John Lithgow: Stories by Heart
John Lithgow: Stories by Heart

John Lithgow: Stories by Heart NYC Reviews and Tickets

(269 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.

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Member Reviews (269)

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913 Reviews | 928 Followers
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. Read more

1086 Reviews | 265 Followers
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!

888 Reviews | 1017 Followers
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

716 Reviews | 157 Followers
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 Read more

650 Reviews | 284 Followers
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

688 Reviews | 116 Followers
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

505 Reviews | 729 Followers
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. Read more

567 Reviews | 147 Followers
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.

Critic Reviews (52)

The New York Times
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 stories that Mr. Lithgow recites are superb, outlandish and, in very different ways, hair-raising."
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Time Out New York
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 pleasant way to stay put on a winter’s night...Likable though the stories themselves may be, the heart of this show is in their telling."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
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 his virtuosity. His accents are impeccable, his impressions side-splittingly absurd, and his physicality both playful and precise...Pure entertainment of the most ancient and appealing kind."
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The Hollywood Reporter
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 shares. However, those are not enough to compensate for the thinness of this gussied-up literary reading, which seems out of place in a large theater charging steep Broadway prices."
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Entertainment Weekly
January 11th, 2018

"This is ultimately a basic piece of theater that never really digs below its cozy, slightly drab surface...As an actor, Lithgow does brilliant work here...But the play itself is clunky and a smidge too earnest for its own good...His anecdotes about growing up and growing old feed into stories that hardly deal with those subjects...Indeed, when taking the play as a whole, the inclusion of these literary classics can almost feel like a distraction from Lithgow’s own performance of memoir."
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January 11th, 2018

"Lithgow is the most personable of performers...The two stories are charming examples of the ones that his dramatically disposed father recited to his audience of spellbound children...'Haircut' is a deceptively folksy yarn...'Uncle Fred Flits By' is a typically droll Wodehouse story...It’s not a typical Broadway audience’s cup of tea. But it takes on richer meaning when Lithgow tells us that it was his father’s favorite story, and the one he read to his parents when they were old and ill."
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The Wall Street Journal
January 11th, 2018

"John Lithgow reads two of his favorite short stories out loud and tells us how he came to know them. That’s all there is to 'Stories by Heart,' and it’s more than enough. Rarely have I spent so entertaining a night at the theater—or witnessed so touching a tribute to a departed parent...I rather wish that Daniel Sullivan, the director, had suggested that he tone down the comic effects a notch or three. On the other hand, Mr. Lithgow is so naturally funny that he gets his laughs anyway."
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The Observer
January 16th, 2018

“An evening of erudition, magic, and joy...Staging by Sullivan is minimal, but it moves Lithgow in and out of superbly lit spaces that illuminate the spirit of the star’s imagination and accent the moods of his interpretative skills. The rest is up to the man who dominates the proceedings...leaving his spectators spellbound...The joy of the production is not really the stories, but the passion and gusto with which Lithgow tells them.”
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