Ends Sep 10

Indecent

Members say: Absorbing, Great staging, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent
85
Critics
84
80 reviews
Members
86
347 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.

 
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Reviews (427)

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
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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

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

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

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

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

75
NJ.com

"A fast-moving yet lucid drama whose short scenes convey a tremendous amount of information and a surprising amount of feeling. The creators use a full array of theatrical tools...to lend a sense of poetry, spectacle and scale to what might otherwise have been a too-modest tale. If 'Indecent' doesn't land as forceful a dramatic punch as it might have, that's probably because we never fully invest in any of the characters...Then again, that may be Vogel's point." Full Review

85
Entertainment Weekly

"Not to say the characters or predicaments seem in any way generic. 'Indecent' is a play with music, and the production nods to Yiddish and epic theater, using deliberately self-conscious staging and direct calls to our social and moral conscience...'Indecent’s' excellent ensemble also convey an exuberance and a sense of purpose, reminding us that art can motivate, agitate and uplift. In our own troubled century, there’s at least some encouragement to be found there." Full Review

90
Towleroad

"'Indecent,' a thrilling and poignant new play that opened last night, may have been 20 years in the making, but its story of scandal and struggle could hardly be more timely...This company inhabits every character in Vogel’s deft, poetic, and utterly entertaining account of the controversy that greeted another, older play...The journey is a deeply felt and challenging exploration of language, freedom of expression, the struggle for belonging, and ultimately, love." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
86
Avg Score

96
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Great staging

See it if you wanna see the BEST PLAY on Broadway this season... EASILY!

Don't see it if you can't handle serious/uncomfortable subject matter.

54
Ambitious, Relevant, Indulgent, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You are interested in historical reenactments and folksy theater.

Don't see it if You want straightforward, entertaining theater. It never really grabbed my attention. Just didn't click for me. I can appreciate it.

85
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Historical, Great ensemble

See it if Are a fan of Vogel. Are interested in history -- theatrical and/or Jewish. Appreciate terrific ensemble acting.

Don't see it if Struggle with captioning -- it's an important element of following the play. Are resistant to important, serious stories of conflict.

Also Could benefit from an intermission -- the 110 minutes is a bit long in... Read more Read less

73
Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great staging

See it if Like a show that makes you conscious of the political climate we are in by comparison to the Jewish plight . Interesting approach to a story

Don't see it if Are uncomfortable with same sex storylines or the Holocaust nudge.

81
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy a show in a show, theatre history, censorship, and a real-life drama that spans generations

Don't see it if You want a comedy or easy escape; dislike reading subtitles

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

See it if You want to see a contemporary view of the past, that shows how issues, such as prejudice & censorship are still with us.

Don't see it if You want to see current issues dealt w/more directly. You're uncomfortable w/Jewish and/or lesbian themes depicted on stage.

89
Ambitious, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Unique

See it if you are interested in theater history particularly Yiddish theater, censorship and freedom of speech, plays with lesbian content.

Don't see it if if you don't like any of the above, plays with music (klezmer here), plays within plays, are close-minded, don't like supra-titles.

Also This is a very important play describing real events. Though it is int... Read more Read less

84
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if If you are into pieces that are based on true events, but uniquely tell a story about the development of the arts in America;

Don't see it if If you're looking for a show with a focused plot line or something overly comedic;

81
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Great writing

See it if You want to see dramatization of real life

Don't see it if You like something light and fluffy, or dislike the topics of Jewishness, LGBT, or WWII

Also Be prepared, subtitles matter. A problem if you are in balcony center.... Read more Read less

79
Intense, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Great staging

See it if you are a Paula Vogel fan and like thought provoking plays...

Don't see it if you are looking for a "light" play, or don't like plays with themes involving religion and lesbianism...

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if A very original play with music that engages you as soon as you enter the theater. Cast is already on stage and gives terrific performances.

Don't see it if You are disinterested in plays involving artistic,religious, LGBT freedoms and the holocaust.

92
Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Masterful, Great staging

See it if You believe art matters - this brilliant production blends art,history,intolerance and beauty seamlessly in a play within a play

Don't see it if You are not interested in antisemitism and the obscenity trial of a Yiddish play dealing with lesbian love - go see it anyway

Also One of the most moving theatrical experiences I have had - audience wa... Read more Read less

100
Great acting, Must see, Resonant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You want to see a flawlessly crafted production about the power of humanity (the ads say theatre but I thought it was more universal)

Don't see it if I mean. If you don't like this I can't help you. I suppose that small contingent that reinvents history as not happening wouldn't?

85
Profound, Relevant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy historical pieces, religious and queer themes.

Don't see it if You're looking for a light show or a fast paced show.

78
Great acting, Intense, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you're interested in seeing a show that is more relevant now than ever to the arts and our political climate. Intense, thought-provoking.

Don't see it if you're not in the mood for a heavy play that requires you to think or if you're not interested in a rarely mentioned historical story.

97
Thought-provoking, Masterful, Profound, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You are looking to be moved by a historical story that will deeply resonate.

Don't see it if You aren't emotionally prepared.

75
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Slow

See it if you're a fan of Paula Vogel, interested in LGBTQ themes, Jewish history and sophisticated writing or you enjoy real life dramatizations.

Don't see it if You need an intermission (110 minutes), you don't enjoy reading subtitles (which are crucial) or take issue with same sex themes and pda.

Also I enjoyed this play - but - it just didn't quite click for me. Frankly... Read more Read less

94
Great acting, Must see, Profound, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you are interested in meta theater, history, intersectionality, creativity, censorship, art as a vehicle of hope and empathy

Don't see it if you are homophobic, xenophobic, antisemitic; if you can't follow plot across generations and actors playing different characters

Also this is a gorgeous, poignant, astonishing production which carefully l... Read more Read less

69
Quirky, Romantic, Disappointing, Unique, Surface

See it if Hyper and flamboyant acting doesn't bother you. You want a touching and romantic (but surface) treatment of an interesting subject.

Don't see it if You are looking for more depth. The play was basically an acted version of the timeline provided in the playbill.

Also This was objectively a good show, just not my cuppa. I was interested ... Read more Read less

95
Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy ingenious staging, actors excelling in roles crafted for them, and a confidently provocative script backed by a klezmer band.

Don't see it if can't last over 90 minutes without an intermission or get terribly confused when actors play multiple characters.

78
Clever, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if you like learning about the history of theater.

Don't see it if you are looking for mainstream Broadway.

87
Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Profound, Great staging

See it if you are looking for a thought provoking evening with fantastic music and lighting

Don't see it if you don't like plays dealing with historical events or plays with no intermission

80
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging

See it if you are interested in the impact theater has on society and vice versa; you like true historical stories that are still relevant today

Don't see it if you're not into theater that gets very meta; you need focused stories (this bounces forward in time a lot and can get a little confusing)

Also Avoid buying seats in the rear balcony - there is text projected into ... Read more Read less

92
Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if You want intelligent, gripping, emotional and moving writing about persecution, artistic freedom, assimilation and the role of art in life

Don't see it if You want a frothy, fluffy night out. This makes you think and feel

80
Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Moving, Great music

See it if You are Jewish, or love the theatre. It is a love letter to Jewish theatre specifically but theatre generally.

Don't see it if You can't follow when actors play multiple roles over many years.

Also As a gentile foreigner, there was a lot in this play I did not underst... Read more Read less