Already closed | 3h 30m | Midtown W

King Lear (Broadway)

From 389 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Ambitious, Disappointing, Absorbing, Confusing

About the show

After playing the role to critical acclaim in London, Emmy, Tony, and Academy Award-winning actress Glenda Jackson ("Three Tall Women") brings her take on Shakespeare's mad monarch to a new production on Broadway. More…

In Shakespeare's most famous family tragedy, the aging King Lear's decision to relinquish the throne sparks a sequence of unforeseen, and disastrous consequences. Directed by Tony winner Sam Gold ('Fun Home'), the production also stars Tony winner Jayne Houdyshell ("The Humans"), and features an original score from the legendary composer Philip Glass.

3h 30m | Already closed | Cort Theatre (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (389)


Great acting, Ambitious, Disappointing, Absorbing, Confusing
Avg Score

Relevant, Wide range of actors, Intense, Flawed, Long

See it if you love WS and can endure some bad choices (directing/acting/design). Standout Wilson. Oppty to see Jackson (imperfect, but fascinating).

Don't see it if you need uniform strg perfs. Many disappting actors. Or you want clear story (disappting director). Use of music mixed bag. Still, memorable

Also I went to KL w low expectations, which helped me enjoy it more. I love... Read more Read less

Long, Slow, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you love Shakespeare or want to see Jackson's astounding performance. The staging is great. Use of comedy wherever possible.

Don't see it if It's long & many parts are unintelligible to the untrained ear.

Also Houdyshell's performance was literally laughable (laughed at when the ... Read more Read less

Long, Slow, Great acting

See it if You enjoy Shakespeare and want to see great performances.

Don't see it if You aren't in the mood for a 3.5 hour play or dislike Shakespeare or slow shows.

Indulgent, Poor direction, Disappointing, Slow, Great acting

See it if You want to see extraordinary actors doing magnificent work in what I would describe as a Sam Gold directing MESS!!!

Don't see it if You want to see Lear done with any sort of style or sense. Sam Gold has neither in my opinion. So many odd, annoying and appalling choices.

Also The ONLY reason to see this show is for the superb acting and they all... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Disjointed, Uneven, Great performance

See it if you want to see a powerful, intelligent, studied, regal performance by the legendary Glenda Jackson as Shakespeare's crumbling monarch.

Don't see it if you expect the rest of the cast to rise to the high bar set by Jackson. [It feels as though Gold left everyone else to direct themselves.]

Also There are flourishes of cleverness, originality & risk-taking in Sam G... Read more Read less

Great staging, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to marvel at wonderful acting and delightful music of this long play in a modern setting that crackles with human power struggles.

Don't see it if you you want a traditional presentation of this Shakespeare play or you do not have appreciation for an interpretation commenting on today.

Also Never having seen this play previously, I only read a synopsis before ... Read more Read less

Slow, Dizzying, Ambitious, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You like Jackson & other members of the cast and want to see them tackle the bard. Fan of Shakespeare. Curious about Sam Gikd’s approach

Don't see it if Don’t like a woman as Lear, , confused by actors in key multiple roles, can’t endure 2-hr 1st act, need more scenery to convey plot

Also The golden throne room setting doesn’t always work but is nice to look... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if Contemp gender-bend of the titular king putting his daughters through changes and his course forever changed. Four brilliant actors shine.

Don't see it if This isn't the Brit mounting.All here are accomplished, but each seems to be spinning in separate orbits, diminishing their sun, Ms. Jackson

Also Tepid Bard is better than no Bard at all, right?"No eyes in your head.... Read more Read less

Slow, Epic, Confusing, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you’re a Shakespeare fan.

Don't see it if you’re not a Shakespeare fan.

Also So yeah, liking and understanding Shakespeare’s work is what it comes ... Read more Read less

Masterful, Resonant, Quirky, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Glenda Jackson as King Lear is an interesting twist to an often seen play. Ruth Wilson & Jane Houdyshell shine as well.

Don't see it if You cannot accept females in traditionally male roles in modern times. Cannot sit for 2 hours before 1st intermission.

Also This is set in modern times with actors in business suits. Ruth Wilson... Read more Read less

Still about the human condition, Still family drama, Still great tragedy, Still jerks a tear, Still works

See it if don't want to miss Glenda Jackson perform live, fascinated by messy concepts, want 2 second guess the direction, think U could do it better

Don't see it if can't pay attention for 3+ hours, can't comprehend classical language, prefer happy endings, can't abide cross-gender casting or Shakespeare

Original string quartet music, Easily understood, Modern dress, Sparse abstract set design

See it if Very good King Lear with unique production choices, well-worth watching, some outstanding individuals.

Don't see it if Glenda Jackson gives it a great go, up to the limits of her physical size and vocal strength.

Riveting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Brilliant acting

See it if you love seeing great actors dominate the stage:Jackson,Houdyshall and Thompson are beyond brilliant.This is a once in a lifetime production

Don't see it if you liked Be More Chill.This is serious theatre.How many chances do you get to see Jackson?Her Lear is so powerful,so relatable.Loved it.

Disappointing, Great acting

See it if you want to see the performances by Glenda Jackson and rest of the talented cast, you are well-caffeinated and ready for a 3.5 hour show.

Don't see it if Sounds much better on paper with this amazing cast/creative. Disappointing effort by Sam Gold after such other great Shakespeare productions

Ambitious, Quirky, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting

See it if Jackson is sublime. Great cast. An interesting take on the play. The partial gender-bending mostly works.

Don't see it if Didn’t love the deaf Cornwall with ASL interpreter. Sound was a problem at times. Very long. Requires intense concentration.

Contemporary design including cell phones, Slow, Intelligent, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You want to see Jane Howdyshell and Ruth Wilson at their best. Jackson had power and presence but lacked the music of the Bard.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in weak, interchangeable male leads. Weak fool. Squeaky Regan.

Intense, Great acting, Quirky, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if you love Shakespeare and Glenda Jackson, who is an amazing King Lear; a few other excellent performances

Don't see it if don't want a busy (set, costumes, etc.) production of Shakespeare; don't want blood; can't sit for 3.5 hours (2 hours until intermission)

Also Interesting casting - women in three of the typically male roles & a d... Read more Read less

Riveting, Resonant, Indulgent, Slightly uneven acting, Entertaining

See it if you want to see 2 masters in Glenda Jackson and Jayne Houdyshell at work. Most of the first act is brilliant.

Don't see it if you need a "traditional", and incorrect, casting, costuming and sets for your Shakespeare.

Also Glenda Jackson (Lear) and Jayne Houdyshell (Gloucester) are extraordin... Read more Read less

Slow, Overrated, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if just to see Glenda Jackson in a vanity project

Don't see it if like consistent acting - people seemed to be in different shows. Direction and staging was awful. What a waste of good people

Glenda jackson is a tour de force, Disappointing, Intense, Uneven, Ambitious

See it if you want to see a unique take on this Shakespearean classic. Some of the performances (Jackson, WIlson, Houdyshell) are spectacular

Don't see it if you want to see a production where all the actors are of the same caliber. Felt uneven. Also, if you don't like Shakespeare.

Also This was one of the shows I was most looking forward to this season, b... Read more Read less

Long, Several parts alternative casting, Slow, Excruciating, Disappointing

See it if You appreciate King Lear and want to see alternative casting and find out what insights that provides.

Don't see it if Very long, dark, heavy, cruelty-filled Shakespeare is not appealing.

Also Admittedly, I don’t like this play. Having seen it more than I would l... Read more Read less

Raunchy, Thought-provoking, Edgy, Disappointing, Dated

See it if you like the play and Glenda Jackson

Don't see it if you want to see a better play.

Language at times inaudible, at others incoherent, Punctual, Overrated, Muddy, Disappointing

See it if You’re up for the startling and inspiring treat of an 83 year old pro leading three hours of Shakespeare without missing a beat.

Don't see it if You haven’t read or re-read the play first; much will be indecipherable, unclear or inaudible, unforgiveable for a pro show so heavily miked

Also If completely naked actors in Prospect Park could perform conversation... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if Glenda Jackson!

Don't see it if Hard to work through accents and text.

Intense, Violent, Great acting

See it if a wonderful cast support the superlative Glenda Jackson in one of Shakespeare's darkest tragedies. Seeing her makes going worthwhile.

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespearean language or a depressing, often violent play.

April 4th, 2019
"It should surprise no one that Ms. Jackson is delivering a powerful and deeply perceptive performance as the most royally demented of Shakespeare’s monarchs. But much of what surrounds her in this glittery, haphazard production seems to be working overtime to divert attention from that performan...
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April 4th, 2019
"Gold’s production is full of interesting directorial choices that do not quite cohere into a shared universe for 'King Lear’s' characters to inhabit...Some of these performances work well on their own terms. What’s missing is a larger sense of shape...This production doesn’t want to be indulgent...
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April 4th, 2019
"After a royal amount of hype built on the promise of the towering Glenda Jackson’s role-defining performance, the painful truth is that Sam Gold’s 'King Lear' is a hot, heavy mess. And more painful still, Jackson’s Lear fails to transcend it...Underneath the production’s winks and nods, there’s ...
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April 4th, 2019
"Gold makes a lot of audacious choices, many of which you might disagree with, but they are seldom uninteresting...Gold at times lays on this contemporary veneer a tad too thickly...But even with on-the-nose moments like this, the production still feels thematically undercooked...Still, while the...
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