New York | 1h 30m | Already closed


From 49 critic and 325 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging, Intense, Absorbing

About the show

Bruce Willis makes his Broadway debut with Laurie Metcalf in this stage adaptation of Stephen King's best-selling horror novel. More…

Successful romance novelist Paul Sheldon (Willis) is rescued from a car crash by his 'Number One Fan,' Annie Wilkes (Metcalf), and wakes up captive in her secluded home. While Paul is convalescing, Annie reads the manuscript to his newest novel and becomes enraged when she discovers the author has killed off her favorite character, Misery Chastain. Annie forces Paul to write a new novel, and he quickly realizes Annie has no intention of letting him go anywhere. The irate Annie has Paul writing as if his life depends on it, and if he does not make her deadline, it will.

1h 30m | Already closed | Broadhurst Theatre (Midtown W)

Stu on Broadway

"Playwright Goldman...has transformed the essence of the novel into a 90 minute, intermission-less heart-stopping production...Director Will Frears skillfully uses the confined and suffocating space to tease out a building tension within the play. The production is well-paced as it almost lazily heads towards its crescendo. He allows Laurie Metcalf plenty of room for her acting pyrotechnics without letting the actress go over the edge." Full Review


"The challenge is to get someone who knows the story anxious all over again. And that they do. The box-office catnip is Willis, totally convincing in his first play since his early off-Broadway days…But the wow factor, the precision instrument that keeps propelling the story into psychologically unexpected corners, is Laurie Metcalf...The kind of expertly done, old-time theatrical thriller with little more in its psycho head than stylish, scary fun." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"The theatrical team has a lot to live up to, and for the most part, does justice to the faithful stage adaptation… Ms. Metcalf and Mr. Willis are each compelling in their own way…For Stephen King fans or celebrity chasers that get thrills by Hollywood’s Broadway invasion, 'Misery' provides a pleasant enough evening at the theatre. But it’s Metcalf that reminds us that there’s nothing like live performance and witnessing a true actor immersed in her craft." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

"Metcalf’s performance is finely drawn, well-observed, brilliantly executed and entirely captivating...Bruce Willis as Paul Sheldon is sexy. He is magnetic, probably for all the wrong reasons...Will Frears’ direction is razor sharp. I felt the horror and painful sadness of the piece in his cleverly crafted moments. I feel that William Goldman’s version has brought a necessary humor to the story and allows us to warm up to the characters before the hell ride begins." Full Review


"From beginning to end, the night belongs to Metcalf's lonely, mentally unstable Annie Wilkes..Willis is fine, but not especially interesting...Familiar moments may invoke laughter and cheers, but the stage version works as more of a character study than a thriller…'Misery' on Broadway is a bit of tasty popcorn elevated to high art by an exceptional stage actor." Full Review


"Laurie Metcalf turns out to be an inspired casting choice…Willis isn't as compelling as Metcalf…The resulting part thriller, part comic parody has just one or two really tense scenes but it's amusing to have you giggling at even Annie's most bizarre actions. The production values are good enough to overcome purist objections about the comedic angle being overdone…'Misery' is not high art. But then it never was." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"What makes it all work however, is the contrasting and beautiful work of both stars. Laurie Metcalf has hidden reserves of madness stored up within her...Bruce Willis has wisely chosen to stress the inner calm of Paul Sheldon ...There are times when things happen slowly, but I was always involved...I was never quite sure where all this was going, and the conclusion, which may surprise some, deserved the enthusiasm with which it was greeted by a very happy house." Full Review


"Willis delivers an underpowered, half-interested performance…Despite Willis' flat performance, 'Misery' turns out to be something Broadway hasn't seen in years: an old-fashioned chiller from the Ira Levin/'Deathtrap' school, where the gasps and the giggles are deliciously jumbled together…Then there is the magnificent Metcalf, who gives us an Annie Wilkes more recognizably human than Bates, but no less enjoyably monstrous." Full Review

Epoch Times

"The work is truly terrifying at moments but fails to keep the intensity throughout...Metcalf is wonderful...Willis, unfortunately, does not fare as well...Will Frears’s direction works well overall, as does the stage adaptation by William Goldman...Filled with stomach-churning moments, with a few hiccups here and there, 'Misery' is a roller coaster of a thrill ride, where only the most determined survive." Full Review

Peconic Public Broadcasting

"This production, played out on a terrific revolving set by David Korins, is really quite good, that Bruce is almost perfect as the bedridden prisoner and that Laurie does her best as the woman who first saves his life and then tries to kill him...'Misery' is a Broadway show that you should see especially if you know absolutely nothing about the plot." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"If you want to have the bejesus scared out of you, Laurie Metcalf is your woman. As Annie Wilkes in 'Misery,' she is an angel both of mercy and of death...Bruce Willis gives a performance that is largely uninflected and lacking in energy; one never feels the desperation associated with being held captive by a madwoman...A play like this is a kind of game; here, however, only one person on stage is playing for keeps." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Director Will Frears keeps the pacing relatively taut, though some of the early-going feels a bit more dragged out than necessary. Frears’ other secret weapon is Michael Friedman’s eerie original score, which does a fantastic job of adding to the mood of fear. 'Misery' won’t necessarily make you sad, or happy, but it does the job of thrilling and chilling quite well – in addition to providing yet another showcase for the titanic talent known as Laurie Metcalf." Full Review

American Theater Web

"Neither William Goldman’s script nor Will Frears’ production will disappoint people who are looking to revisit their favorite moments in the story...For some theatergoers, the recreation of on stage of the familiar narrative will be enough. For those audiences members who are looking for a little more, there are two wonderful surprises...The production settles for the middle-of-the-road, giving audiences exactly what they might expect." Full Review


"Metcalf's performance is inscrutable, layered, and thrilling to behold. Willis feels much less present by comparison. He delivers most of his lines with the verve of a porn actor plodding through the exposition…Something about this change of medium has transformed 'Misery' from a thriller into a laugh-out-loud comedy...Suspense and dramatic tension are virtually nonexistent…'Misery' is a scream. I was never bored and didn't want it to end." Full Review


"There’s pressure on Metcalf to keep this play from going camp, and she pulls it off without hamming things up…Willis is persuasive and coy. It’s a physical performance…Metcalf and Willis seem to be having oodles of fun…We may question whether 'Misery' demanded a stage adaptation, but there are two good reasons to see it: Metcalf and Willis. The actors manage to elevate material that is, at best, workmanlike. 'Misery' is entertaining and forgettable." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"Luckily, director Will Frears and stars Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf are all in synch with the plot’s lack of serious intent…Though the technical specs are excellent, the production suffers from a curious lack of tension. And, moreover, fun…Willis plays Paul with a flatness and passivity that feels too inert, even for a character who is bedbound. And as Annie, Laurie Metcalf is overly conscious of not echoing the line readings as they were delivered by Bates." Full Review


"Will Frears lets Willis get away with murder by maintaining his sophisticated-author cool well beyond the point of believability…Metcalf skillfully modulates her emotional transitions from adoring to obsessive to psychotic. Her eyelids flutter, her hand gestures quicken, and her vocal range reaches for the high notes. It’s a stunning performance, even if, in this oddly fear-free production, she provokes more pity than terror." Full Review


"It is not altogether a miserable experience — thanks to the superb Laurie Metcalf, who delivers a crackling, delightfully deranged performance...Bruce Willis' knack for remaining affable in the most dire straits does him few favors in the role of desperate hostage...While the cramped scale is fitting for a story about a man held captive, the staging sometimes gets swallowed up by the dark void of a massive theatre — particularly as its hobbled star performance doesn’t do much to light it up." Full Review

The Flip Side

"In a trashily effective—if not especially taut—90 minutes, 'Misery' onstage provides the same thrills of its earlier incarnations...It serves as a vehicle of sorts for Bruce Willis...But the play, movie and novel all belong to Annie, and onstage Laurie Metcalf gives a persuasive and just enough over-the-top portrayal of a self-sufficient woman who just happens to be crazy...Will Frears directs efficiently...Despite its lack of forward momentum, this 'Misery' gets the job done." Full Review

USA Today

"'Misery' flirts with high camp even at its most unsettling moments - especially in those moments. Willis groans and lurches gamely, and offers flashes of the smirking, smart-alecky wit that first brought him attention...Those with a limited tolerance for such mockery may feel uncomfortable watching the fun this 'Misery' has at the expense of both main characters. At just 90 minutes, though, the production should leave you psychically unscathed." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"To my surprise, and relief, I actually ended up not minding the show at all. Although that's probably for the very reason that others didn't like it: it's not scary. In fact, 'Misery' is so tension-free that I never had to hold my hand in front of my eyes and peek through my fingers at any point...Willis super fans and those of the movie may have a good time." Full Review

BackStage Barbie

"Stephen King is known for his suspense, but this production lacks the energy of the source material. There is no 'edge of your seat' quality that you would hope for from King, something that the film did so brilliantly. It's certainly exciting to see stars onstage, but with so many fantastic pieces on Broadway this season, this does not top my list." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"'The suspense is almost nil…Metcalf is far more engaged, yet outside of occasional moments, she and Willis don’t really seem to be inhabiting the same world…'Misery' is often funny, and most of this humor is intentional...It seems to know that it’s a genre piece rather than a serious drama and one wonders why the production didn’t embrace that genre more." Full Review


"While the tempo might be lax, the production team has done a superb job...Another weakness of the play is that it takes place in 27 short scenes which include endless blackouts. While this is fine in a movie as film cuts, it draws attention to itself on the stage. 'Misery,' the play, will be remembered for Bruce Willis’ mild Broadway debut and Laurie Metcalf’s bravura performance. As a thriller for the theater, it counts heavily on the audience’s expectations as to where the story is going." Full Review

Time Out New York

"On a meta level, 'Misery' is about Willis playing film star Willis being terrorized by Metcalf’s superior acting talent…The pleasures of this production (perfunctorily staged by Will Frears) are mostly visual and all predictable…William Goldman’s stage adaptation of his own screenplay is lazily faithful to his own work…Still, if life imitates art, by the end of 'Misery’s' run, Willis may have learned something about acting from Metcalf. The rest of us just paid to watch the class." Full Review

Refreshing, Great acting, Great staging, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Loved the book, or Metcalf and Willis. Like intense drama

Don't see it if Were not a fan of the book, you won't be a fan of the play. Don't like drama's

Must see, Intense, Edgy, Great acting, Clever

See it if You loved the book and you want to see it played out masterfully.

Don't see it if you don't like suspense.

Must see, Great staging, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever

See it if If you want to see a great thriller! The scenery was really cool and Bruce Willis was excellent

Don't see it if I don't like plays, a great night out everyone should see it

Absorbing, Must see, Masterful, Epic, Great acting

See it if you like Stephen King's book of the same name, the movie version of it with James Caan and Kathy Bates, or Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalfe.

Don't see it if you don't like what's mentioned in "See it if..."

Must see, Edgy, Intense, Refreshing, Great acting

See it if You want a fresh take on the theater with the best set and lead actress

Don't see it if You want to miss out on a Landmark production

Riveting, Must see, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy great theater

Don't see it if you don't have a sense of humor

Delightful, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if love it

Don't see it if go see it

Must see, Great staging, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy great acting and a superb set

Don't see it if Your a child

Edgy, Great staging, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You like Bruce Willis

Don't see it if if you don't like CRAZY.

Riveting, Intense, Must see, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You love the movie, love Bruce Willis, love to be scared.

Don't see it if You are scared easily.

Intense, Great staging, Great acting, Entertaining, Enchanting

See it if Your into suspense!!

Don't see it if You don't like suspense!

Entertaining, Clever

See it if you like Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf

Don't see it if you didn't like the movie

Intense, Great staging, Great acting, Funny, Clever

See it if You love Bruce Willis, have read or watched the movie misery, love

Don't see it if You don't feel that an hour 40min should cost that much or that anyone other than Cathy Bates can do the part justice.

Great set, Authentic, Great acting

See it if You want to see Laurie Metcalf devour the city and blow Kathy Bates out of the water. You've been longing for some good on-stage violence

Don't see it if You already don't like the source material. You'll be offended by audiences laughing at suspenseful/grotesque content.

Intense, Masterful, Clever

See it if loved the book and/or the movie or a fan of Stephen Kings other works. Laurie Metcalf is very good and Bruce Willis is just ok. worth seein

Don't see it if If you're expecting some highbrow theatrical experience.

Edgy, Great staging, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You love mystery/thrillers, Stephen King, the film MISERY, Laurie Metcalf and great acting or a fabulous set with a revolving cottage

Don't see it if You are not a mystery/thriller fan or any of the above

Intelligent, Overrated, Intense, Great acting, Delightful

See it if I thought it was great but they marketed Bruce Willis too hard when Laurie metcalf was the true star. Amazing acting from her!

Don't see it if You're expecting Bw to be really good, although I think his run is done at this point

Intense, Great writing, Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You like the movie You like Stephen King You like Suspense

Don't see it if You want to relax and forget about the tension in life.

Intense, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Profound, Great acting

See it if Similar to the book; Bruce Willis was good but thought would see more of his character; he's in bed a lot. A little unrealistic (hitting)

Don't see it if Not a lot of action; takes place mainly in the bedroom where he is held hostage most of the time.

Masterful, Great staging, Great writing, Great acting, Clever

See it if You like Bruce Willis. And it was pretty much like the movie.

Don't see it if If you expect it to be like movie or book dont go see the play. They couldnt put every sene in it or it would have be a very long play.

Must see, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if You enjoyed the movie. I went to see Bruce, but it is different. Laurie Metcalf is good in everything. No sign of Sheldon's mom here

Don't see it if You are a critic

Great staging, Riveting, Must see, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You are a fan of Laurie Metcalf. Her performance is EVERYTHING!!!!!!! If you love the story. If you love Stephen King

Don't see it if You only love musicals

Resonant, Intense, Great staging, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if You like suspense and the book

Don't see it if You don't like suspense or a slow build up

Intense, Riveting, Edgy, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You love the book!

Don't see it if You're a chicken.

Great staging, Quirky, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if Stephen King is one of your favorite authors as this show brings a familiar title from a different perspective.

Don't see it if don't like plays without an intermission.

Cast & Creatives (7)