our country. you want to see material that is thought provoking

Don't see it if characters are pretty one-note, and the writing is kind of predictable. the story itself is interesting, but the storytelling could use more

Cliched, Banal, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Missed opportunity

See it if Ripped from the headlines drama about the confluence of race, class & policing interests you. The mundane becomes tragic with one slip.

Don't see it if Predictable results & volatile reactions occur because the script says so. The acting feels creaky. The play creates heat, but no light.

Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You feel you need a primer 101 course in race relations

Don't see it if You expect anything new or different


See it if You are interested in a play about a couple dealing with racially charged incidents with their teenage son.

Don't see it if You want a play were dialogue and plot reveals are realistic. Everything feels false and pushing towards an "Ohhhh" ending.

Cliched, Indulgent, Slow, Resonant, Intense

See it if you want to see a play that believes it's making a grand statement when in fact, it's mostly on the nose dialogue.

Don't see it if you want to see a fresh or new take on the subject matter.

Slow, Thought-provoking, Cliched

See it if you love Kerry Washington.

Don't see it if you're looking for meaningful commentary on a real issue in this world. This show is trying to make an important point, but doesn't suceed.

Predictable, Forced, Intelligent, Great staging

See it if You need to hear one more time that black youth are at risk in this country.

Don't see it if You know this and don't want to sit with an audience who is still surprised by this sort of thing.

Also There comes a point in this play where anybody with half a brain has t... Read more Read less

Relevant, Disappointing, Intense

See it if Kerry Washington is on your list. [I saw a preview when she repeatedly went up on her lines, so don't take it from me.]

Don't see it if a predictable rehash of the headlines isn't for you. And you can't let your heart be broken again over these black lives not mattering.

Thought-provoking, Intense, Absorbing

See it if You appreciate racially charged characters, dichotomies between social and/or racial classes, or want to start a discussion about the show

Don't see it if You don’t like a show that’s intense, depressing, or that involves a lot of racial tension

Insipid, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Intense, Edgy

See it if Shows you how the time have change to a degree with how cops treat people

Don't see it if if you can't deal with how the cops treated anyone they thought was a bad person

Cliched, Fluffy, Slow, Overrated, Disappointing

See it if Totally unaware of the ways police unfairly treat black men.

Don't see it if Can't stand over acting. Uncomplicated introductory to police brutality toward black men.

Cliched, Relevant, Intense, Banal, Great acting

See it if great acting, interested in social justice/current events

Don't see it if cliched approach to topic, plain set

During previews
Banal, Slow, Great acting

See it if A show about race and race issues. Good acting.

Don't see it if If your sick of the cop and black issues in America. If you want a faster paced lighter show. A well directed play.

During previews
Doesn't quite work. too preachy and hitting every cliche about race you could think off.

See it if You appreciate the actors who are all good.

Don't see it if You want a well told story.

During previews
Poor acting, Heavy-handed, Didactic, Important

See it if you’re in the mood for a thought-provoking, well-paced play with actors you like.

Don't see it if despite everything, I think everyone should see this.

Also this play has issues, but that doesn’t make its subject matter any les... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Moving, Clunky, Great acting, Poor writing

See it if To catch a show with its heart in the right place about the fear black parents have for their children and the realities of race in America

Don't see it if You want to see a satisfyingly complete drama. It’s predictable and slow, and it’s characters make points more efficiently than tell stories

Also Washington is wonderful. The whole cast scores. But ultimately, the ma... Read more Read less

During previews
Slow, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if you have been living under a rock and will be SURPRISED that the police treat black and white people differently. No new ground here.

Don't see it if you prefer to learn something new. Save your money and see something Off or Off-Off Broadway or go see The Hate U Give (movie).

During previews
#americansnooze, Excruciating

See it if As much as I wanted to like it, I just could not find a reason. American Son was just a American snooze for me.

Don't see it if You have something else to do like ironing or cleaning your stove as these might better serve a purpose with upcoming holidays.

During previews
Cliched, Relevant, Slow

See it if You enjoy Kerry Washington, who carries the entire show.

Don't see it if You want to be surprised.

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 slic...
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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 ...
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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 rem...
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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 les...
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