Six Degrees of Separation
Closed 1h 30m
Six Degrees of Separation
82

Six Degrees of Separation NYC Reviews and Tickets

82%
(435 Reviews)
Positive
94%
Mixed
6%
Negative
0%
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').

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Member Reviews (435)

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70
Dated, Well acted, Intense, Overrated, Great pacing

See it if you are fascinated by this based-on-RL story of an impostor on UES. Great 1st half (80), not great 2nd (60)=70. Played broadly for laughs.

Don't see it if you find it grating to have college kids played as screeching brats. Or you hate waste: huge 18-actors w/ most lines spoken by 3 of them. Read more

79
Confusing, Edgy, Excruciating, Fluffy, Indulgent

See it if good acting, good sets very moving at some points.

Don't see it if can get slow, get away from plot at times.

Critic Reviews (53)

The New York Times
April 25th, 2017

“An earthbound revival of Guare’s marvelous ‘Six Degrees of Separation’…Mr. Hawkins transforms a fatally mixed-up character into something close to a tragic hero…Ms. Janney is a highly credible Ouisa…The deception of the Kittredges and their society pals always had its farcical elements. But they have been heightened here at the expense of poignancy…It’s a tone that screeches as the play becomes darker, especially in the sequences involving Paul’s gulling of a naïve aspiring actor.”
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Time Out New York
April 26th, 2017

“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.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
April 25th, 2017

“At the edges, the play has been softened by time and by a production that gets a few things wrong. But at the core, especially in the character of Ouisa as now portrayed by the spectacular Allison Janney, it gets everything right...Cullman emphasizes the traditional theatrical elements as a way of comforting the audience when, I kept feeling, it ought to be afflicted…But even softened slightly as it is in this production, the play’s brutal message to sophisticates, comes through.”
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The Hollywood Reporter
April 25th, 2017

“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."
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Entertainment Weekly
April 25th, 2017

“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.”
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Variety
April 25th, 2017

“Despite the vitalizing presence of Allison Janney in director Trip Cullman’s elegant revival, ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ lacks the comic bite of the original production…Guare has a great ear for inane small talk, and his conversational dialogue is pitilessly funny…Hawkins is a total charmer who effortlessly inhabits Paul’s preppy persona…Janney’s wicked, smart delivery is perfect for Guare’s witty dialogue. But she’s also uncommonly sensitive to Ouisa’s desperate need for someone to care for.”
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The Wall Street Journal
April 25th, 2017

"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."
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Deadline
April 25th, 2017

“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.”
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New York Daily News
April 25th, 2017

“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.”
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AM New York
April 25th, 2017

“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.”
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Theatermania
April 25th, 2017

“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.”
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BroadwayWorld
April 27th, 2017

"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."
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Lighting & Sound America
May 1st, 2017

"Deprived of its novelty, one sees more clearly the shaky construction of Guare's script...Guare's comic dialogue still sparkles, but Trip Cullman's direction presses for laughs, discounting the sadness at the play's center. Some performances disappoint...Near the end, a bitterly unhappy Ouisa insists that what she now recognizes as a profound experience not be made into an anecdote; in this production, it comes across as an anecdote."
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Talkin' Broadway
April 25th, 2017

“Though Cullman has enforced ultrasharp pacing, many of the early scenes, nonetheless have a leaden feel…Janney takes a while to build her portrayal, but once she's in the swing of it you can all but see certain embers of perception flare and die within Ouisa…There's no shortage of laughs here, but everything could stand just a little more oomph. But that isn't required for ‘Six Degrees’ to hit its marks, and you walk away from it impressed anew at the power it still wields."
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Theater Pizzazz
April 27th, 2017

"Guare writes big. There’s no reason Trip Cullman needs to direct big as well. Guare’s words need no enhancements. Yet Cullman places everything in your face, in a form reminiscent of sketch comedy...Happy to say, as the play progresses, it finds its rhythm and turns down the volume. Janney settles more into a Ouisa we get close to...What’s amazing about 'Six Degrees' is the amount of ground it covers: race, class, wealth, sexuality."
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CurtainUp
April 25th, 2017

“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.”
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Front Row Center
April 28th, 2017

"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."
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Stage Buddy
May 1st, 2017

"Director Trip Cullman elicits fine performances from his entire cast, but two stand out as particularly well-calibrated. Janney is magical as the conflicted Ouisa...Similarly, Hawkins inhabits Paul with a subtlety that belies an enigma. To maintain such a veneer that you can never tell what is truly lying underneath takes a skill that is breathtaking to watch. The product of these actors makes 'Six Degrees of Separation' worthy of connecting to audiences again."
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Front Mezz Junkies
April 25th, 2017

“Janney gives a performance worthy of comparison to Channing…The clownish quality the children are directed to take does them no favors…The serious turn of events requires a breath and a pause, but it felt like the director kept the action barreling forward. It spirals forward like a car skidding towards a snowbank…It doesn’t crash, but some moments of deep engagement might have been misplaced. It does retain its intimacy though. Throughout.”
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Exeunt Magazine
May 3rd, 2017

"I wish Janney and director Trip Cullman had found ways to slowly craft and build her growth. We needed to feel it throughout her performance, not just understand it in the final analysis at the play’s close. Corey Hawkins is a standout...The play was funnier than I remember it being, even lighter...It is a taut production by Cullman, with a breathless pace to boot. But it could have afforded a few more measured moments to let an idea or a line of dialogue marinate."
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T
June 1st, 2017

"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."
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Broadway Blog
April 26th, 2017

“Trip Cullman's direction charges the play with the high-energy antics and rapid pace of drawing room farce, much of it too broad…Carefully timed physical business is abundant, like a madcap chase involving the hustler, whose total nudity is a bad choice in search of a cheap laugh. But, as per the script, the tone changes awkwardly with the Rick and Elizabeth sequence, making us unsure about when and when not to laugh…Allison Janney…brings her star radiance to Ouisa.”
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DC Theatre Scene
April 25th, 2017

“It is funny – sometimes very funny — well crafted, coated with a patina of sparkling sophistication, even at times pointed and almost poignant. It’s an enjoyable entertainment. But it does not add up to the significant experience that Allison Janney’s character feels...It does not offer the profound insights that the playwright evidently intends...I couldn’t resist feeling that these stabs at erudition and emotion and symbolism were something of a con.”
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B
May 11th, 2017

"It isn’t often these days that you see a straight play with 18 actors on Broadway, so I salute the producers for bringing us this expensive revival...My biggest complaint about the play is the episode in which 'Paul' cons two young would-be actors from Utah with tragic results. It is an abrupt shift from the satire of the rest of the play. I found director Trip Cullman’s approach to the play generally too broad."
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The Huffington Post
April 25th, 2017

“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."
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The Wrap
April 25th, 2017

“Retains its place as one of the great American plays of the late 20th century…Guare’s insightful portrait of that high society survives even Cullman’s far too brash direction of this revival…Cullman directs ‘Six Degrees’ as a not very sophisticated farce, especially in the play’s first half. Janney and Hickey are diverting; they display razor-sharp timing, but they go for the laughs by stressing the characters’ materialism…The broadness of these performances also undercuts the role of Paul.”
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W
May 5th, 2017

"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."
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T
May 6th, 2017

“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.”
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Newsday
April 25th, 2017

“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.”
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The Stage (UK)
April 25th, 2017

“Though dated in some aspects, the play still has a shimmering allure, thanks to its Albee-esque delight in language and its vivid portrayal of their willingness to be taken in by Paul's reflected celebrity…Janney's performance is a lesson in perfectly manicured manners. She is well partnered by John Benjamin Hickey, as the urbane Flan. But the revelation is rising actor Corey Hawkins' performance as the interloper Paul. He brings an innocence to the character that makes his lie feel plausible.”
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Towleroad
April 26th, 2017

"A stylish but tame revival...The conceit is less than wholly convincing...The Kittredges in director Cullman’s droll, slick production don’t need much convincing to take in a stranger, who seems perfectly nice, if not altogether captivating. When it becomes clear that Paul duped them, they set out to discover how, and why, he did it...Why he did it is still what makes Guare’s drama so probing and provocative."
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The Huffington Post
May 6th, 2017

“Awkward and noisy and obvious when it’s not confused…As directed by Trip Cullman it now seems to be about the children of privilege as much as their parents. One struggles to drum up interest in any of them…The marvelous Janney seems perfect to take on the role of Ousia but it still seems haunted a bit by Channing’s bravura turn the first time around...It’s not technology that has dated ‘Six Degrees of Separation.’ It’s time.”
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Daily Beast
April 26th, 2017

“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.”
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WNBC
April 25th, 2017

“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.”
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Simon SEEZ
April 29th, 2017

“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."
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T
May 8th, 2017

"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."
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DC Metro Theater Arts
April 25th, 2017

“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.”
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TheaterScene.com
April 28th, 2017

"The revival, directed a bit tentatively by Cullman, doesn’t outrage and astonish as did the original. Overfamiliarity, perhaps, but also a noticeable sanding down of the original’s hard edges...Questions still resonate, but a little less forcefully than they did the first time around...It’s entertaining, it’s witty, it’s thoughtful, and it’s refreshing to see a stage full of so many actors, mostly on their game. But the you-have-to-see-this atmosphere that pervaded has largely evaporated."
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Out Magazine
May 1st, 2017

"In the nineties, this story—and play—had shock value, but now, in the age of identity theft and Internet fraud, it doesn’t quite have the same pull. But Trip Cullman’s production is strong, with Allison Janney nailing the laughs...John Benjamin Hickey and Corey Hawkins are good...One sequence relies on a lot of screaming to get sitcommy effects, but mainly the tone is wry, as the characters break the fourth wall with monologues and asides."
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NJ.com
April 25th, 2017

“Overplays the comedy and obscures the tragedy of this ingenious, complex and haunting play…Cullman turns up the dial on the farcical aspects of Guare's rapid-fire script, sending the story and the characters spilling into cartoonishness. By the second half, when 'Six Degrees' shifts into much darker terrain, this production has lost its footing…The lead actors all seem off, lacking in substance (Hickey), or mystery (Hawkins), or, in Janney's case, unwilling to plumb the depths of anguish."
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W
April 29th, 2017

"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."
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Act Three - The Reviews
April 25th, 2017

“The cast performed like a well-oiled machine…Janney mastered the script with aplomb and seemed to be the perfect fit for the intelligent, slightly overbearing, and confidently funny and sarcastic wife...Corey Hawkins (Paul) seemed to be born to play the role of con-man—devilishly handsome and debonair, intelligent, well spoken, and slick as all heck…Trip Cullman's direction seemed to embrace the large stage and use it effectively…It was a bit confusing to follow at times.”
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Town & Country
April 25th, 2017

“Janney is excellent in the part, a commanding, haughty WASP matron who can’t shake her sense of decency. Hickey’s character lacks that shading, so his strong performance is less memorable. Corey Hawkins makes a fine Paul, effortlessly selling all his personas. And almost three decades after its debut, the play’s commentary on race and class remains incisive. But other parts have aged less well…A great play with great performances but very much a creature of its time."
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Z
April 26th, 2017

“Janney can do more with one little finger than most performers can manage with their entire bodies. And that voice. That deep, dry, hilarious, wonderful voice. She’s one of those rare ones who can make you laugh as hard as she can make you cry...Paul is played by Corey Hawkins with simplicity and pathos…The children are the production’s major flaws—they are played for whining, selfish, screeching comic effect, and the play suffers for the superficial characterizations.”
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StageZine
May 3rd, 2017

"Despite some elements that make the show 'dated,' playwright Guare’s drama remains relevant because it has volumes to say about class, race and American society. There is plenty to enjoy in this reboot, including some fine performances, but Cullman’s direction is puzzling and dilutes the tone and theme of the story...Although the show has many funny lines, ultimately 'Six Degrees' should be presented as a tragedy, and Mr. Cullman just misses the mark in all the wrong places."
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Film Festival Traveler
April 29th, 2017

"An acidly funny takedown of the white upper crust, and their racism, classism and homophobia...Channing made Guare’s questionable narrative leap for Ouisa plausible, even touching, and in the new production—staged savvily, if at times too frantically, by Cullman—Janney does the same, equaling her predecessor’s effortless command of the stage....Wonderfully complementing Janney is John Benjamin Hickey...Corey Hawkins brings a formidable mix of charm and menace to Paul."
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Pop Dust
April 28th, 2017

"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."
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Live Theatre UK
April 25th, 2017

“Cullman’s production bristles with clarity and sureness...Janney's final speeches are magical; the kind of experience you go to Broadway hoping to find…Hickey is quite wonderful as Flan…Less convincing was Hawkins, whose Paul was simply not charismatic enough to convince as the linchpin of events…Nevertheless, the crisp writing, the deft direction, and the centerpiece performances from Janney and Hickey make the 90 minutes pass easily, with attention fully engaged.”
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Edge New York
May 4th, 2017

"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."
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Reclining Standards
April 25th, 2017

“One of the great plays of its moment—hell, of any moment…It’s as wonderful—and as fresh—as ever. It deserves better than director Trip Cullman’s glossy, shallow revival. In Cullman’s hands, within the first few minutes, all three central characters reveal their least appealing traits…Guare’s script is filled with beautiful, lyrical ruminations on our passions and foibles. Seen here, played at high speed and with sitcom-y aggressiveness, they barely register."
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Village Voice
May 10th, 2017

“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.”
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Paste Magazine
May 1st, 2017

“Still resonates powerfully…Unfortunately, Cullman’s dubious direction steers swaths of the play well off the mark. He creates a loud, hysterical environment that may have been intended to play as farce to show how artificial the world of the elite is but instead frequently flops, creating a distance between the play and the audience...Fortunately, Janney...grounds her performance and gives Ouisa enough sincerity to lend the climactic scenes...the power that Paul’s earliest scenes provided."
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NYC Theatre Addict
April 15th, 2017

“There is an impossibility to this story…This hustler is able to fool everyone and all he offers is a slick, well-rehearsed demeanor, a race card that he is happy to play when it is to his advantage and an ambiguous sexuality that he is happy to carve off a piece and serve you—if it serves him…The play was just wonderfully cast. I might have picked someone with a bit more instant charisma then Corey Hawkins to play the hustler."
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