Members say: Great acting, Funny, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Relevant

About the show

Obie Award winner Young Jean Lee takes her comic and ruthless look at the classic American father-son drama to Broadway, in a new production starring Armie Hammer and Josh Charles.

... Read more

It’s Christmas Eve, and Ed has gathered his three adult sons to celebrate with matching pajamas, trash-talking, and Chinese takeout. But when a question they can’t answer interrupts their holiday cheer, they are forced to confront their own identities. This is one white Christmas like you’ve never seen before. Directed by Tony Award winner Anna D. Shapiro.

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Offer valid for performances through September 9, 2018 only. All prices include $2.00 facility fee. There is an 8 ticket limit per order. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer may be revoked of modified at any time without notice.


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The Observer

"Anna D. Shapiro’s shrewd, pitch-perfect staging and the hugely charismatic cast make the whole affair both immensely pleasurable and increasingly disturbing...So the play works both as a political satire/PC PSA and also as a philosophical study of human limitations. It does both brilliantly because Lee is, in fact, one of our boldest living playwrights...For a hard, clinical look at mediocrity, 'Straight White Men' is thrillingly great." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"A beautifully acted, richly layered production that unfolds in both familiar and surprisingly subtle ways...On the surface, it is an often funny examination of familial relationships, gender roles, and white privilege within a warm and loving family...Underneath it gently offers a perspective that may challenge your assumptions...The overall performances, the direction, and the very smart and original writing make 'Straight White Men' a sure-fire bet and a winner for Second Stage." Full Review


"Given how physically playful the brothers are with each other--and with their father--'Straight White Men' is that rare play that even has a credited choreographer, Faye Driscoll. In addition to making good on the promise he made in last year's 'Call Me By Your Name,' that he was an actor to be watched--and not only because he's so attractive--Armie Hammer proves especially deft with Driscoll's many maneuvers, like leaping on or off the sofa or a coffee table." Full Review

Broadway News

"Together the actors illuminate the play with a combination of boisterousness and humor that still leaves room for the sadness simmering underneath...The play unfolds naturalistically, within a new device that feels unnecessary...'Straight White Men,' a smart, funny and affecting play that reaffirms Lee’s status as one of the most important playwrights working today, questions traditional notions of what a successful life might mean." Full Review


"In 'Straight White Men,' Young Jean Lee’s cutting but deeply humane satire about straight white male privilege and pain, Armie Hammer, Josh Charles and, in an especially heart-wrenching performance, Paul Schneider play three brothers with mid-life issues. In director Anna D. Shapiro’s super-smart production...The re-written version of the play seems to have extended and pumped up the fun and games from the original version." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"A thought-provoking play by Young Jean Lee with a terrifically entertaining cast...To her credit, the playwright doesn’t provide any clear answers herself...Lee has created her most accessible play... It is often funny, sometimes exhilarating...Shapiro (along with choreographer Faye Driscoll) works wonders in landing all the physical comedy." Full Review

Broadway & Me

“Under the vibrant direction of Shapiro gave me an evening in the theater that was both thought-provoking and entertaining...Under Shapiro's steady hand, all three actors appear totally comfortable onstage and deliver performances that go far beyond cameo status...Shapiro finally tapped the show's understudy Stephen Payne to play Ed. Payne isn't a name like his co-stars but he is additional proof that this director really knows what her play needs." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"It’s nuanced, curious, and compassionate. That’s not to say it’s comfortable—Lee’s sense of mischief and her expert control of tension are still at play—but it is, in its bones, gentle...For all its clear-eyed examination of certain kinds of meanness—the most insidious of which look a lot like caring—'Straight White Men' isn’t a mean play, and that feels like one of the most important things about it right now." Full Review

Stage Left

"Tightly directed and finely acted...The lamentable absence of Ms. Lee’s voice on America’s most prominent stages is made stark following the impressive 90 minutes of her smart, funny, and surprising play, which proves the vitality and importance of elevating diverse voices in the American theater...This brisk, entertaining, and deeply thought-provoking play is never strident or sentimental. Lee, aided by Shapiro and her outstanding ensemble of actors, keep the story deeply human in its telli... Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"Supported by director Anna D. Shapiro’s taut production, they take a funny, poignant, provocative look at family, gender roles, and 'progressive' tolerance. Lee destabilises the traditional naturalistic living room play with Brechtian elements...Lee probes masculinity, power, and the gendered value of labour. She deftly captures the family’s rhythms as they oscillate from teasing to concern to argument, breaking the tension with humour and physicality." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“The set up is cute and surprisingly nuanced, even with the loudly annoying pre-show music blasting our ear drums...Whip smart and decidedly captivating...The cast as a whole enact the lives and loves of white men of privilege with integrity and exacting attitude. As directed with an easy playful style under the conceptual eye of Anna D. Shapiro, the family satirical drama unfolds beautifully.” Full Review


"'Straight White Men' isn't as class-blind as I initially thought. Rather, it is a hard look at the underlying assumptions of the American upper-middle class that disproportionately makes up Broadway audiences...If viewers really watch and listen, even the queerest, brownest, and femalest audience members might find they have more in common with straight white men than they would care to admit." Full Review


“Part of the play's cleverness was the many ways the piece could be taken...This playful new version is faster, funnier and played within a specific context with a far more focused point of view...To describe these four characters, ‘liberal; would be a good choice, although, it's their contrasting degrees of liberal thinking and actions that fuel the proceedings...The definition of success as defined by the privileged class for the privilege class, is where ‘Straight White Men’ becomes volati... Full Review

Time Out New York

"Anna D. Shapiro’s Broadway production feels broader than the one that Lee directed at the Public in 2014, and the performances are somewhat uneven: The cocky Charles and the cryptically recessive Schneider are excellent, whereas Payne still seems to be finding his footing. Hammer, in his stage debut, leans on sincerity a bit heavily but radiates charm, which goes a long way...She may poke fun at these guys as they poke at each other, but Lee is not dismissive." Full Review

The New York Times

"Under Ms. Lee’s direction at the Public, the play was shaggier and, paradoxically, more coherent; something about this knotty material, with its complex point of view and shifting tonalities, benefits from a crude attack. In the current production, I missed the brutality of the final confrontations, which now seem to pass in a haze of tough love. That said, 'Straight White Men' is still an exceedingly odd — and thus welcome — presence on Broadway. It remains undeniably powerful." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Both a realistic play and a critique of realism. As the play revs up, under Anna D Shapiro’s brisk, lucid direction and the company’s spry, self-aware acting, the drama’s engine starts to overheat. And Lee is happy to let it burn...Though there’s a final Ibsenite discussion scene nothing resolves. Because how can it? No play, however shrewd, can change or compass the profound inequalities of American life, or even of American theater, and Lee is clever enough to know that." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"The arresting and provocative story...winds up being very upsetting despite big doses of laughter...As the play develops, the interactions build to serious, deeply upsetting confrontations...The actors are all very convincing in their characterizations. Thus the play becomes riveting despite its contrivances and unanswered questions. There is ample fuel for post-play thoughts and discussions, slickly engendered by the author’s writing. The production has been superbly directed." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Shapiro’s direction seems effortless as the play navigates the seasonal joy that suddenly turns sour...Extraneous ornamentation notwithstanding, 'Straight White Men' is a powerful piece of theater that asks the same universal questions Matt is asking about his own identity. Three sons from the same environment have ingested the same core values in strikingly different ways. This production is like a Christmas present with too much wrapping, but once you open the box, you love what’s inside." Full Review


"This is no dysfunctional family drama; these men all care about each other. Deeply...But the resolution, surprising as it may be, is unimportant. 'As foreign as they are to us,' Defoe gives us the crux in the opening speech, 'we’re gonna try to find some understanding for straight white men. That’s what we wish everyone would do for us.'" Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"The play examines toxic masculinity and white male privilege while making you disappointed that modern men still haven’t harnessed their strength in a positive movement the way women have with feminism. The dysfunction in 'Straight White Men' is relatable...At times it feels like each is waiting his turn for the next line they need to nail, but overall the cast delivers magnetic and profound performances, sandwiching harsh truths between jokes and even some adorable dance moves." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"'Straight White Men' is great fun for much of its time, but the play falters when it attempts to explore more serious terrain. The playwright doesn't manage to convey successfully what she's trying to say about the expectations that inevitably accompany privilege...Nonetheless, the evening succeeds to a large degree thanks to the sharply funny comic writing, the impeccable direction by Shapiro and the superb performances of an ensemble who display tremendous chemistry together." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

“The direction and acting are polished and confident...Shapiro and her vibrant cast infuse zest and sting into what could have been a staged doctoral thesis...Not much happens for the first hour or so in the way of plot...The play is a weird blend of traditional family drama in the Arthur Miller vein, and a meta-view of those plays. It’s funny and entertaining, yet distant and cold at the same time.” Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"The ensemble acting is terrific; while the actors look nothing alike, they show a real chemistry...Shapiro directs with assurance. The title promises too much; the characters are a very specific, atypical subset of straight white maledom. While the play offers much to enjoy, it does not go that deeply into the questions it raises." Full Review

Daily Beast

"Clever if puzzling play...Directed with a brilliant, electric intimacy by Shapiro...Lee’s writing is sharply funny, with the gags and one-liners flowing sitcom-speed thick and fast...None of the straight white men on stage behave like the worst incarnations of straight white men. That’s Lee’s big trick on the audience...All of this domestic drama and comedy is beautifully written, acted, and directed...The energy of the play dips with its late-breaking battery of earnestness." Full Review

On and Off Broadway

"Lee, the playwright, is a woman; and this play reveals her uncanny awareness of the ways in which men think and behave...The cast is impeccable playing four beautifully written men who are what used to be the mainstream of American life...More than just a complaint, I still ask why Shapiro or Lee felt a Rock’n Roll blast and a wild silver show curtain were needed to set the play up. But it does scream out at us: 'This is not a revival! This is today’s world!'" Full Review

Clever, Thought-provoking, Must see, Relevant, Smart

See it if This play looks at straight white men and their lives from a new vantage point. See it if you like clever new writing and excellent acting.

Don't see it if You can't imagine a new take on the father-son drama. See it anyway.

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Hilarious, Choppy

See it if You want to see a very funny show that’s also tender and smart and full of good topical insights. Mostly great acting and clever staging.

Don't see it if You can’t overlook a few choppy moments that just don’t seem to flow as smoothly as real life does. Feels slightly forced to make its point.

Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You enjoy great acting and a thought provoking play that is funny and endearing.

Don't see it if You prefer fluffy inconsequential plays.

Funny, Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You enjoy a fun plot that shows a way of life through great actors.

Don't see it if You prefer drama or musicals.

Funny, Intelligent, Resonant, Charming, Familiar

See it if you’d enjoy a traditional family drama with a downtown edge; both easy-going and relentlessly thought-provoking. Excellent production!

Don't see it if You hate even an inkling of identity politics. You need everything tied up nicely in a bow at the end.

Funny, Intelligent, Must see, Relevant, Superb direction

See it if You want to see a finely written play about toxic masculinity issues that is given a near perfect production.

Don't see it if You prefer your theater to be quietly spoonfed to you.

Also I saw this play in LA in 2015 (at the Kirk Douglas, directed by the pl... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Relevant, Great writing

See it if This play upends conventions in a very insidious way. It's the outsiders view of these conventions that packs the punch.

Don't see it if You want to stay asleep to the questions of privilege that this play raises.

Funny, Absorbing, Quirky, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you want to see a hilarious, insightful examination of privilege, masculinity & brotherhood. The talented cast has great energy & chemistry.

Don't see it if you are not open to frank discussions about white privilege, sexism & racism. You dislike loud music & characters breaking the fourth wall.

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if you want to see a show that very cleverly shows white male privilege, but also is fun to watch. Armie Hammer and Josh Charles dancing = :)

Don't see it if you would actually have physical problems with very loud music and lights, like a club.

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if A sensitive compilation of family interaction now and in the past. Wonderful writing and acting. I loved the show

Don't see it if I can’t imagine anyone not finding something in this show to relate to

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You like shows that feel truthful, funny, poignant, and sad.

Don't see it if You do not have a sense of humor about life and human foibles.

Absorbing, Great acting, Confusing, Hilarious

See it if You are into contemporary straight plays like The Humans. A richly detailed play with humor and darkness. Beautifully acted.

Don't see it if You are expecting a logical or coherent ending. A profound show that makes some interesting points but comes off too abstract in the end.

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if you like good writing and good acting. I found it very engaging.

Don't see it if you don't like plays (vs. musicals), although this was an easy one to enjoy.

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Relevant

See it if you enjoy intense plots about racial and family relationships.

Don't see it if you do not want to see a play about racial and family stereotypes.

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if Great acting and a great reflection on fathers and sons and siblings.

Don't see it if You expect a gay theme

Also Enjoyed this show. Actors are really good and the story line is engagi... Read more Read less

Funny, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You are interested in different manifestations of white privilege, father-son relationships, or grew up with siblings.

Don't see it if You want a gift wrapped ending that solves the world's problems, or if you don't enjoy a little silly humor here or there.

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Cliched

See it if See the show if you enjoy family interactions, some humor but mostly serious

Don't see it if If you do not tolerate light touches about tough subjects

Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Not as good as off- bwy version

See it if You like plays about white privilege and the burden it brings to some men.This focuses on a father & 3 brothers. Just go watch Armie Hammer!

Don't see it if You are easily bored by repetitive conversation and brotherly competition. Bullying Silly at times Cacaphonous music before the show

Also This play was originally shown at the Public Theater on a much smaller... Read more Read less

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you like the cast who do terrific jobs, want to see funny show with "hidden" serious undertones, want to see something unexpected

Don't see it if you're expecting a tirade about male privilege, don't like men behaving like children, can't deal with a truly exasperating character

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy a play that makes you think and continue to question. A more profound show than many, including critics, seem to realize.

Don't see it if you are strictly interested in being entertained and like happy endings.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if You want a glimpse into bro-culture, and this captures the specificity of family behavior -acting is strong

Don't see it if disinterested in expectations of straight white men. I wasn’t a fan of the narrative device of “person in charge” framing play

Also I think the playwright should have audience figure out irony of title ... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if watching three brothers and their father deal with family issues. with one brother having a problem accepting one brothers choice in status

Don't see it if male family drama does not sound interesting

Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Disappointing

See it if you want some serious family drama and thought-provoking messaging.

Don't see it if you're looking for sheer entertainment.

Funny, Thought-provoking, Profound, Resonant

See it if you believe that people should live up to the expectations that society thrusts upon them. This may make you reconsider that notion.

Don't see it if you’re blinded by the title. Open your mind and watch this insightful play that happens to leverage white men to discuss universal themes.

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You are open to serious, thought-provoking drama about family relationships assessing interactions as they develop from childhood

Don't see it if While waiting for the play to begin, rap music is literally blasted to intoleration. The lyrics are pure profanity. Set up as discomfort

Also to adulthood. Toleration and understanding are key issues emphasized t... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (14)