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
Avg Score

Intense, Great acting, Relevant, Absorbing, Cliched

See it if you want intense, ripped-from-headlines drama re young black men in police custody. Superb acting by all and terrific, understated staging.

Don't see it if Similar in style - and some themes - to SWEAT and LOBBY HERO. Not as good as former, better than latter. A bit 'TV movie' in feel/style.

Intense, Balanced, Absorbing, Tackles many issues

See it if you like your plays intense and tension-filled. This show will hold your interest throughout

Don't see it if you don't like theater that tackles issues like race and gender inequality or looking for something light-hearted

Also While this show successfully tackles issues of race and gender inequal... Read more Read less

Relevant, Resonant, Cliched, Profound, Predictable

See it if Whether a show is predictable or not if the conversation is resonant and about race it is still worth seeing.

Don't see it if I think you should see this-- having a dialogue about conflict makes us all think and change, and there is value in that.

Also The acting in this was very good, although a bit one-note., with the e... Read more Read less

Great acting, Must see, Relevant, Epic, Absorbing

See it if You want to see kerry Washington in this powerful play about racism.

Don't see it if you want to see a musical

Relevant, Resonant, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

See it if Having the mothers of Sean Bell and Eric Garner made the whole experience so powerful.Important story that needs to be told outside theater.

Don't see it if Borders on obvious, but such is life. Steven Pasquale has been absent from performances.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Timely and topical, Intense

See it if interested in issues of race, power, police brutality. Definitely a play for current times. Ambitious and mostly succeeds.

Don't see it if Washington's character a bit one-note at times--not sure if due to writing, directing or performance. Somewhat heavy handed.

Also Was looking forward to seeing Pasquale but he has been out. Understudy... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you have an interest in police brutality and/or the current times in which we live.

Don't see it if you either don't want to see something hard or have no empathy.

Also This is the kind of show that made me feel like clapping at the end wa... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if You want a thought provoking play that discusses important issues, has mostly great acting, and takes your breath away at the end.

Don't see it if You want tidy. The ending was extraordinary, but felt contrived and unrealistic. I love Kerry Washington, but her performance was one-note.

Also We discussed the play for hours afterward, and the topics it raised. B... Read more Read less

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

See it if You want to see a play raise thoughtful issues about race and power in our current times.

Don't see it if You don’t like issue plays.

Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Profound, Resonant

See it if Exploration of intersection of race, bigotry and gender as a mixed race teenager is missing while his parents deal with police

Don't see it if Ending is predictable but the writing keeps you off guard and challenges your assumptions all the way through; ensemble is terrific

Ambitious, Timely, Riveting, Edgy, Intense

See it if Cast is uniformly good; set up is designed to provoke discussion and avoid easy rote answers

Don't see it if Set up is purposefully in gray area which made feel more contrived and unsurprising in conclusion

Ambitious, Edgy, Relevant, Overwrought, Intense

See it if you want to see one of the "hot" shows about a "hot" topic. And see big name TV stars. Audience seemed to enjoy it a lot, although I didn't.

Don't see it if you want a script that makes sense. Plot is forced, manipulative and overwrought. No chemistry between leads. We don't get to know son.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Must see

See it if you are looking for an evening where 4 great actors give excellent performances in an important new play

Don't see it if plays with racial themes upset you.

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

See it if you want to see a 90 minute gripping drama done in real time with superb acting about racial issues set in a police station

Don't see it if you lack patience to follow the play through it's journey. It is 90 minutes with no scene changes building to an intense conclusion

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

Great staging, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you’d like to see a play with multiple perspectives on racism or a fan of Washington.

Don't see it if you don’t like stories that provide no new grounds or particular solutions.

Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You want an interesting, thoughtful play with solid performances all around.

Don't see it if You're looking for a particular stand-out performance or perfect writing.

Powerful, Stunning, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant

See it if you enjoy intense theatre reflecting current issues and themes, great performances, a tight script and some brutal moments.

Don't see it if you are "triggered" by racial themes or are not a fan of taut dramatic productions. Nothing soft and fluffy in this one.

Also American Son hits heavily, the topic of racism and bigotry in today's ... Read more Read less

Great acting, Timely, Intelligent

See it if you like well acted shows about difficult topics

Don't see it if you don't like your entertainment light and happy and you don't like shows dealing with important issues affecting today's world

American son = same for every race?

See it if A mother, father and two cops (two are black, two are white)... all referencing the same 18 year old black boy we never see.

Don't see it if some writing/ acting/ directing flaws; focus on the importance of the discussion (and changes) it can lead to...

Also how would you process being the face of a race in mostly white school?... Read more Read less


See it if You would like to see a small character play about modern racial issues.

Don't see it if You want a play that pops. Often the dialogue and performances seem flat.

Also The final moments of the play are manipulative.

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.

Timely, Relevant, Intense

See it if you want an interesting dialogue on race - while sometimes a little over the top, it does provide an interesting insight.

Don't see it if you're looking for a subtle lesson on race. This show doesn't really trod any new ground and is a little too much at times.

Also First, shame on the production for not being more public about the fac... Read more Read less

Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You like exploring contemporary topics in race relations. The acting is uniformly great.

Don't see it if You want a lot of action. This is all talk. There's not much new information here, but a good summary of the topic.

Absorbing, Great acting, Fluffy

See it if you like Kerry Washington and want to see her live. She's a knock-out in this 80 minute play with heavy themes around race and police.

Don't see it if you are looking for something light or funny. It's a very intense 80-minutes.

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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