Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune NYC Reviews and Tickets

(428 Reviews)
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Funny, Romantic

About the Show

Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and Tony and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon bring new life to the bruised dreamers of Terrence McNally's timely and timeless romance.

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Member Reviews (428)

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963 Reviews | 338 Followers
Banal, Repetitive, Great acting, Unconvincing, Dated

See it if you are fans of AM/MS. Both give strg perfs. Highly realistic prodn, includes cooking, eating, brushing teeth, all-nude sex (tastefully lit)

Don't see it if you want a "woke" script. Even in 1987, J's char was creepy. He wants Fr and relentlessly pursues her. He's controlling/weird. Plot holes!

942 Reviews | 225 Followers
Clever, Raunchy, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if If you liked the movie and sensational acting. Shannon is a bit creepy in his role but good staging, and direction here. Very good.

Don't see it if If nudity bothers you and intense scenes about two wounded people. If you want a lighter play. If you want a more fun play to watch.

764 Reviews | 212 Followers
Refreshing, Absorbing, Funny, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you relate to the 80's scene of her middle age people dating, starting relationships, struggling in jobs in a very well-written & acted play

Don't see it if you do not like viewing the tension between two people on a first night of sex with nudity and frank talk.

677 Reviews | 186 Followers
Disappointing, Dull, Great acting, Dated

See it if u want to hear the well-written dialogue of McNally delivered by the always-compelling McDonald & Shannon as broken mid-age potential lovers

Don't see it if you want to see a socially conscious play that befits the current #metoo climate; you are uncomfortable with nudity & simulated sex. Read more

677 Reviews | 150 Followers
Static, Unbelievable, Slow, Disappointing, Great acting

See it if You’re a fan of McDonald and/or Shannon, interested in an early McNally play, like romance between an ill-matched pair & Debussy of course

Don't see it if You expect a definitive version of the play, can’t see McDonald and Shannon as working class schlubs, uncomfortable with simulated nude sex

597 Reviews | 121 Followers
Great writing, Romantic, Great acting, Entertaining, Funny

See it if Great Acting, they work at the same place, go on a date and spend the night together and emotions and life comes with it.

Don't see it if Nudity and No Singing. Not flash or fast moving. Read more

628 Reviews | 93 Followers
Absorbing, Romantic, Great acting

See it if you like a drama with great character studies. Wonderful performance by both actors. There is nudity but tastefully done.

Don't see it if you don't like nudity in plays or like more action in the plot. Read more

594 Reviews | 223 Followers
Dated, Romantic, Great writing, Great acting, Funny

See it if You’d love to see these two actors at the top of their form, in a modern classic that is both heartfelt and touching.

Don't see it if You worry that dated plays with pushy male romantic leads don’t stand up in the current era, even if you’re a romantic at heart.

Critic Reviews (44)

The New York Times
May 30th, 2019

"Time has been good to 'Frankie and Johnny.' Its sentimentality hasn’t curdled the way it has in some of Mr. McNally’s many other plays...The obvious overstretching of the plot to fill two acts doesn’t matter as the play’s bigger mysteries click into place. What begins as a basic inquiry into the nature of love — is it blind or, as Johnny says, 'the exact opposite'? — slowly transforms into something deeper and eerier."
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Time Out New York
May 30th, 2019

"When Johnny refuses to leave Frankie’s apartment, the creepiness factor is hard to avoid, especially since Shannon has used his lanky frame and craggy face to convey menace so successfully in the past. But for more than two hours, these highly gifted actors—directed by Arin Arbus, and beautifully lit by Natasha Katz—keep a sensitive focus on the gawky humanity of their characters, holding steady through the ups and downs of McNally’s emotional ride. They connect, and they draw us in."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
May 30th, 2019

"While McDonald and Shannon are both fun to watch, their turbulent chemistry alone doesn’t sustain McNally’s somewhat overstretched play...There’s also, for all the play’s wisecracking, just something not quite enjoyable in the way 'Frankie & Johnny' romanticizes a man pushing and pushing until he wears down a woman’s resistance...There’s a sweet, off-kilter, earthy chemistry between the down-to-earth McDonald and the hepped-up Shannon."
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The Hollywood Reporter
May 30th, 2019

"It could be argued that the casting is not ideal...And yet, the brilliant actors make it work. McDonald superbly conveys her character's cynicism through world-weary body language and vocal inflections. And Shannon unveils his formidable, and too rarely seen, comic talents to hilarious effect; his Johnny is the funniest I've ever seen. If the resulting laughfest slightly dilutes the play's poignancy, McNally's writing is strong enough to provide the requisite emotion."
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Entertainment Weekly
May 30th, 2019

"Both spark off McNally’s crackling dialogue like they’re living the words off the page, breathing new air into his room-bound pas de deux. Ultimately, though, even their supreme handling of the material can’t quite justify shooting for this moon — already explored twice on a New York stage, and also onscreen — one more time."
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May 30th, 2019

"A sentimental reading would mean death for this surprisingly delicate two-hander...But helmer Arin Arbus and her high-toned cast of two – Michael Shannon, who can do anything, and Audra McDonald, who can do anything while looking gorgeous – bring this historical artifact to warm-blooded life...There’s always the danger that the story might seem shallow because nothing more than a love story is at stake. Nothing more, perhaps, than a love story, but my, how those lovers can love."
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The Wall Street Journal
May 30th, 2019

"The trouble is that Ms. McDonald is being called upon to play a working-class waitress who, according to the script, is a woman of 'striking but not conventional good looks' with a 'fairly tough exterior.' Ms. McDonald, by contrast, is an exceptionally beautiful woman...McDonald’s arresting physicality—every move she makes seizes the eye—goes a long way toward making up for her lack of Frankie’s natural earthiness, and it helps that Michael Shannon is more believably cast."
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The Observer
May 30th, 2019

"McNally navigates the sexual politics of his losers-in-love hit with exquisite verve and sensitivity. Thirty-two years later, the play may show wrinkles in surface detail (what’s a VCR?) but its emotional terrain is fresh and exciting—and evergreen...I’m glad that this is my first exposure to a beautifully wrought piece of romantic naturalism, from a playwright who caresses and kisses each scar and mole on his protagonists’ well-traveled bodies."
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