Hillary and Clinton
Closed 1h 30m
Hillary and Clinton
80

Hillary and Clinton NYC Reviews and Tickets

80%
(487 Reviews)
Positive
87%
Mixed
11%
Negative
2%
Members say
Great acting, Clever, Intelligent, Relevant, Entertaining

About the Show

Lucas Hnath's ("A Doll's House, Part 2") new work examines the politics of marriage, gender roles, and the limitations of experience and inevitability. Starring two-time Tony winners Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow.

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Member Reviews (487)

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70
Dated, Disappointing, Talky, Strong acting, Intelligent

See it if you want a sophisticated--but slight--evening. Poor H battles misogyny on all fronts (political/personal). She's feisty and smart, but loses

Don't see it if you want drama/comedy...there's little of either. Some interesting ideas and fine acting. Sometimes dull/repetitive. Belongs in small space. Read more

63
Indulgent, Overrated, Slow, Banal

See it if Two really good stage actors make this somewhat bearable. If you want a political show that deals with the Clintons.

Don't see it if You want a story thats not tired or uninteresting. The show tries to be everything, but it has no dept too it.

Critic Reviews (51)

The New York Times
April 18th, 2019

"It is our very good fortune that Hillary is portrayed by Laurie Metcalf, an actress who does being thwarted better than anyone...Mr. Hnath’s play doesn’t presume to be an authoritative view of the woman behind the mask, or even of the mask itself. Instead — and this is what makes this play something more than a receptacle for recycled observations about its famous subjects — 'Hillary and Clinton' strips its protagonist down to her most ordinary self."
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Time Out New York
April 18th, 2019

"Directed firmly and dryly by Joe Mantello, 'Hillary and Clinton' is cogent, snappy and perceptive about political and emotional realities. Much of the ground it covers might seem old to those who follow the news, but the play has now, as it could not have had in 2016, a looming sense of tragedy. Its final line, a shiv to the gut, sends you out hurting into the universe, outside the theater, where we somehow find ourselves now."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
April 18th, 2019

"A not particularly meaty exploration of the emotional life and logic behind a couple of particularly public figures...As the big names of the play’s title, Metcalf and John Lithgow are the very watchable wind beneath its wings — but those wings are pretty rickety...'Hillary and Clinton' isn’t really much of a comedy. It’s not much of a drama either. It’s four good actors giving bodies to a series of ideas that are, even if valid, pretty well chewed-over."
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The Hollywood Reporter
April 18th, 2019

"There's no shortage of scintillating elements in 'Hillary and Clinton'...Despite all those considerable pluses, however, Hnath's play is so slight that once its densely packed, yet nonetheless skeletal, 80 minutes are over you barely give it another thought...Sure, it's entertaining; Hnath is too smart a writer, and Metcalf and Lithgow too gifted as actors, not to keep us engaged. But not only does 'Hillary and Clinton' lack illuminating fresh perspective, it lacks drama."
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Entertainment Weekly
April 18th, 2019

"Laurie Metcalf, in yet another must-see performance...Lithgow and Metcalf, both Emmy-winning veterans of network sitcoms, know every comedic beat to hit. But it is Metcalf, who seems to have become the exceptional director Joe Mantello’s muse of late who elevates this production with devastating take-downs of her husband."
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Variety
April 18th, 2019

"If anyone could play Hillary Clinton, it’s Laurie Metcalf – and here she is giving a performance that feels painfully honest and true...The only thing wrong in this fictionalized visit to the 2008 primary is that playwright Hnath has brought nothing of substance to the table...Besides pulling off terrific political pep talks, Hnath also gets the intimate cadences of a close couple’s domestic rhythms, and lets Metcalf and Lithgow have their fun. But what about us? Where’s our fun?"
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The Wall Street Journal
April 18th, 2019

"No matter how you feel about the Clintons you’ll likely find it a once-over-lightly disappointment...As promising as this sounds on paper, it doesn’t work in the theater, in part because John Lithgow is playing Bill Clinton...Ms. Metcalf’s performance, by contrast, is nothing like an imitation, but it’s still believable in its own chilly, hard-surfaced way. What is at no time believable is the dialogue."
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The Observer
April 19th, 2019

“Metcalf is nothing less than mesmerizing...Lithgow’s Clinton is equally inscrutable, but the play...belongs to her, and she devours it like a room service sirloin...The story plays hopscotch with salient facts, but a (sometimes dubious) portrait of the Clintons does emerge without condescension and it’s worthy of perusal...The play is falsely advertised as a comedy, but except for a few jokes, it is rarely humorous...But I recommend ‘Hillary and Clinton’ anyway.”
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Deadline
April 18th, 2019

"Lucas Hnath’s 'Hillary and Clinton' boasts the gladdening sight of Laurie Metcalf, her every bit the equal John Lithgow and director Joe Mantello’s unfailing grace, but for all of that, no small part of the satisfaction this play delivers is recognition of an entirely different sort...The play isn’t without flaws – story-wise, it can feel a bit on the thin side...The cast, needless to say, couldn’t be better."
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The Washington Post
April 18th, 2019

"In the characterizations by John Lithgow as Bill and Laurie Metcalf as Hillary, under the direction of Joe Mantello, you’re treated to an engrossing psychological tennis match...With splendid assistance from two other actors — Zak Orth as Hillary pollster Mark Penn and Peter Francis James, materializing for a meetup as then-presidential candidate Barack Obama — the play sketches an emotional/professional mind-meld that might keep a panel of shrinks busy."
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Chicago Tribune
April 18th, 2019

"Most dramas of presidential politics are portentous epics. By those standards, 'Hillary and Clinton' is like an absurdist soupçon, an extended 'SNL' sketch, a whimsical look at one of the most crucial moments in the political life of Hillary Rodham Clinton..Just because Hnath’s genre is different doesn’t mean his work is less substantial...I’ve liked this play since I first saw its premiere in Chicago — and, in Metcalf and Lithgow, it now has two in-sync old pros."
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New York Post
April 19th, 2019

“Not even two of the brightest stage stars — Metcalf and Lithgow — can make ‘Hillary and Clinton’ more than a wispy exercise. The barbed comedy...doesn’t lack for laughs. But as it rehashes old wounds, it offers no fresh insights into either political or personal realms...Blending fantasy and facts easily culled from Googling, Hnath’s play toys with reality as it tries our patience...Metcalf and Lithgow, top flight even when things go lowbrow, are consistently entertaining."
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AM New York
April 18th, 2019

"For the most part, the 90-minute play is a tense and accusatory debate between a strained Hillary (depicted as stressed and lonely) and an out of step Bill about personality and perception...Hnath’s concept of asking the audience to explore the characters from a distant vantage point is intriguing, but the play does not live up to the deep and objective examination it seems to promise. It has a downbeat and depressing aura and very little occurs."
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NY1
April 18th, 2019

"Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow are, as expected, outstanding...As directed by Joe Mantello, the dynamic between the two is engrossing on that bare stage. But what emerges is not so much a dramatic play as a psychological study of two brilliant and flawed people...Hnath is best known for his Tony nominated 'A Doll's House, Part 2,' which also starred Laurie Metcalf. That was a much better play than 'Hillary and Clinton' which at 90 minutes still feels too long."
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Theatermania
April 18th, 2019

"Hnath gives himself a lot of rope, and then instead of using it, makes a concerted effort to avoid hanging himself by employing some surprisingly conservative (pun intended) conjectures...Metcalf and Lithgow are entertaining sparring partners...A little theatrical venting isn't totally uncalled for — if only Hnath's play were more than just astute and elegantly written voyeurism."
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Lighting & Sound America
May 7th, 2019

"Lithgow and Metcalf are a superbly fraught and mutually frustrated pair...Mantello orchestrates their warfare with skill, especially when the conversation turns to the exchange of no-holds-barred truths. Mantello has allowed Orth, as Mark, to indulge in a certain amount of fussing and twitching...James is first-rate as a smiling, canny, and withholding Obama...Whatever the occasional flaws of this production, ‘Hillary and Clinton,' retains a strange currency.”
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Talkin' Broadway
April 18th, 2019

"Regardless of your interest, lack of interest, or even antipathy with respect to the real-life Hillary and Bill Clinton, this production is pretty much a must-see, thanks to a near perfect confluence of writing, acting, and directing of the highest order...Much of the play focuses on the Clintons' personal relationship, in which everything we all imagine they might have to say to each other comes out in the open through Mr. Hnath's razor-sharp writing."
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New York Stage Review
April 18th, 2019

"A remarkable performance by Laurie Metcalf and quite a sympathetic one by John Lithgow, two superb actors playing at the top of their exceptional games in the title roles, make this offbeat comedy a must-see for savvy viewers who cannot be bothered with the usual tourist crap on Broadway...This relatively light, often amusing, and yet challenging play is smoothly staged by director Joe Mantello."
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New York Stage Review
April 18th, 2019

"An intriguing, fulfilling sketch of a fantasy...It is perhaps not the world’s most original observation. But portrayed within the bounds of this relationship, by these fine actors on this crucible of a set and under Joe Mantello’s expertly controlled direction, it is deeply provocative...It’s a slim, impressionistic portrait. But it’s just enough. With this production, these actors, this marriage, a little bit is a lot."
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Theater News Online
April 18th, 2019

"Metcalf may not be acting a caricature, but her default shtick fits the character like a well-tailored pantsuit...This fast-moving digest of political maneuvers from three presidential cycles ago is not exactly dull. The writing is tight and colloquial...In the end, 'Hillary and Clinton' is the wistful, Thornton Wilder-tinged mediation on HRC that no one asked for. There are rants, jokes and confessions, but it doesn’t add up to much more than clever, lightly postmodern fanfic."
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Broadway News
April 18th, 2019

"A smart but slight — and slightly disquieting — play...Both are actors whose presence onstage makes for an occasion, and both give impeccable if somewhat detached performances...But Hnath, one of the most talented and adventurous theater writers to emerge in the last decade finds few fresh insights about either the (semi-fictional!) Clintons’ complicated marriage and careers."
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TheaterScene.net
April 23rd, 2019

"Unfortunately Hnath, who gave Metcalf a Tony Award winning role in his 'A Doll House, Part II' in 2017, hasn't given them much to work with. True, his play inspired by real people is entirely supposition with enough true facts to make us curious. But at 80 minutes playing time, 'Hillary and Clinton' seems padded, and set in 2008 there isn't a lot to wait for as we all know how it turned out."
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Theater Pizzazz
April 24th, 2019

"Billed as ‘primarily a comedy’ it’s also a tragic political and personal history that is both about Hillary and not about Hillary...Metcalf and Lithgow are magical together and their scenes are essentially an acting clinic...The play is loaded with quiet commentary, some of it in Hnath’s delightfully subtle and often wildly funny dialog, some of it in director Joe Mantello’s comic staging and a ton in Rita Ryack’s snarky costuming."
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CurtainUp
April 22nd, 2019

"This play has become more than a clever mini-portrait of a famous political marriage. That's not because of any major script tweaks for this production, but because the ripple effect of the Clintons' personal and political failures somehow imbues what we see with the elements of a universal tragedy...While these fine actors are what makes the less than perfect 'Hillary and Clinton' worth seeing, the play has other assets. It's expertly directed by Joe Mantello."
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Front Mezz Junkies
May 8th, 2019

"It’s a complicated head game, beautifully set up by the captivating oration of its star, Metcalf...leading us effortlessly into one of the infinite alternate universes where two iconic players do their dance of complicated attachment..These two is what keeps us tuned in. And it is what drives the piece forward with energy and spite. Their chemistry, both Hillary and Clinton, and their embodiments, Metcalf and Lithgow, spark the fire and flame that can make your eyes water.”
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Exeunt Magazine
April 24th, 2019

“The ways in which interpersonal boundaries in any intense relationship are tested...only to be torn apart again – these vicissitudes have a universal resonance, and it’s fascinating to observe this particular Hillary strive to hold her own against a man unshakably confident of his...likability...Within Hnath’s clever alternative universe, at least, this Earth’s halting trajectory toward emotional and political gender parity is effected by means of a great many guilty but highly enjoyable laughs.”
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Broadway Blog
April 24th, 2019

"There’s so much baggage that you can’t help feel weighted down by reality versus the alternative universe Hnath's created...Mantello keeps the action moving at a brisk pace, but the real the winner here is Metcalf, who deftly navigates Broadway Hillary with precise timing, judicious physicality, intellectual prowess, and feeling. Had the real-life candidate been able to concoct such a magic recipe, this play would have never been written.”
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C
April 18th, 2019

"Metcalf, in gloriously full throttle, expertly captures the spirit of a woman forced to play a game where the rules are made by men, but who firmly believes she is smart and savvy enough to be the winner. She's also steadfast that she won't change her personal style in order to place likability and vulnerability over intelligence. Indeed, she will not become a carbon copy of her husband, whose cult of personality she rather viciously deems his strongest asset."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
April 30th, 2019

"'Hillary and Clinton' sometimes seems more like a domestic comedy in the 'Adam's Rib' or 'State of the Union' vein than a surgical examination of historical machinations. You won't learn anything new but you'll appreciate viewing it as it happens…Hnath's snappy, frequently profane, dialogue reveals both the affection and tension between the Clintons (including the strong possibility of divorce)…Metcalf and Lithgow give Hillary and Bill just the right amount of vivacity and bite you'd hope for."
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DC Theatre Scene
April 18th, 2019

"'Hillary and Clinton' is exactly the play we do not need right now, a well-acted but irrelevant middlebrow entertainment...The main problem with 'Hillary and Clinton' is its timing...Performances weren’t enough for me...Rather than widening our perspective, 'Hillary and Clinton' winds up shrinking the world in which we are living."
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The Guardian (UK)
April 18th, 2019

“'Hillary and Clinton' reminds us...why Metcalf is so exciting, with her great intelligence and great versatility and her surplus of fierce, nervous energy that barely seems contained...At the core of the play are Bill’s scenes with Hillary and it’s here perhaps that Hnath’s imagination fails. There’s something worn-out and maybe even a little distasteful in viewing Hillary through the prism of her husband, seeing a savvy politician...as, first and foremost, his wife and his victim.”
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The Clyde Fitch Report
April 20th, 2019

“This is the portrait of any troubled marriage. It is also very much a portrait of a marriage of two experienced politicians who are a Hillary and Bill Clinton, but also an extremely specific portrait of the Hillary and Bill Clinton...Hnath’s play, in this respect, can be little more than guesswork...Metcalf and Lithgow get in their kicks as Mantello hands them free rein to flaunt their inestimable wares...Hnath has cannonaded a gratifying 90-minute, intermissionless play.”
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Gotham Playgoer
April 18th, 2019

"I guess celebrities lose the right to protect their privacy, but I couldn’t see any value in Hnath presenting a fantasy version of events. The actors make no effort to imitate their real-life models, which is probably a plus. Director Joe Mantello keeps things moving briskly...As one would expect, both Ms. Metcalf and Mr. Lithgow are a pleasure to watch. Nevertheless, there seemed to be little point to the enterprise."
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The Wrap
April 18th, 2019

"A clear-eyed, incisive look at one of the most fascinating marriages ever...Metcalf is alternately steely, frantic, no-nonsense, desperate and steadfast — and she makes every one of those transitions while looking simultaneously backward and forward. She’s cautious. She’s deliberate. She’s beyond smart...Joe Mantello directs...He’s the minimalist director who fills the stage with the playwrights’ words and actors’ performances. That’s an especially spectacular achievement here."
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T
April 27th, 2019

"Metcalf and Lithgow make Hnath’s intriguing behind-the-scenes political premise into a gripping portrait of a complex marriage...In a snappy, idea-packed 90 minutes, Hnath not only addresses a plethora of contemporary concerns about our body politic but also...creates an incisive dissection of a famous couple’s push-pull connection... Joe Mantello delivers his usual economical, unfussy staging with several inspired moments."
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New York Theatre Guide
April 18th, 2019

"This is a bold theatrical speculation and uncovering...The performers don't actively imitate the real Clintons...So we're not invited to look at them through familiar eyes, but as theatrical characters who happen to be them...This gives the play a playful metatheatrical framing...But the play soon breaks free of those gestures to become a fiercely contested insider speculation about a modern marriage...The play is by turns provocative and poignant, smart and funny."
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Stage Left
May 2nd, 2019

“’Hillary and Clinton’ is a depressing form of inept and backhanded fan fiction, the very existence of which is irredeemably sexist. Putting the marriage and choices of one of the most accomplished and celebrated women in American history on stage for yet more public scrutiny is an indignity no male politician would ever face. Great performances aside, this inaccurate and intrusive play’s existence on Broadway feels irresponsible as a matter of civic integrity.”
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The Stage (UK)
April 18th, 2019

"The drama scarcely does more than scratch curiosity over the private lives of public figures, and assuage those whose obvious sympathies may have led them through...By stripping the story of its social context — in sharpened hindsight, it’s about nascent gender, race, and class wars — Hnath has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. While Metcalf and Lithgow succeed in making political royalty feel believably flesh-and-blood, the play suffers from a lack of substance."
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Daily Beast
April 18th, 2019

"As zippy as 'A Doll’s House, Part 2,' but whereas that felt new, fresh, and subversive, 'Hillary and Clinton' feels like very old and well-trodden ground, a mash-up of every single argument you’ve ever heard (with very little new insight) in favor and against Hillary...Metcalf’s Hillary is a candidate of many weathers, which Metcalf skillfully commandeers: variously intelligent, morose, angry, despairing, determined...But the play also feels as airless as the hotel room we are in."
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DC Metro Theater Arts
April 18th, 2019

"The provocative production features a top-notch Tony Award-winning team that should surely garner more accolades here. Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow star in the titular roles, and, under Joe Mantello’s razor-sharp direction, deliver the biting humor, explosive issues, conflicted emotions, and unwelcome consequences of faulty decision-making in imagined conversations and confrontations that wink at absurdism but ring all-too true."
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TheaterScene.com
April 24th, 2019

“The subject should be meaty; but playwright Lucas Hnath, has failed to provide any drama. 'Hillary and Clinton,' given the stakes, is curiously dull. It is a peek at marital discord — and the sad reality of capable women eclipsed by popular men and saddled with their sins... It’s not for lack of star power — Metcalf and Lithgow, both versatile actors, are always interesting to watch...What they lack is a stronger script."
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Financial Times (UK)
April 19th, 2019

“It’s a familiar take on the Clintons that acquires a defamiliarising aspect in Metcalf and Lithgow’s performances...The principals play versions of themselves that nonetheless echo the real-life couple...Hnath’s inventions here...is taking place in a parallel universe, where the foibles of presidents and potential presidents seem tolerable rather than appalling..It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Hnath has missed the real story here."
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NewNowNext.com
April 23rd, 2019

“A satirical but pathos-laced take on the former president and ex-first lady reuniting as Hill tries to garner the Democratic nomination in 2008...’H & C’'s lead characters go at it, screaming harsh truths and half-truths at each other for almost the whole play...There are some laugh-out-loud moments, as deftly played by...Metcalf and Lithgow. The absurdist comedy bits work better than the screaming rages, which become wearying.”
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Newsday
April 18th, 2019

"In a tight 80 minutes, Hnath offers a somewhat redundant dissection of a marriage that’s already been questioned by the world. While making no effort to emulate Hillary in looks or voice, Metcalf gives the finely nuanced, thoughtful performance we've come to expect...In the end, it feels too soon to be rehashing this divisive piece of political history."
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T
April 19th, 2019

“A fictionalized character study of this famous woman and what makes her tick...A thrilling dive into the head of this woman...Hnath has mined comedic gold from this material...It is believably detailed...This ninety minute play is so effective because we all have our long-held opinions about these people...The writing of this piece is so good that there is not one lull in the action...Highly recommended."
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W
April 22nd, 2019

"Those in the audience who paid attention to the news that year will already know what's about to happen on stage the moment they step in the theater...Despite all the talent on stage and behind the scenes — the estimable Joe Mantello directs — there's very little insight or even entertainment here. Even though Lithgow and Metcalf develop 'Bill' and 'Hillary' as fresh characters instead of tired impressions, we're not left with a deeper understanding of either of them."
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StageZine
April 18th, 2019

"Titillating premise for sure, but the results come up short...What is so frustrating is that in the 80 minutes in 'A Doll’s House, Part 2,' so much happened, while in the same amount of time here, not much happens...Metcalf’s riveting performance is what sustains one’s interest...Lithgow as Bill also shines, but here he is more of a lead weight than the charismatic charmer...Joe Mantello as usual extracts every nuance from an otherwise lackluster show to keep it compelling."
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Medium
May 2nd, 2019

"Had a lot to live up to. Sadly, it doesn’t quite deliver...Metcalf and Lithgow give good performances...However, neither feels like they are bringing anything to these roles that they haven’t done before...A lack of freshness is the main issue...in the acting, the design, and most disappointingly, in the text...The play has no surprises, no new insight...A bit bland...It comes off as a much less good version of ‘Veep’.”
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M
April 18th, 2019

“The voyeuristic look into the couple's marital & political tribulations is riveting...In Hnath's skillful hands, Hillary is seen as a relatable & complex individual with an omnipotent drive to be elected and a wife with ambivalent feelings for Bill...The acting is first rate and the sorry, not sorry repertoire is smart & humorous...What matters most in this amusing and exceptionally well acted play are the reverse images of the Hill & Bill we think we know.”
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W
June 18th, 2019

"Laurie Metcalf portrays Hillary and John Lithgow, Bill Clinton. As the script advises, they never try to copy or imitate the actual mannerisms or mimic their well known personas. Instead, their natural demeanor serves to provide a cleaner and truer insight into their lives and their souls. We don't need Rich Little verisimilitude, that would only intrude in finding the truth. And these two performances are breathtaking in their tone, simplicity and depth."
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A
April 19th, 2019

“Hnath’s play could ultimately use less contemplation and more combat. More a ruminative fugue on familiar themes than a meaty drama or fully satisfying comedy, ‘Hillary and Clinton’ is more appetizer than meal. The play’s studious avoidance of direct imitation of either of the Clintons would seem to promise other compensations—but they remain largely elusive. With actors this strong, under the sharp direction of Mantello, this seems like a wasted opportunity.”
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