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"An achingly lovely revival...Director Anne Kauffman’s delicately hued but big-hearted production seems as mordantly and ruefully truthful as ever...Not all of McPherson’s tart-but-sweet humor...has aged perfectly...And the play’s small scale...can sometimes feel a bit lost on the wide expanse of a Broadway stage...Kauffman and her flawless cast manage to make the play’s steady accrual of small moments of wry humor and undeniable pathos add up to a rich emotional payoff." Full Review
“Emotionally rich…Garofalo's knack for flat, unemotional humor is well-utilized…Despite its sparks of quirky humor, ‘Marvin’s Room’ is a small piece that intends to draw audiences in with its gentle approach to emotions. But instead of pushing the production forward and framing it tightly, designer Laura Jellinek's set takes up the far reaches of the stage, shrinking the impact of the fine ensemble's performances. But this is one misstep in an otherwise satisfying production." Full Review
"It’s a good play. Honestly, it’s a good play. This mantra is necessary to keep your faith in 'Marvin’s Room'...Despite decent performances, this lugubrious Broadway revival does his dark comedy no favors...This is an intimate play full of quiet moments that cry out for privacy — or at least a little directorial sensitivity. Exposing its modest scenes on the massive stage of the American Airlines Theater is like tossing a puppy into the ocean and expecting it to swim for its life." Full Review
"Anne Kauffman’s luminous revival for the Roundabout tends to McPherson’s legacy with grace. She plays down the wildness of the humor, and the first act leans toward placidity. This strategy pays off later, however, as Taylor’s performance—gently weird, shadowed with defeat—takes bloom. Without pushing its virtue too hard, the play movingly depicts a world in which loving others is, as it often has to be, its own reward." Full Review
"A gently wrenching, heart-wise story about dignity in the face of death and the ability of wounded families to heal. The 1990 comedy-drama blossoms and glows under the steady, surgical hand of Anne Kauffman in a long-overdue Broadway debut for both play and director...Staged too broad or too earnestly, McPherson’s delicate tone would wobble in the direction of either quirk-for-quirk’s-sake or weepie manipulation. But Kauffman keeps the needle flickering in the ambiguous middle." Full Review
"It's unfortunate that more of the play's humor doesn't come through in Roundabout Theatre Company's production. Director Anne Kauffman paints this small, intensely intimate family drama with broad strokes that sometimes obscure the comic moments that lighten the darkness...This intimate play about terminal illness at times gets lost on the large American Airlines stage...The performances help compensate for the outsize production." Full Review
"Thoughtfully directed by Kauffman; keenly performed by Taylor, Garofalo and especially Weston; a pleasure to watch throughout...But it is somehow, also, fatally mild. How can this be when nothing has been altered?...Without that heightened and emotional context some of the play’s flaws are more evident now...This production of 'Marvin’s Room' languishes in the gap between the powerful, absurdist comedy Mr. Rich saw and the histrionic excess of the three-hanky film." Full Review
"In the hands of director Anne Kauffman and a sterling cast, this Broadway premiere of McPherson’s sensitively raucous black comedy about death is most welcome...'Marvin’s Room' is as emotional as it is funny...Kauffman has a firm understanding of the play’s comic/dramatic pulse, and brings out superb performances all around...'Marvin’s Room' is certainly a room to visit. A rewarding and funny one at that." Full Review
"Kauffman has sacrificed some of the laugh lines for a more naturalistic tone. At first, this seemed to be an error...Gradually, the small scale of the performances draw us in, causing us to listen carefully and become more involved with the people onstage. Those characters are heartbreakingly sad and hilariously eccentric...The casting is another factor in the show’s success...All the choices in this tender revival reveal an involving and human story, unmarred by overdrawn theatrics." Full Review
"So much is so sad in the lives of Bessie and Lee as to make the audience fully justified in wondering: Should we be laughing at this? Yet laugh we do, thanks to the playwright’s subversive worldview, and a production directed with unflashy effectiveness by Kauffman. She steers the uniformly credible cast through a sometimes flighty comedy ultimately grounded in compassion...They get away with the wackier of these comic touches because they are counterbalanced by the more realistic ones." Full Review
"The sanity and understatement of 'Marvin's Room' feels like a cool breeze blowing across Broadway...A work that could have succumbed to all sorts of excess miraculously never puts a foot wrong...It comes at you low and outside, landing quietly, yet with devastating force…Thanks to Kauffman's assured direction, nothing is overstated and nobody presses for laughs...Taylor captures Bessie's extraordinary goodness without surrendering her broken humanity. The rest of the cast is solid.” Full Review
"The plot's principal drivers are…first, will the emotionally armored Hank agree to be a donor and, second, even if he does, will any of the candidates prove suitable? Two hours-plus, however, are simply too long to wait while these questions are answered. Under Kauffman's well-calibrated direction, the ensemble tempers its histrionics in favor of a natural matter-of-factness…As the play proceeds…the narrative and emotional energy lag…chiefly because of Jellinek's spare, monotonous set." Full Review
"Yesterday's clear-eyed reflection on life's blessings and blights can be today's sentimental Lifetime movie manqué in the wrong hands. And director Kauffman's are definitely the wrong hands...'Marvin's Room,' for all its warmly humanistic strengths, is very much a work of its time, and the director seems unable to connect with its particular wavelength, or to navigate its relatively straightforward blueprint...The revival does eventually muster some poignancy...The cast is generally solid." Full Review
"Lots of laughs, lots of jerked tears, very little reality. Anne Kauffman, the director, stages the handful of serious scenes in 'Marvin’s Room' with sensitive simplicity and makes the others seem at least possible, if not truly believable...'Marvin’s Room' is a thickly sugared pill, glib and sentimental to a fault...Ms. Garofalo, who is new to the stage, proves to be fully at ease there, enough so that I hope to see her try her hand at a more challenging role." Full Review
"An uneven production...Staging the play is deceptively difficult, as its slow pace and confessional mini-monologues can easily become tedious, and that is often the case with this production...'Marvin’s Room' stands out compared with so many other family dramas because of its refreshing optimism and love of life (even despite serious illness, physical disability, estrangement and the need to make major personal sacrifices), but its emotional reach mostly gets lost in this production." Full Review
"The play itself seems outdated and tame...The acting is uniformly good, but if you have seen the film version...it is hard to not compare. This is not the tearjerker the film was. As a matter of fact, the show barely manages to elicit much emotion at all. Anne Kauffman has under-directed this piece. Though there are honest and real performances, this production is just dull." Full Review
"While the acting is fine, the comedic elements of the story about the intertwining of life and death sometimes feel forced...Anne Kauffman’s staging for the Roundabout, moreover, doesn’t always maximize the material. The pacing is Valium-induced sluggish and the out-of-scale physical production is ill-suited to the intimate goings-on...The script occasionally works too hard for significance, but it also exerts a gentle pull." Full Review
"It’s a comedy, of course, and a very funny one...'Marvin’s Room,' exquisitely human and tenderly compassionate, doused with anarchic humor, lives, vibrant as ever, in Anne Kauffman’s wonderful revival...It’s to the credit of everyone involved–these committed actors, the sensitive director and most of all McPherson–that the connections slow to take hold are soldered like emotional strands that throw off sparks as they finally fuse." Full Review
"As helmed by Anne Kauffman and as performed by an able ensemble, 'Marvin's Room' remains a moving, well-constructed portrait of a woman who has spent her adult life as the loving caretaker of a terminally ill father...The rather too-slow pacing is picked up by the heart-tugging emotional interactions...Even if all the comic business still landed throughout instead of rather sporadically, it's not as a comedy that 'Marvin's Room' survives but as a very human look at life, love and death." Full Review
"The actors have it together, delivering their roles with truth and sincerity, but the staging is on less solid ground...They all come together well, especially with the assist from Weston and Taylor. The simpleness of their phrasing illuminates the piece, and DiFalco brings it home in the end. I almost cried. Almost...Directed well, although not inspiringly, by Anne Kaufman, she somehow finds traces of intimacy on the acres of open space." Full Review
"I was very curious to see how well it would stand up unsupported by the context of the early 90s. The answer, for me at least, is pretty well. Roundabout has assembled a strong cast...I wish they had chosen to mount it in one of their smaller venues. It’s an intimate story that seems a bit lost in the vastness of the American Airlines Theatre...Kauffman’s direction captures both the play's absurdity and its compassion." Full Review
"While the imbalance of emotions is undeniably inherent in the script, Anne Kauffman’s unevenly cast and directed production at the American Airlines Theatre further tips the scale towards lightness...After the nursing home scene, though, and for the rest of the play, Kauffman and the cast smartly probe the play’s depths, and the final few scenes are quite moving. Strangely, though, Kauffman lets the show end too abruptly." Full Review
"Gratifying and affecting...I particularly marveled at the way Taylor processed any bad news that comes Bessie’s way. She segues briskly from shock to resilience...It’s easy, as well, to empathize with Garofalo’s Lee...The American Airlines Theatre isn’t a particularly forgiving venue for a story quite so intimate, but designer Jellinek succeeds in taming the open space...'Marvin’s Room' is at its finest when reminding us that memory is a fierce, potent counterpoint to fear of the unknown." Full Review
"Pacing slogs and humor, though recognized, rarely elicits laughter. Respectable acting, especially that of Celia Weston and the brooding Jack DiFalco, can’t rescue a play where characters with a tendency to cliché indulge the aspect; where energy is so low, approach so monotone, you may fall asleep several times. Director Anne Kauffman leaves her cast to recite words. She attributes none of them with individuality past the page." Full Review
"Anne Kauffman has directed this production with sensitivity to what must be illuminated in the characterizations and in the balance between the writer’s sense of humor and seriousness...The writing and acting call for intimacy, which often gets lost against the gigantic background of the set...Even within the framework of this staging, the performances combine to bring the play to life and keep us focused, sometimes even amusingly, on their situations." Full Review
See it if I recall liking this so much when it first arrived. This version was well acted, beautifully staged but somehow it missed.
Don't see it if I still think it is worth seeing. It's a complex play about caregiving and choices. Always worth seeing.
See it if you enjoy the movie and ONLY if you enjoy the movie
Don't see it if at all. It was pretty excruciating to have to sit through. The direction was as terrible as the acting going up on that stage.
See it if you are ready to have some nerves touched and exposed; you can laugh through your pain, humorous moments, but dark, insightful.
Don't see it if you are expecting an afternoon of laughs.
See it if this play explores the challenges of elder care and teens gone arye. Although beautifully acted the director needed to pick up the pace.
Don't see it if If eldercare and sickness is a chalange in your life
See it if you want to see a thought-provoking play that resonates with a lot of people. Seeing the humor in a very sad situation was also interesting.
Don't see it if Sad stories really get to you. The play can feel a bit long.
See it if you are in the mood for easy-going theater. this isn't a high-stakes play with too much drama. the actors are great though
Don't see it if you want to go on a rollercoaster of emotions. you want something light-hearted or highly dramatic. this play is more middle of the road
See it if Family dramas about what members owe each other is meaningful to you. Good mix of humor and angst in a dysfunctional family. Talented cast.
Don't see it if The challenges of caregivers and fraught family relations isn't your thing despite excellent staff
See it if you want to see a very good performance from Jack DiFalco.
Don't see it if you saw the original or if you can see the film version, which is not good, but so much better than this production.
See it if you enjoy a play that centers around three great actors and a supporting cast, well written, timely and well staged
Don't see it if seeing a show about serious illness punches too many unhappy buttons for you
See it if you'd like to see a well-acted piece with nice story and some funny moments, but the unfortunate need for a great deal of editing.
Don't see it if A rather dry production and extremely rambling script would get in the way of enjoying a well-acted show. Celia Weston is particularly fine.
See it if Well acted, poignant story of family illness & caregiving. That caregiving can be a chance for love & connection. Elements of dark humor.
Don't see it if If stories about illness & dysfunctional families is not your cup of tea. The humor helps alleviate the dark subject matter.
See it if You're compassionate about illness & mental health. Want something more deep than cliched Dear Evan Hansen
Don't see it if You don't like long-ish plays about serious topics, want to leave the theater feeling happy
See it if you are interested in "ordinary" people challenged by life and its curveballs. Some serious flaws but the second act in particular works
Don't see it if you need razzle, dazzle or grab-your- attention theater. these are low-key people slogging through life doing the best they are capable of