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John Lithgow: Stories by Heart

From 268 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Slow, Disappointing, Entertaining, Indulgent

About the show

Roundabout Theatre Company presents the Broadway debut of Tony and Emmy Award winner John Lithgow's solo piece, an exploration of storytelling full of personal insights. More…

With equal measures of humor and heart, Lithgow conjures a cast of indelible characters from classic short stories by Ring Lardner and P. G. Wodehouse. 'Stories By Heart' first took shape in 2008 at Lincoln Center Theater in a special repertory presentation, with Lithgow telling one story each night. Since then he has evolved the play in theaters around the country. Directed by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan. the Broadway debut of 'John Lithgow: Stories By Heart' is the culmination of this artistic development.

Member Reviews (268)


Great acting, Slow, Disappointing, Entertaining, Indulgent
Avg Score

Zzzzzzz, Why?, Disappointing, Boring

See it if You are fond of John Lithgow. Sweet just very lightly tapped story about his parents.

Don't see it if You have anything better to do with your time.

Also Having seen other one-man shows recently that were riveting, this one ... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Slow

See it if You are a fan of John Lithgow, one man shows and old stories.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in short stories that aren't very exciting. This would have fared better in a smaller more intimate venue

Absorbing, Enchanting, Entertaining, Funny, Clever

See it if John Lithgow brings it! I cannot understand the mixed reviews. Read my review later on Word Press, No Bull With Raging Robert. 2 acts 2 stor

Don't see it if ies. Both funny 2end act Lithgow goes overdrive! If you do not like one acts not for you. Simple set,bad lighting, great acting!

Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow, Resonant, Well delivered

See it if Stage/film vet LIthgow misses the mark (widely) with his solo vehicle. A homage to his parents & power of story-telling it's just dull

Don't see it if With his finely honed stage chops, Lithgow could have just sat & read the stories & triumphed Instead it's over acted & sketch-like

Disappointing, Great acting, Excruciating, Indulgent, Overrated

See it if you are a fan of John Lithgow, enjoy one person shows, enjoy lengthy short stories read out loud, appreciate a world gone by

Don't see it if you don't like 1-person shows with 1 set, no costume change & little movement, unexciting short stories, or Lithgow himself

Also If you are expecting Lithgow to be sharing stories and tales about his... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Slow, Indulgent

See it if your taste is a solo show featuring a showy acting lesson.

Don't see it if two hours of a solo show is too taxing.

Loved lithgow in "3rd rock from the sun"; great actor, great material; here great actor, not so great material

See it if Lithgow is masterful in acting out short stories by Ring Lardner and PG Wodehouse; Lardner story - light w/twist OK for the stage

Don't see it if Wodehouse's class-based humor is so old fashioned and obvious that Lithgow couldn't save it

Great acting, Dated, Slow, Disappointing, Riveting

See it if You're want a master class in acting from a veteran stage actor & want to see him work. You want anecdotes from John Lithgow's life.

Don't see it if You're expecting a play about John Lithgow's life: he reads 2 dated stories he remembers hearing as a child.

Also The backstories of the reasons he chose the 2 stories are terrific! Th... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Refreshing, Endearing

See it if you’re a fan of Lithgow’s or appreciate truly engrossing storytelling with a ton of heart.

Don't see it if you require visual stimulus. You have to pay attention and use your imagination. I trailed off at times, but he always brought me back.

Also The two stories he tells are great, but I was actually more enamored b... Read more Read less

Sweet, Great acting, Slow, Nostalgic

See it if you want to see a very charming John Lithgow. He is wonderful when speaking about his childhood memories of his father and family.

Don't see it if I would have preferred to hear more of his personal memories than having two stories read to him as a child, acted out on stage.

Occasionally entertaining, Disappointing, Slow, Indulgent

See it if You love JL no matter what he does & like to watch a good actor perform too long stories.

Don't see it if Were hoping to hear more tales from John's own life, or expected to like the story material more. House/stage too big. Disappointing.

Also The first story John acted out is very dated with an unlikeable charac... Read more Read less

Great acting, Disappointing, Indulgent, Masterful, Entertaining

See it if You want an intimate evening with a great storyteller, John Lithgow. Act 2 best story/pantomime. Homage to his father, sentimental.

Don't see it if Dislike solo shows on a plain set. Get distracted easily. Dislike John Lithgow.

Also The story in Act 1 drags on, and I lost interest a few times. Act 2 is... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Great acting, Quirky, Slow, Funny

See it if You enjoy one man shows and love John Lithgow and his humor and wit. The first story is interesting but not great, the second one is great.

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows, need a super strong through line, and aren't looking for a quiet night at the theater. Funny but slow.

Disappointing, Indulgent, Overrated, Great acting, Dated

See it if you are eager to see a fine actor even in a warmed-over untheatrical production.

Don't see it if you are expecting an evening of theater with a narrative arc.

Also The family reminiscences were more affecting than the storytelling. Sh... Read more Read less

Endearing, At times sleep inducing, Best in comic mode, Family stories = best moments, 2nd act glides on pg wodehouse

See it if you can allow yourself to like John Lithgow, his mannerisms/acting, his family history, his solo-ness & interested in art of storytelling

Don't see it if storytelling bores you, you aren't interested in the process of putting a show like this together, the experience is about you not on stage

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Great acting

See it if you like stories--and why do you go to the theatre if you don't like stories?Lithgow gives a masterful performance. Set is perfect. Just go!

Don't see it if you want to see Jersey Boys or other pointless fluff.

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Touching

See it if Lithgow gives a masterful performance, acting out two stories that his father read to him as a child.

Don't see it if He chews the scenery a bit (a lot), and his first act barber became annoying after a while. I would have preferred more stories about him.

Also This was enjoyable, but not what I expected. I thought it was going to... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great acting, Masterful, Slow

See it if you want to see an American treasure, John Lithgow, give a perfect performance.

Don't see it if you don't like one man shows and have no patience to listen to a wonderful story leisurely told.

Indulgent, Ambitious, Slow, Charming, Disappointing

See it if you really, really love John Lithgow.

Don't see it if you won’t enjoy the stories w/in the stories by Lardner & Wodehouse as much as you will the intros, Lithgow’s sweet homage to his parents.

Also The second act story from Wodehouse is much stronger, but by then I wa... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great acting, Slow

See it if you want to see a legend onstage.

Don't see it if you're expecting a play. John Lithgow is basically onstage being the lovable grandfatherly figure that he is and sharing stories.

Heartfelt, Misleading, Underwhelming, Disappointing, Touching moments, but too few

See it if you don't mind being told bedtime stories by a talented performer who could do so much more; a sometimes somniferous pacing won't bore you.

Don't see it if expecting riveting, new, bold, and original work; dislike one-man shows; aren't a fan of John Lithgow, storytelling, and some sad moments.

Also John Lithgow has pure intentions: celebrate the life & legacy of his f... Read more Read less

Tedious, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if you are a die-hard Lithgow fan or a fan of one-man shows or are easily entertained.

Don't see it if You have high hopes, based on all the puff pieces you've seen and read that this might be a unique experience worthy of your time.

Enchanting, Entertaining, Great acting, Masterful, Must see

See it if You are lucky enough to see a master performer like John Lithgow at the top of his craft. I was mesmerized.

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy listening to interesting stories, with all the parts acted out by John Lithgow.

Great acting, Slow, Indulgent, Touching, Dull

See it if Similar to NPR's Selected Shorts, John Lithgow reads 2 short stories out loud. Best parts were the personal, heartfelt intros about his dad.

Don't see it if This wasn't my cup of tea; I was bored. Lithgow does an amazing job acting out the stories, but I found them dull, dated, not engaging.

Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Masterful, Must see

See it if You are a Lithgow fan and even if you're not. I'm thrilled at having been able to see him Last time was at the New Victory many years ago.

Don't see it if If you don't enjoy on solo shows. But this one is worth it. John has such heart and one of the best storytellers around!

January 11th, 2018
"To begin with, give Mr. Lithgow a sound effects award. And then give him one for spiritual effects, because 'Stories by Heart' is delightful: illuminating the stories, uplifting us...Though golden enough for any nostalgist, 'Stories by Heart' is neither soporific nor cute. For starters, the two ...
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January 11th, 2018
"It is hard to imagine who, aside from John Lithgow, could fashion a Broadway show from a pair of bedtime stories and not make everyone fall asleep. Yet there the actor is in 'Stories by Heart'...with nothing to keep us on the hook but his masterly cultivation, confidence, and warmth...It is a pl...
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January 11th, 2018
"There’s a healthy helping of nostalgia in there, but 'Stories by Heart' is full of smart, good-natured charm. It’s like listening to the reminiscences of a favorite uncle...The stories themselves are, excitingly, not what you might expect...Lithgow has picked material that undeniably showcases h...
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January 11th, 2018
"Despite the performer's estimable talents, 'John Lithgow: Stories by Heart' smacks mainly of self-indulgence. The charms of Lithgow's chosen stories prove only intermittent...Ironically, the most resonant moments of come not from the stories Lithgow recites but rather the personal anecdotes he s...
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