Birthday Candles (Broadway)
Ends May 29 1h 30m
Birthday Candles (Broadway)
77

Birthday Candles (Broadway) NYC Reviews and Tickets

77%
(278 Reviews)
Positive
82%
Mixed
12%
Negative
6%
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

Debra Messing stars in this heartfelt piece about the changes in one woman's life over a century.

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Member Reviews (278)

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815 Reviews | 889 Followers
83
Relevant, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Delightful

See it if Delightful. Great concept with superb direction/writing. Kudos to Messing. Moving, tender and fast.

Don't see it if no reason. It's a show for all.

791 Reviews | 1003 Followers
85
Relatable, Sweet, Moving, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Has a little of everything, humor mixed with emotional scenes. Relatable story that moves along at a great pace.

Don't see it if It's a pretty appetizing play. Should appeal to most people unless you are a curmudgeon.

659 Reviews | 147 Followers
72
Overrated, Confusing, Indulgent, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if you're a fan of Messing, enjoy character studies & family tales, like plots that move forward through time

Don't see it if you find sudden time shifts confusing, don't like actors playing multiple roles, find the use of birthday metaphor a bit hokey

578 Reviews | 119 Followers
84
Great acting, Funny, Moving, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if Going thru years of birthdays and seeing heartbreak, love and family.

Don't see it if You want action dancing or sing.

469 Reviews | 713 Followers
77
Ambitious, Sweet, Epic, Resonant, Clever

See it if you’re interested in finding beauty in the mundane. This play spans a woman’s life. Despite the 90-minute runtime it’s well paced.

Don't see it if you’re looking for something big and flashy. This show is about an ordinary woman living her life.

474 Reviews | 101 Followers
85
Safe, Adorable, Cute

See it if you want to see a cute and adorable heartwarming show that you can simply sit back relax and enjoy

Don't see it if You are looking for something that is going to challenge you and make you think Read more

396 Reviews | 202 Followers
85
Emotional, Ambitious, Romantic, Slow, Great acting

See it if Messing plays a woman from 17 to 107. She leads an excellent cast through an emotional journey. The actors were excellent and moving.

Don't see it if The play requires engagement and attention to understand what is going on. While there are light-hearted parts, it is overall a bit sad.

384 Reviews | 132 Followers
72
Unrebellious, Mild, Soothing pap, Romantic, Great acting

See it if want your heartstrings tugged but not too hard. Life’s worth living after parenthood. Good Mother’s Day gift if your mom liked The Notebook.

Don't see it if not into traditional roles bathed in beatific glow. Creeper rewarded. Essential self = gift from husband. Author likes to repeat fave lines. Read more

Critic Reviews (21)

The New York Times
April 10th, 2022

"Noah Haidle’s “Birthday Candles,” which opened on Broadway Sunday night at the American Airlines Theater, tries to build poignancy and depth through moments that repeat like a record needle stuck in a groove. Instead, this Roundabout Theater Company production gets caught in a superficial cycle of wannabe profundities and emotional pantomimes."
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Time Out New York
April 10th, 2022

"But Birthday Candles, directed by Vivienne Benesch, is little more than a compendium of twee pseudo wisdoms: Everything is made of stardust, forgiveness is the heart of most major religions, goldfish only have a three-second memory span, and so forth. There’s a slice of life somewhere in this oversugared and underbaked confection, but even that slice is stale."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
April 10th, 2022

"For all its references to philosophy, though, Birthday Candles doesn’t achieve that existential calm, nor does it contain those other plays’ sense of a network of human connection. Instead it keeps its attention firmly on Ernestine. This focus allows the Roundabout Theater to mount the show as a star vehicle for Messing — but it also constrains and dulls the experience."
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Entertainment Weekly
April 11th, 2022

"So much of the play is filled with exposition that the emotional impact of the story's more dramatic moments are lost, the piece instead coming off as cloying as a Hallmark Christmas movie despite director Vivienne Benesch's best efforts."
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Variety
April 10th, 2022

"This play feels like an offering, a true gift, a lesson on survival and a bold reminder to live each day with zest and adventure. Certainly, the icing on the cake is that we survived all the challenges of 2020 (and beyond) to enjoy this scrumptious production."
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Deadline
April 10th, 2022

"Despite whatever missteps, though, Messing and the rest of the cast nicely convey the spectrum of emotions that a life’s sweep encompasses, from happy times to sad (at the reviewed performance, audience sobs and sniffles were as audible as the laughter). Not even a tacked-on final birthday scene that strains credulity can sour the simple, icing-sweet pleasures of Birthday Candles."
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Chicago Tribune
April 10th, 2022

"But those really are minor quibbles in a truly must-see show that is fully successful when it comes to everything that really matters. Messing didn’t pick some revival or obvious showcase for her comedic chops: she strives mightily and beautifully to find her way through a wise and sad drama, just like the character she plays."
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New York Post
April 10th, 2022

"Nonetheless, Haidle’s plays (his better “Smokefall” did not receive the production it deserved when it played New York back in 2016) have a way of convincing every audience member they’ve been written just for them. “Birthday Candles,” at its best, bubbles up our own cherished and difficult memories of the people in our lives who’ve come and gone."
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