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New York | 1h 20m | Already closed


From 53 critic and 600 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Intense, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Edgy

About the show

Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams star in 'Blackbird,' the story of an uneasy reunion between a woman and a middle-aged man 15 years after they had a sexual relationship when she was 12. More…

Una and Ray meet for the first time in 15 years. They are clearly not comfortable in other's company, and we soon find out why: When Una was 12, Ray seduced her. Now she has found him by accident, and they must delve into their complex feelings for each other. Winner of the 2007 Olivier Award for Best Play.

1h 20m | Already closed | Belasco Theatre (Midtown W)

AM New York

"It is a lean and muscular piece of drama, where two emotionally damaged characters with a terrible past are brought together for an uncomfortable reunion that is sure to end in further disaster and trauma. Mantello once again shows how he can draw out fully-developed performances from great actors that are both believable and richly detailed. The interplay between Daniels and Williams could not be rawer or more dramatically charged." Full Review

Front Row Center

"One of the most potent and fierce dramas of the season…This two-person drama wallops Broadway with brute force…No moment is wasted in getting to know these characters from start to finish…These actors never run into scene trouble in this tour de force of a play. They let the masterful language by playwright David Harrower take them where the play says they must go…I was glued by moment one...Run to see this play that is enormously brave and masterfully produced." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"So complicates the questions of consent and trauma and recovery—and even love—that it would be difficult to look at any of these subjects the same way again...It’s hard to think of another director besides Mantello who could so confidently package so much unprettied trauma within the big-box conventions of Broadway. He makes the experience of empathy both horrific and exhilarating...The theater at its best as in 'Blackbird' is one place where it is not only necessary but awesome to be awful." Full Review

New York Post

"What [Williams] pulls off in David Harrower’s 2005 drama is shattering...Their encounter takes unexpected turns and the language is disturbingly frank. By play’s end, 80 minutes later, both actors look drained. You’ll be shocked, yet strangely elated — the sign of powerful theater." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"There are no weapons on display here – no knives, no guns, no stage blood – but this is the most lacerating play on Broadway this season. It leaves marks – on the audience, who may find some moments almost unbearably painful to watch, and on the actors too, who appeared drained and devastated at the curtain call. Despite the evocations of the title, in this 'Blackbird,' no one gets to be free." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"High-octane, provocative, brutally-lacerating drama is back on Broadway with David Harrower's 'Blackbird.' Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams give frenzied, uncompromising performances as a pair of irremediably-ruined souls frozen by a bubbling mix of guilt, retribution, revenge and what seem to be dangerous crosscurrents of desire... It is a dynamite play in a dynamite production with dynamite performances." Full Review


"Their rapture is murderous. They want to annihilate each other. This is the electrifying production that this season’s revival of Sam Shepard’s 'Fool For Love' aspired to be, also about a couple reuniting as they inch toward a death’s grip of horrifying power and sadness. Daniels and Williams are so devastatingly into David Harrower’s stem-winding tale of an illicit conjugation, that by the time the lights came up I felt as spent as the actors themselves appeared to be." Full Review

The Associated Press

"Harrowing — and absolutely brilliant — revival of 'Blackbird'...David Harrower's play is so intimate and emotional and charged that it makes 'Eclipsed' seem like a comedy. It's also impossible to stop watching because both characters are fully realized and equally sympathetic...While the play's topic might initially put some off, this cast makes the spare and human dialogue soar. These are two actors at the top of their game, holding back nothing." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Harrower and director Joe Mantello have crafted a gripping, tense drama unfolding in real time that doesn’t indulge any wasted moments. They let the actors and the dialogue do all the heavy lifting and they do so without judgment, leaving the audience to decide if they are sickened, moved, saddened or all of the above...'Blackbird' is a gripping portrait of a taboo love story done with unflinching honesty that is brutal and unforgettable." Full Review

Los Angeles Times

"Daniels has graduated to brilliant in the Broadway premiere at the Belasco. Here he shares the stage with the intensely captivating Michelle Williams, in a production by Mantello that perfectly calibrates the volatile sexual chemistry of the leads...They fight to a draw, leaving us even more disturbed by a play that unsettles us not by telling us what to think but by provoking within us feelings that are impossible to reconcile." Full Review


"It seems inappropriate, and perhaps disrespectful, to praise the play and director Joe Mantello's production with the usually enthusiastic accolades a reviewer would bestow upon such an expertly achieved eighty minutes of theatre...In varying degrees, Williams and Daniels, both excellent, effectively confront the audience to feel sympathy for their characters as it becomes increasingly clear what their emotions are for each other." Full Review

Time Out New York

"'Blackbird' is a comfortless 80-minute reckoning of arrested time and soiled innocence...Plot and morals are beside the point; the slow drip of memory like acid on the present is what Harrower is after...Joe Mantello reimagines his exactingly sharp 2007 staging...Time has been shattered for these walking ghosts, and we are transfixed watching them cut their hands, sifting through the shards." Full Review


"'Blackbird' is a difficult play to watch, one that provokes both tears and audible gasps as secrets are revealed and shocks dispatched. As much as Harrower lets us see the complexities of Ray and Una, it's Daniels and Williams who let us into the raw, emotional nakedness of their characters...By the time the play ends, Daniels and Williams look as though they've been run over by a bulldozer. As the audience files out, we realize we feel the same. This is one unforgettable night at the theater." Full Review


"Harrowing drama...Whatever doubts I had about Jeff Daniels’ return to a character he played Off-Broadway, this riveting, visceral, uncompromising revival makes misgivings irrelevant. Again directed by the peerless Joe Mantello and now co-starring the extraordinary Michelle Williams, the drama feels more psychologically profound than what had earlier seemed an admirably austere but stagy 80-minute answer to the voyeuristic question raised by such wildly unseemly couplings." Full Review


"Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams leave it all on the floor in this wrenching two-hander…Director Joe Mantello and Jeff Daniels first tackled this play nine years ago, and they are back again alongside Michelle Williams, who matches their intensity with a performance that leaves you worried for her mental health...'Blackbird' is not exactly the kind of play you 'enjoy,' but with this production, it is theatre at its purest, as classic in its own way as those famous Greek tragedies." Full Review

Out Magazine

"Joe Mantello has delivered a top-notch revival...Williams effectively comes off haunted and shattered, going to dark places in a sensational performance, especially in her climactic monologue, and Daniels is expectedly good as the offender who never expected this situation to come back in his face, let alone with this agenda. Throughout, I didn’t hear one cell phone ring—or even a cough—a testament to 'Blackbird’s' power." Full Review

Reviewing The Drama

"'Blackbird' is intense. David Harrower's two-hander packs a lot of history and angst into the knock-down, drag-out war that makes up the 90-minute play...It's not fun. It absolutely will make you uncomfortable—how could it not? (Director Joe Mantello is sensitive and careful not to sensationalize the action.) Yet it's unfortunately relevant today...It's sad. It's infuriating. It will leave you shaken." Full Review

Peconic Public Broadcasting

"A very excellent drama about one of today’s social themes that is only getting more press than maybe we’d like. This 80 minute, intermissionless play by David Harrower is brilliantly performed by Williams and Daniels and certainly will be in the running when the award season starts up...Serious theatergoers: Don’t miss this superb play and two over-the-top performances." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Nine years on from its New York premiere, Harrower's script has lost none of its provocative power, its ability to leave deep and lasting wounds...Nearly a decade older, Daniels is even more at home inside Ray's dispirited, shriveled soul than before...Williams is a nervy technician who builds her performance on a series of effects that a lesser actress might not be able to pull off...'Blackbird' seems to me a modern expression of tragedy." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"'Blackbird,' directed with intense force by Joe Mantello, grabs hold of us and does not give us a chance to get out of this without some squirming in our seats...We would like to see the simplicity here, so we can be more comfortable, but thankfully, Harrower has no intention for comfort...This is not a play to go into lightly, but I applaud the bravery of all involved. It is upsetting, disturbing, and doesn’t allow us to make easy judgments." Full Review


"There's nothing been there/done that about this revival...Michelle Williams is a worthy partner for Daniels. Her Una is a more immediately aggressive, still wounded victim of her preteen sexualization than I recall Pill to have been. This has also made Daniels make Ray come across a harder, tougher and yet more nervous opponent in this cat-and-mouse game...Even if you knew what that twisty ending was all about, you'd still leave pondering the whys and wherefores of Una and Ray's relationship." Full Review

USA Today

"Refreshing and instructive. It's also, mind you, as stinging and squirm-inducing as any presidential debate, while offering more intelligence, sophistication and compassion...Williams brings more of that slow-burning, nervous intensity to Una...Daniels' performance, which was superb nine years ago, is better here — at once more vital and more aching in its weariness, and still beautifully shaded...The play, which ends with a piercing twist, also seems to resonate with more force." Full Review


"Director Joe Mantello keeps the show uncomfortable. The power dynamic between Una and Ray constantly shifts, as they stalk through the small conference room like caged animals, their claws bared. These are two people who can only be understood by each other — their relationship is complex and sometimes horrifying. But Williams and Daniels help us believe that these two distressed individuals are real and that we should care about both of them." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Harrower's writing has its studied aspects, from the clipped, nervously evasive dialogue of the early exchanges to the tidy juxtaposition of the monologues that strip both characters bare. But Mantello and his remarkable actors give this slow-burning, real-time drama fluidity and searing emotional heat. Chipping away at our preconceptions while forcing Ray and Una into inescapable corners of darkest self-knowledge, the play packs a visceral punch." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

"This drama—which I regard as one of the best pieces of writing of the last decade—offers the uncompromising actress Williams the rare opportunity to contort body and soul into a character...Not a moment feels inauthentic or not rooted in something deeply true...What's missing in [Daniels'] work is, in fact, the requisite superficial attractiveness of his guy...These two performances don't always fully jell as a single entity." Full Review

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

See it if You love Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels

Don't see it if You have been sexually abused, i think it might be painful to watch

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Resonant, Great staging

See it if Are very in to just pure acting and comfortable with watching a show centered around the subject of adultery.

Don't see it if If you are not comfortable with the subject topic.

Intense, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Must see, Resonant

See it if you want to see exquisite acting and intense storyline.

Don't see it if you are conservative and want something light.

Also Wondering acting and story-telling! Very intense show (in a good way).

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Masterful, Must see

See it if Fans of great drama, dark themes, excellent acting and complex characters.

Don't see it if You're sensitive to the show's dark subject matter.

Also This is one of the best shows I've seen on Broadway. Totally riveting ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Resonant, Great writing

See it if You wanna see a great performance

Don't see it if You don't like drama

Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound, Resonant, Great writing

See it if you are intrigued by morally questioning plots and like law-and-order kind of shows

Don't see it if the fact that the show is based on a relationship that occurred between a teenager and older man makes you uncomfortable

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Great staging

See it if U like serious drama. Want to have something to think about and discuss after the show

Don't see it if You only like fluff and musicals

Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You want to see a master class in acting

Don't see it if You are troubled by story about a pedophile

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if if you enjoy a great story wondeful ,preformance and great acting

Don't see it if If you just wnt to have fun and not see anything serous that will make you think

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Masterful, Must see

See it if You want a master class in acting! The actors are fully committed, intense, truthful, a absolutely living moment to moment on the stage!

Don't see it if You don't like high drama, 2 person play, discussion of underage sex

Absorbing, Edgy, Disturbing

See it if Top notch performance by Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams. The most disturbing subject matter, it makes you squirm in your seat.

Don't see it if if you are easily offended.

Clever, Edgy, Masterful, Must see, Riveting

See it if Must see for adults only

Don't see it if Not for any one under 17yrs

Absorbing, Dizzying, Edgy, Great acting, Great staging

See it if If you want to be emotionally challenged and want to see some of the best acting on Broadway

Don't see it if You don't want to leave the theater feeling angry and disturbed.

Absorbing, Great acting, Must see, Resonant, Riveting

See it if You like great acting.

Don't see it if You're looking for just a fun night out.

Original, Absorbing, Edgy, Intense, Masterful

See it if You like intense, pure theater

Don't see it if You are looking for family-friendly fare

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Intense, Great staging

See it if if you love great acting. It is the best acting I have seen on an American stage.

Don't see it if if you like to be entertained and charmed. This play is as black as it can possibly you can imagine.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Must see, Great staging

See it if have an open mind about issues that is happening in the world.

Don't see it if your head is deep in the sand.

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Profound, Riveting

See it if You enjoy amazing acting& powerful stories

Don't see it if You want a comedy

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

See it if Probing, intelligent approach to difficult topic interests you

Don't see it if You are looking for mindless entertainment

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You like serious drama

Don't see it if if you are easily offended, since it deals with serious subject matter, child abuse

Absorbing, Edgy, Epic, Great acting, Masterful

See it if you want to be amazed, shocked, etc.

Don't see it if Can't think of a reason not to see it

Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You're looking for something new, dark and edgy. I left the theatre shaken, emotional and raw. Profound work. Complex emotions.

Don't see it if Dark subject matter. The play is heavy but I was captivated the entire time. Not appropriate for kids. Not light or fluffy.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You are looking for an intense and thought-provoking play handled by two of the finest actors of stage and screen alike.

Don't see it if You have an issue with the themes of sexual assault and rape. NOT FOR CHILDREN!!!

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you like a good drama

Don't see it if you prefer musicals

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you want to see an emotional, intense play

Don't see it if you would be disturbed by the story line

Cast & Creatives (8)