New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

Six Degrees of Separation

From 53 critic and 433 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

About the show

John Guare's critically acclaimed drama returns to Broadway starring seven-time Emmy Award winner Allison Janney, Tony winner John Benjamin Hickey, and Corey Hawkins ('Straight Outta Compton'). More…

Inspired by a true story, this play follows the trail of Paul, a mysterious young con man who insinuates himself into the lives of a wealthy New York couple, claiming he’s the son of actor Sidney Poitier. After a shocking surprise, the couple tries to piece together the connections that brought him into their world.

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

The Wall Street Journal

"Cullman’s staging is exemplary, but it’s the play itself that makes the deepest impression...One of the strongest American plays of the postwar era...Everyone acts with the high-keyed, anti-naturalistic histrionics that Mr. Guare favors, and the resulting unanimity of tone serves the play well...You’ll be struck by how fresh and immediate it feels. That’s a pretty good working definition of a classic, which binds past and present together in a web of permanent relevance." Full Review


“A spectacular revival…’Six Degrees’ transcends its particulars and addresses something ineffably human: The terrifying gulf between how we see ourselves and how we need others to see us. That’s a theme for the ages…Hickey brings a powerful sense of irony to Flan…Hawkins is brilliant…Janney is utter conviction in conveying the transformation Paul has unwittingly, unexpectedly brought about in her...It’s only gained in power over the last quarter-century.” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

“Cullman's razor-sharp staging serves as a welcome reminder of the fiercely intelligent, pungently funny voice of playwright John Guare at his vintage best…While two sensational performances occupy the play's molten center, the entire large ensemble that surrounds them is on fire. That heat is due in part to Cullman's whiplash pacing...But it also rises from the play itself…It remains a work of stinging satirical brilliance...Hugely entertaining, clever and provocative." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

“John Guare’s masterpiece…A top-drawer group of artists, all of them at the top of their form…Mr. Hawkins brings us a protagonist of enormous vitality, charm, and charisma…John Benjamin Hickey perfectly partners with Ms. Janney…This is intelligent, thought-provoking theatre—rich and full of the full spectrum of human behavior and understanding. Trip Cullman’s direction has fully harvested the writing and the acting by calling on many contradictory styles.” Full Review

New York Daily News

“Broadway’s crazy good revival of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ is proof of theater’s enduring impact…Smart, juicy and still-potent…Surrounded by a crack ensemble of Broadway vets and newcomers, the three leads shine…Janney goes from above-it-all to something deeper when Paul’s ruses turn deadly serious...Hawkins is thoroughly convincing and seductive...Cullman’s energizing revival delivers its own thrills...An exhilarating, real-deal staging.” Full Review

AM New York

“Trip Cullman’s dazzling production captures the play’s many qualities as a dizzying farce, a gossipy one-on-one conversation, an attention-grabbing lecture, a drama about personal connection and a disturbing portrait of economic inequality and racial division...Hawkins gives a stunning performance that captures Paul’s dualities: refined and knowledgeable on the outside, wild and sexy underneath. Janney is hilarious, with priceless reactions to the craziness around her.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

“Guare’s social exercise remains witty and wise, yes, but it has added resonance as a glimpse at the recent but clearly distant past. What’s more, the three central performances are equal to what we had in 1990, as unexpected as that may be…Janney is a legit actress with a capital A…Time and again, she elicits audience roars with one-word lines...Janney seizes the stage, and the play, and controls it…The same can be said for Corey Hawkins as Paul...A superlative production." Full Review


“The 90-minute spree of imagination and acute psychological observation feels even more timely right now…The production, directed with compassion and merciless hilarity by Cullman, has a wonderful, luxuriously large cast, with some actors dropping in for just a few perfectly pitched scenes…The writing is giddy with the excitement of ideas…Yet, for all the interruptions and philosophical tangents, the play and production speed along with both elasticity and tight discipline.” Full Review

Edge New York

"Janney is creating a palpable chemistry with co-star Hawkins...It's abundantly clear why it received the Tony nomination for Best Revival of a Play...A play that is largely about how Paul makes this couple 'sort of see what's fraudulent in their own life.' Ouisa's realization of this fact drives the action of the play, which is frankly riveting. Watching this young man successfully remake himself from a street hustler into a gentleman is inspiring and heartbreaking, in equal measures." Full Review

Village Voice

“A vibrant new production…The play feels newly critical in our current neo–Gilded Age…As an analysis of the fault lines surrounding race in America, it also bristles today with a renewed urgency…Janney commands the stage with a calibrated mixture of poise, vulnerability, and bluntness. Hawkins scintillates in the role of Paul…Janney and Hawkins soon find their stride together, and as the play reaches its climax, they seize the rhythm of Guare's drama like a pair of virtuoso musicians.” Full Review


"Guare effectively toys with the audience's sympathy the same way Paul toys with the sympathies of his scam's targets...Though Janney's nailing of Guare's dry zingers is a delight to behold, her subtle unveiling of how the character's experience with Paul, however false, opens her eyes and heart to a world outside her bubble is the finer achievement...Hawkins' convincing contrast of Paul's fictional persona and his streetwise actual self is layered...A brisk and biting production." Full Review


“Cullman has satisfyingly teased Guare's agile shift of tone and style into a still-timely and entertaining whole…He's assembled a fine team of actors…Cullman steers the action-packed single act with a steady hand…The rest of the ensemble expertly mines Guare's witty text…The play itself is something of a clever theatrical con game. As staged and performed this time around it's a most entertaining and enjoyable game that deserves a place on your not-to-be-missed list.” Full Review

Time Out New York

“Yes, John Guare’s 1990 hit feels dated…And yet, it swings both ways. Guare’s elegant and elegiac social dramedy actually seems startlingly prophetic…Janney is a perfect Ouisa Kittredge: martini-dry and quick with a quip, almost undone by maternal instinct. Hickey flits amusingly about as her art-dealer and husband Flan…Trip Cullman directs with great panache...The cumulative effect, once you get over the retro vibe, is renewed respect for a disquieting, still-rewarding work.” Full Review


“Directed with laser precision by Cullman…Corey Hawkins’ performance sparks with charisma and intellectual hyperactivity…It's not hard to see why Ouisa is so mesmerized by Paul and vice versa…'Six Degrees of Separation' feels made for today…The young adults of ‘Six Degrees’ are like portentous omens of the next generation's (i.e. today's) disconnected elite, which Cullman stares down with hilarious absurdity.” Full Review

Theater Life

“Guare’s merciless observations of our media-driven, shallow society still hold…Trip Cullman’s sharp revival veers close to the edge of slickness in its satiric broad strokes, but never takes the fatal leap…Allison Janney slowly peals back Ouisa’s shell of sophistication to expose the vulnerable, confused woman beneath…A uniformly vibrant and large company…A still-relevant and entertaining play.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"The stunning revival is an uncomfortably funny reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same...Much of the play’s humor is in the interactions between the various sets of parents and their children...Janney gives a mesmerizing performance. She’s sharp and fast and funny, but brimming with intelligence and humanity. Her transformation is subtle and slow, but all the more moving for its thoughtfulness." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

"It’s as sharp and delightful as ever, skewering white liberal guilt, societal racism, and the child-rearing of the wealthy with glee and wit to spare...Guare does an expert job exploring the racial divide, one that hasn’t changed all that much in America since 1990...Janney and Hickey portray the quintessential Upper East Side couple with grace and skill...Hawkins is a worthy successor to previous Paul portrayers...The show is smoothly directed by Trip Cullman." Full Review

Simon SEEZ

“A splendidly acted and handsome production…What is gratifying to see is how the initial gripping power of the play is maintained to the end by director Cullman, who seems to have been able to further enhance the playwright’s vision…Even the play’s somewhat disappointing, fragmented denouement and vague dissolve don’t hinder our enjoyment...With obvious relish, the cast is extracting every ounce of innuendo out of the odd, sordid, tragic and even perverse doings." Full Review


"Playwright John Guare writes with deep humanity, and that beauty is on full display in this revival...The cast gives top-drawer performances, especially Janney and Hawkins...The fact that the social satire no longer has the same bite just shows the beautiful bones of Guare's work. Because even 27 years later, it is a show that compassionately explores even the dark side of human nature." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

“A beautifully unsettling Broadway revival…It’s aged nearly as well as the ‘Cats’ quips—far better than you’d expect…There’s plenty of profundity as well…On the outside, Ouisa is polished and buffed and shined to perfection, but inside, she’s ‘a collage of unaccounted-for brush strokes.’ In an argument with Flan, she asks him this question—one that I suspect Guare wants us all to ask ourselves: ‘How much of your life can you account for?’ Three days later, I still don’t have my answer.” Full Review

Pop Dust

"Janney brings all the class and hilarity we have come to expect from her...Corey Hawkins' interpretation of the role of Paul is nothing short of spectacular...The core cast here are all excellent...Director Trip Cullman has not only worked his cast into a delightful frenzy, he has cultivated a crystal clear semiotic system for the play...Taken as a revival, this is a brilliant piece of theater...Recommended to the discerning theatergoer." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"Guare’s tale feels more relevant at a time when our culture is hopelessly addicted to money and all things celebrity...It is recommended for Guare’s sharp, insightful taking down of the gullibility of the P.C. left. And for some truly excellent performances. Allison Janney is spot-on perfect with every expression and droll delivery. John Benjamin Hickey is equally fine...The strongest performance comes from Corey Hawkins." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Playwright John Guare’s 27-year-old piece holds just as much bite as it did when it emerged. Sharp satire is enhanced by on-target detail and wry syntax...Allison Janney is splendid, her appreciable comedic talents well showcased...John Benjamin Hickey does a yeoman like job but is miscast...Director Trip Cullman offers an interpretation with black humored snap and imagination. Staging is minimal and sharp-edged. When emotion shows itself, it’s all the more effective." Full Review

Daily Beast

“It is Channing’s shadow that the wonderful Allison Janney must escape from. This Janney does with all the command and blithe swagger you’d hope…This revival goes at a whipcrack pace…Janney and Hickey marshal the production engagingly—whether smug, tricked, or pained—and Hawkins as Paul is a coy, seductive, sly, and lively destabilizing presence…The satire of the true politics and character of rich Upper East Side liberals is pin-sharp.” Full Review


“Janney is a well-cast successor to Stockard Channing…It’s Hawkins who is the revelation as the deluded man so invested in his web of deceit that even he loses track of his identity…John Benjamin Hickey is great as the status-obsessed, acquisitive art dealer who can’t believe his wife has become enchanted by a petty criminal. Trip Cullman’s direction is peppy.” Full Review

Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if If you enjoy plays that deal with discussing the many pathways a person will take on their journey through life.

Don't see it if If you do not enjoy plays that deal with deep content.

Absorbing, Clever, Funny, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you are looking for a play that is as hilarious as it is thought provoking. It is a fantastic comedy but also forces out important thought.

Don't see it if you are looking for something mindless. This play is absolutely brilliant but it will move a lot of thought about the world and society.

Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if You enjoy well acted, thought provoking and intelligent plays. Throughly interesting and absorbing. Both funny and intense.

Don't see it if The concept of all of us being connected does not intrigue you. You're looking for light hearted or musical. You want something linear.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Must see

See it if You enjoy brilliantly acted plays and Alison Janney's acting.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy plays or you are offended by nudity

Delightful, Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious, Intelligent

See it if you love fast, brilliant, zingy dialogue, and don't mind occasionally squirming when reminded of a time you behaved in a patronizing manner.

Don't see it if you'd rather be home watching "Duck Dynasty."

Also I missed this first time around, all those years ago, and was always s... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great singing

See it if Want to see great acting with sparkling dialogue, this is the one. It goes so fast you'll wish there was more!

Don't see it if You don't know a little about the story, some references are a bit dated.

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Riveting

See it if you'd like to see a great cast in a great production.

Don't see it if you don't like straight plays.

Absorbing, Great acting, Funny, Edgy, Clever

See it if You like dramas.

Don't see it if You are a prude.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Must see

See it if you want to see masterful acting and brilliant writing

Don't see it if there is no reason not to see this

Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You like great plays with great writing.

Don't see it if you want a children's play or something dumb. This is good and smart.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if you love phenomenal performances, plays that are funny, while simultaneously making you think.

Don't see it if you are sensitive to full male nudity.

Exquisite, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Refreshing

See it if A great cast in a classic play interests you

Don't see it if You don't like the play

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant, Funny

See it if You enjoy theater that surprises you and makes you laugh while subtly exploring class, privilege, race and the human need for one another.

Don't see it if You dislike the 80s, rich people, or theater with lots of talking.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Must see

See it if You enjoy watching a tight, professional, amazing cast perform a provocative play.

Don't see it if You do not enjoy thought provoking shows which may make you uncomfortable.

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Masterful, Must see

See it if You're a fan of the classic and want to see a new take.

Don't see it if It's limited run. You need to see it.

Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Must see

See it if you love Allison Janney (and who doesn't?) and you suspected that the play would be better than the film (you were right).

Don't see it if you are bothered by sex and nudity.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Insightful

See it if you enjoy social satire with brilliant performances. Allison Janney is SUBLIME!

Don't see it if you prefer text with literal meaning. This show is a satire of the 1%; the dialogue is not meant to be taken at face value.

Absorbing, Hilarious, Moving, Adult, Human

See it if you want to see Great Theatre with a Supreme cast of leads. You will regret years from now not seeing Allison Janney's performance at least

Don't see it if No. GO SEE IT before it closes Sunday. It will stimulate you.

Also A crime that Janney was not nominated--we will now lose her to Hollywo... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You're a fan of the play or of Allison Janney. It's a great production, directed masterfully by Trip Cullman

Don't see it if You don't like shows with a lot of exposition. This one takes a little while to get into the swing of things

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if you want to see great actors perform in a thought provoking play.

Don't see it if you've seen the original play and don't like revivals.

Also I didn't expect to like the play as much as I did. Their were parts of... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Resonant, Great writing, Relevant

See it if you have an open mind about relationships, class; if you appreciate the intricacies of what we know and DON'T know about who people are

Don't see it if you need to draw immediate conclusions about people; have a very closed mind about race and how it defines people.

Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if You liked the movie, Allison Janney, or Corey Hawkins- great acting; so funny. Jon Hickey was gracious. Stayed true to movie. Set is gorge!

Don't see it if You're opposed to gay or racial subtext, full male nudity, no intermission, or disliked the film. No reason not to see; all roles were good.

Great acting, Great staging, Entertaining, Quirky, Must see

See it if You love theatre. Allison Janney and Corey Hawkins blew me away. The direction was flawless and very funny!

Don't see it if Do see it, no reason not to.

Vibrant,, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Must see

See it if for the updated version if you've seen it before (or not) and for the spot on acting; especially Janney

Don't see it if sophisticates being duped and deceived is unrealistic to you

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you love the movie or want to see great individual performances.

Don't see it if you are bringing your kids to the theatre.

Cast & Creatives (25)