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Indecent

Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Intelligent
87
Critics
84
101 reviews
Members
87
1109 reviews
 

Vineyard Theatre's critically acclaimed production of playwright Paula Vogel and director Rebecca Taichman's play about a controversial Yiddish show transfers to Broadway.

... Read more

'Indecent' is based on the real-life events surrounding the Broadway debut of Sholem Asch's 'The God of Vengeance,' considered to be a seminal work of Jewish culture by some, and a piece of traitorous libel by others. Peppered with popular songs of the era, this play charts the history of that incendiary work, the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it, and the evolving identity of the culturally rich community that inspired its creation.

 

Cast & Creatives (32)



Reviews (1210)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
84
Avg Score

70
The New York Times

"'Indecent' arrives on Broadway as one of the season’s most respectable—and respectful—plays...It is virtuous, sturdily assembled, informative and brimming with good faith...Yet the ardor that must have informed the writing and early performances of 'Vengeance' only occasionally blazes forth in 'Indecent'...For all its resourceful stagecraft, 'Indecent' can be deflatingly earnest in its dialogue and timeline exposition...There is little room for the subversive pull of conflicting subtext." Full Review

85
BroadwayWorld

"There is a great deal of passion—beautiful, thrilling, powerful passion—on display at the Cort Theatre where the gloriously uplifting 'Indecent' has transferred...The connecting tissue of the piece's collage of moments is the 'rain scene' where Asch's lesbian characters first consummate their need for each other...To see that honest expression of mutual love, and to know the emotions it stirred in its time, is a breathtaking moment that connects the audience with theatre history." Full Review

80
Variety

"A riveting backstage drama...Thanks to Taichman’s impressionistic direction and David Dorfman’s stylized choreography, a troupe of long-slumbering Yiddish actors rise from the ashes and stiffly come to life to play their parts in this drama...We already know the outcome of their professional arguments. But such is the tension of the production, you want to stand up and warn this brave little troupe to catch that ship before it sails." Full Review

95
Time Out New York

"I was deeply moved by the play when it was at the Vineyard Theatre last year. On Broadway, with the same wonderful ensemble cast, it fills a much larger space without losing its essential intimacy. The script is Vogel’s, the staging Taichman’s, but the two are so lovingly intertwined as to be almost inseparable...Rich in sympathy and humor...An elegant tribute to things that vanish in the blink of a historical eye, 'Indecent' is a memorial that feels like a blessing." Full Review

95
NY1

"A heartbreaking tribute to Asch's controversial Yiddish drama 'The God of Vengeance.' If you care about Jewish history or the power of art to transcend tragedy, 'Indecent' must be witnessed...Taichman's direction, blending dance, movement and music, is a thing of beauty. Add to it a wonderfully versatile ensemble effortlessly juggling roles and live klezmer music, and you have 100 minutes of potent theatrical magic. The elegiac ending will leave you in tears." Full Review

95
Theatermania

"Under Rebecca Taichman's confident and inspired direction, 'Indecent' has been polished to a lustrous shine for this staging, with an achingly poetic majesty that makes it one of the season's unique and essential Broadway events...'Indecent' is a sumptuous theatrical experience, from its mysterious beginning to its heartrending, unforgettable end...The exceptional performances have matured and deepened with the transfer." Full Review

85
The Huffington Post

"'Indecent,' which might well be more powerful today than the original was when it reached Broadway in 1923, is given an impeccable production by director Rebecca Taichman, a very-much-in-tune team of designers, and an excellent and enthusiastic cast...Vogel and Taichman tell their story in inventive and exuberant fashion...Verson and Lenk play the rain scene several times over the course of the play; the last rendition is breathtaking and gasp-inducing." Full Review

55
New York Magazine / Vulture

"I already found 'Indecent' more worthy than fine when I saw it last year. But a second viewing of the play, now pumped up and retuned, only makes its problems more obvious. Happily, its good qualities are enhanced as well...Vogel has done little to trim the tired jokes or rethink the scene-setting shortcuts that suggest her lack of interest in the subtleties of real behavior...Vogel has never been a practitioner or exponent of naturalism...That style may simply not suit a history play." Full Review

90
DC Theatre Scene

"There are many reasons to find deep satisfaction in the arrival on Broadway of the play 'Indecent,' a fascinating tale wondrously staged...Proof that a play can explore a range of frighteningly relevant issues—threats to the arts and an entire culture, anti-immigrant bigotry, homophobia, even genocide—and do so in a production that is not only enlightening, and moving, but entertaining...'Indecent' helps us see the power and beauty of art, not just by its subject but by its example." Full Review

65
The Huffington Post

"Beautifully crafted, strongly acted and respectable in every way, yet not as soul-stirring as one would want...So much is tackled that the drama falls by the wayside. 'Indecent' is never uninteresting but it’s more panorama than play. But how beautifully it’s presented!...If 'Indecent' is indecently ambitious, if it wants to share absolutely everything about the fascinating history of an almost forgotten work, well one can only wish more shows were so admirably flawed." Full Review

80
Broadway Blog

“Taichman's highly imaginative staging, using dance, music, and Brechtian storytelling techniques, is superb, and the play's panoramic narrative is absorbing. Having the dust pour from the actors' sleeves at select moments (evoking the notion of ‘ashes to ashes’) is memorable. The across-the-years, pageant-like structure, with seven actors playing over forty roles, seems more pronounced in a Broadway theatre. With the actors relying on shortcuts, few characters appear more than two-dimensional.” Full Review

90
Talkin' Broadway

"For what it is, 'Indecent' could not much be improved—its blend of form and function is total enough to be seamless, and it packs an emotional wallop for reasons (and from sources) you may not expect...Theatre, like religion, love, and so many of the other forces that drive our lives and Vogel's compelling, breath-stealing play, is often in the eye of the beholder. That's what makes all those things great—and what, ultimately, makes 'Indecent' great as well." Full Review

85
Times Square Chronicles

"Ms. Vogel and the wonderful director Ms. Taichman have created a powerful piece that almost seems like a dance...The cast, director and play are first-rate. It is hard to single anyone out because this is a true collaborative effort. The only drawback to this play is it seems to have three endings and that takes away from the power of the piece...I actually preferred it more at the Vineyard. No matter the changes, this is a show not to miss. It is powerfully acted and beautifully staged." Full Review

75
Chicago Tribune

"A highly skilled, clearly personal and deftly structured piece...You can feel the historical force and weight of Vogel's play, which likely will be a future staple of regional theater...Authentically acted by an egalitarian ensemble and staged with hefty symbolic gravitas and surety by Taichman...Vogel's connection to this play and what it did for her as a young artist is at the core of why 'Indecent' deserves this production and the support it surely will need from the audience." Full Review

80
New York Daily News

"A heart-stirring and haunting play...Vogel and Taichman tell the story in vibrantly theatrical fashion. The ace ensemble breathes life into more than three dozen characters, with an array of accents to match...'Indecent' covers a lot of territory in 100 unbroken minutes—subjects and themes include sex, religion, money, hypocrisy, plus the decline of the Yiddish language. It can be a bit diffuse. Still, the images are indelible...Be prepared for precipitation to fall from your own eyes." Full Review

90
Deadline

"Make haste for the Cort Theatre simply to share the astonishing power of this new play with music about a delicious ancient Broadway scandal that pulses through the decades to our own time...In addition to the music, 'Indecent' is moved swiftly by David Dorfman’s limpid choreography in concert with Taichman’s sensitive direction...It isn’t understating to call this fantastic play a work of all-encompassing art...It’s an exhilarating ride you’ll never forget." Full Review

90
CurtainUp

"Remarkably moving, relevant and entertaining...It retains the magic of an epic story simply told courtesy of a variety of theatrical devices...Every cast member is a standout, changing characters and accents on a dime...Even more powerful now than when I saw it last year...Here's hoping New York audiences won't overlook this unique and deeply moving play for lighter, glitzier offerings. Go see and enjoy it, and embrace its message." Full Review

90
Theatre Reviews Limited

“This remarkable and stunning play brings into sharp focus the importance of vigilance amidst intolerance and indomitability in the face of insidious censorship…Max Gordon Moore delivers a riveting performance…Vogel and Taichman have created a compelling story about the power of innovation…Taichman directs with a sensitive precision…A compelling piece of theatre that raises deep, enduring questions about the future of a society that refuses to accept differences.” Full Review

93
Front Mezz Junkies

“A must-see, and maybe the best play I’ve seen this year…A magnificently powerful piece of theatre. To call it a play within a play seems to belittle what transpires in this 90-minute creation. Thanks to the impeccable direction of Taichman, it’s a much grander and yet, simple and meaningful engagement of all our senses…It’s meaningful and poetic, while heart-wrenchingly sad and disturbing, in a style and structure that can only be achieved live on a theatre stage.” Full Review

90
Newsday

"Has there ever been anything quite like 'Indecent,' a play that touches—I mean deeply touches—so much rich emotion about history and the theater, anti-Semitism, homophobia, censorship, world wars, and, oh, yes, joyful human passion?...It was hard to imagine how its specialness might hold up in a big Broadway house...It is a thrill to report that this multilingual (with subtitles as needed) adventure is a natural fit. It’s a gripping and entertaining show with laughter and tears." Full Review

85
The Wrap

"It’s the Jewish 'Shuffle Along'...Vogel tells her complicated, sprawling story with urgent economy...With a title like 'The God of Vengeance,' you might think you’re in for a real night of penance at the theater. On the contrary. Under Rebecca Taichman’s dazzling direction, much humor is exposed, especially with the repeated hurling of that Torah. Also, Vogel nicely details the personalities within the Yiddish troupe." Full Review

90
CitiTour

"Its examinations of censorship, xenophobia and anti-Semitism are both brilliant and painfully timely. One can also simply appreciate this piece for the searing intelligence and gorgeous poetry of Vogel’s writing, the stunning visual imagination of co-creator and director Rebecca Taichman, and the exemplary work of its cast...For all of Vogel and Taichman’s skill, the unwavering commitment and facility of this acting troupe is the largest part of the equation for the production’s success." Full Review

95
Front Row Center

"Beautiful and emotionally shattering...Vogel and Taichman work their transporting magic in plain sight and without any apparent help from a big Broadway budget, relying instead upon their own imaginative sense of stagecraft, an excellent company of actors and a resourceful design team...'Indecent' is pretty much just three boards, two actors, and one magnificent, transcendent passion." Full Review

85
Woman Around Town

"Though it’s passionate, 'Indecent' is not a polemic. The eloquent book is peppered with songs and dances...These can lighten proceedings or darken them with sharp juxtaposition to events. Failings and accomplishments are depicted through specific human characters, not ideas. 'Indecent' is both immensely moving and entertaining...The outstanding cast can act, sing, and dance...Director Rebecca Taichman has illuminated a complicated story in accessible, affecting manner." Full Review

75
Wolf Entertainment Guide

“Although it could use some serious trimming, Vogel’s play with music is excitingly staged under Rebecca Taichman’s direction, and it makes the most of elements in ‘God of Vengeance’…Once the production gets going all is redeemed by the excellent performances...The situation cries out for a double bill with 'God of Vengeance' staged in all its ahead-of-its-time emotional drama, and then followed by Vogel’s take on its creation. It would make for a grand if lengthy combination.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
87
Avg Score

100
Absorbing, Exquisite, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Riveting

See it if you want to see an unforgettable theatrical experience. Brilliant performances, writing, and staging. Incredible story from theatre history.

Don't see it if you hate history, theatre, or the Jewish people. This is a perfectly conceived and executed show without a single false moment.

67
Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow

See it if great acting, but that's about it... interesting part of history, but this show did not create an emotional response for me

Don't see it if VERY repetitive, very repetitive

95
Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Must see, Resonant

See it if you want to see some heart-felt performance by great actors.

Don't see it if you are traditional and very conservative.

Also Beautifully directed piece of work! Amazing staging and excellent use ... Read more Read less

93
Great acting

See it if Terrific show.

Don't see it if You don't like great theatre

80
Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if you are interested in theatrical history and powerful Jewish and lesbian themes told through beautiful text, movement, and music

Don't see it if you don't enjoy heavy stories

87
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you get the chance. It's a beautifully told story of a little-known episode in theater history.

Don't see it if it doesn't tour. It's an affecting, relevant work, so I very much hope it does.

80
Intelligent, Shocking

See it if you want to see a beautifully directed piece of theatre. It is a very interesting story that must be told.

Don't see it if sad shows are not your thing. The show is devastating.

85
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great staging

See it if culture of the Yiddish community - its vibrant theater & music; issue of censorship by those with a narrow view of whom we can love

Don't see it if subtitles, play within a play (some acts are repeated); 105 min. without intermission; actors in several roles; sometimes confusing

Also The beginning is a little more cerebral than emotional - a lot of info... Read more Read less

93
Great acting, Must see, Relevant, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you like historical stories about the first half of the 1900s, stories about Jews in and around WWII, you have a passion for art & humanity

Don't see it if you have narrow views on life and art, but that's probably the reason why you should see it.

98
Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you like plays that incorporate history, music, and creative storytelling

Don't see it if you aren't patient - there are some gradual builds, but the payoff is worth it

80
Absorbing, Ambitious, Confusing

See it if You are adventuresome

Don't see it if You're bored by censorious theatre history of the early twentieth century

96
Absorbing, Ambitious, Enchanting, Exquisite, Great staging

See it if you can. It's just so good, and so important.

Don't see it if you want to miss one of the best plays on Broadway in a long time.

90
Absorbing, Relevant, Great staging

See it if You can get a ticket before its closing. Well-written play about a historical event that is relevant in our current political climate.

Don't see it if No reason not to.

78
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Confusing

See it if A very original concept. An engaging cast. A story I was unaware of. Good writing. Entertaining.

Don't see it if Confusing at times.

85
Delightful, Profound, Great staging

See it if If you like historical plays or plays about Jewish culture.

Don't see it if You are not interested in the history of a play from the eatly 1900s

96
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you like plays that deal with intense issues and themes. If you're a lover of art, this show will speak to you.

Don't see it if you're close minded on a lot of issues, or if you don't have a deep appreciation or understanding for the cultures this play focuses on.

90
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if You want to be entertained and moved beyond words. The show is beautiful and very well done in all regards. A must-see for any theatre lover

Don't see it if You need flashy sets and over-the-top production values to keep you interested.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Must see, Great writing

See it if seeing a play about the history of a play will interest you. play deals with a jewish man bordello and lesbian relations

Don't see it if you are open minded

79
Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Profound, Resonant

See it if If you have a fondness for Yiddish traditions or theatre and would enjoy seeing his circumstances affect the ability to present issues.

Don't see it if You like the occasional ray of sunshine in a production.

92
Absorbing, Exquisite, Intense, Must see, Resonant

See it if you are human. Beautiful production of a moving story. Must be seen to be understood - and bring tissues!

Don't see it if you looking for an upbeat lighthearted comedy, you'll have to look elsewhere. There are moments of lightness but it's an intense show.

82
Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you want to view a powerful, thought-provoking play that addresses issues that remain relevant today.

Don't see it if you want something more lighthearted.

70
Great acting, Indulgent, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you’re dutifully set on a play from a Pulitzer winner w/ a message of acceptance, religious/artistic freedom. Maybe bring your older kids.

Don't see it if you expect to be moved, thrilled, or inspired to take action for social equality and fairness.

Also Indecent is competently performed but there are no surprises here. It’... Read more Read less

100
Intelligent, Intense, Masterful, Must see, Great staging

See it if ...you enjoy complex story lines.

Don't see it if ...you cannot handle holocaust-related materials.

100
Ambitious, Exquisite, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if This is the best play I have seen in many years. Sophisticated, smart, pitch perfect staging, funny, immensely rewarding, devastating.

Don't see it if You will be moved, troubled and disturbed by this story and you should be. This is positively essential viewing regardless of the difficulty

Also Indecent is one of the most important plays I have ever seen. You will... Read more Read less

91
Absorbing, Masterful, Must see, Riveting, Great writing

See it if you want to see one of the best plays on Broadway this season. Dynamic profound a bit of a play within a play based on a true story

Don't see it if if simple somewhat dark staging is a problem.