The Cherry Orchard (Roundabout)
Closed 2h 15m
The Cherry Orchard (Roundabout)
61

The Cherry Orchard (Roundabout) NYC Reviews and Tickets

61%
(360 Reviews)
Positive
36%
Mixed
43%
Negative
21%
Members say
Disappointing, Slow, Confusing, Great acting, Ambitious

About the Show

Roundabout Theatre Company presents Tony winner Stephen Karam's new adaptation of Anton Chekhov's classic, starring Diane Lane, Celia Keenan-Bolger, and Tony winners Chuck Cooper, John Glover, and Joel Grey.

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Member Reviews (360)

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47
Confusing, Disappointing, Slow, Indulgent, Banal

See it if Innate love for Chekhov allows you ability to put up with dreadful productions ---which this is

Don't see it if Horrible, inept adaptation by Karam & arty, over-conceptualized direction by Godwin ultimately defeats able cast

71
They'd burn down the orchard to get your attention

See it if /4 top cast including Diane Lane, John Glover, Celia Kennan-Bolger & Joel Gray, updated script/production make accessible 2 modern audience

Don't see it if in playing up humor & spectacle, dumb down play, sacrificing transcendent poetry & heartbreak of original script; left w/ is this Chekhov?

Critic Reviews (45)

The New York Times
October 16th, 2016

"This frenzied, flashy take on one family’s mortgage crisis may be the most clueless interpretation of Chekhov I have seen. And, yes, that includes high school...It’s impossible to discern a coherent point of view...From the get-go, people are forever falling down, tripping over furniture, breaking things, and, it would seem, forgetting their lines. Yet there’s no spontaneity in their clumsiness, nor any sense of the cast members sharing a common approach."
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Time Out New York
October 16th, 2016

“The only question is whether a new frame or filter works on its own terms. And with this thoughtful but often schematic and disjointed 'Cherry Orchard,' the answer is: only in spurts...Godwin works well with several excellent actors…All the actors' bodies are in uncommonly strong dialogue with each other…By stylizing Chekhov's world, the human stakes and basic relationships are drained of power. ‘The Cherry Orchard’ can survive harder ax blows, but this attempt is just so much peeled bark.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
October 16th, 2016

"No one sets out to under-serve Chekhov. The problem is that all hands must be seeking to serve in the same way. Here that does not appear to be the case...The large Roundabout cast often does well enough giving sharp physical life to individual characters...But, lacking a coherent group style, the ensemble nature of the play feels ragged, as if drastically under-rehearsed...The result feels more like an engaging gloss of 'The Cherry Orchard' rather than the thing itself."
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The Hollywood Reporter
October 16th, 2016

“In 'The Humans,' Karam balances humor and melancholy with exquisite naturalism. The subtly shaped text is light on narrative but alive with a compassionate sense of very real people...What could be more Chekhovian? That makes the thudding failure of Karam's new version all the more deflating. The bulk of the blame should be apportioned to Godwin's production, which is clumsily directed and unattractively designed...What's missing, primarily, is the fundamental element of pathos."
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Entertainment Weekly
October 16th, 2016

"From the start, the Roundabout Theatre Company’s loud, broad revival makes no attempt to find a tragicomic balance...Not everyone seems to have received director Simon Godwin’s go-big-or-go-home memo. Joel Grey is indescribably endearing, and quietly funny. Celia Keenan Bolger is giving a beautifully understated performance. As for Lane, her performance, still a bit tentative, falls somewhere in between...Perrineau just looks uncomfortable. As do too many other people on stage."
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Variety
October 16th, 2016

"Diane Lane takes her shot in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway revival of Chekhov’s most beloved play—and proves to be engaging, if not remarkable. Not that anyone really has a chance to shine in director Simon Godwin’s shapeless production...'The Cherry Orchard' normally brings tears and laughter to the coldest of hearts. But there is surprisingly little emotion stirred by this production."
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The Wall Street Journal
October 20th, 2016

"The most pointless production of a Chekhov play I’ve ever seen, a stylistic mélange whose ill-fitting parts give the impression of having been hammered together out of three or four different jigsaw puzzles...Karam’s workmanlike new adaptation recasts the play in an unpoetic English that is scabbed over with modern-day slang and given a vulgarizing shot of progressive politics...The acting is noisy and superficial."
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Deadline
October 16th, 2016

“It takes Chekhov at his word in classifying it as a comedy. Too much so, as it happens, in a mixed-bag of a production that despite some high points, struggles but fails to achieve a consistent tone…Much as I admire Karam’s work, he and Godwin conspire to score some contemporary political points while setting the action in a vague anytime…Too much of the show has a devil-may-care antic quality that not only leaves Lane at sea but also misuses other good actors."
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New York Daily News
October 16th, 2016

"Pretty much everything falls flat in the case of the vapid new Broadway revival of Anton Chekhov’s classic tragicomedy about a family on the edge of collapse. Working from a translation by Stephen Karam that’s flecked with modern ties, director Simon Godwin has made some odd choices for this Roundabout revival...More nettlesome are the unfocused tone and superficial ensemble...When a 'Cherry Orchard' works, it can make you laugh and cry. This made me shrug."
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AM New York
October 16th, 2016

"Chekhov’s final play and a timeless tragicomedy about how people choose whether or not to respond to a changing world proves to be less powerful than usual in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s disjointed and flat revival...Godwin’s production is disjointed and wholly ineffective...It’s nice to have three live musicians but their featured presence can be distracting. Performers in smaller roles work too hard for laughs, adding to the inconsistency."
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NY1
October 21st, 2016

"Stephen Karam would seem to be the ideal translator of the angst and sorrow that’s befallen a declining family, but his adaptation, with director Simon Godwin, over-reaches and underestimates the subtle brilliance of Chekhov’s drama. Their attempt to update the story essentially strips the play of its particular context...Though talented, the cast lack cohesion...I don’t begrudge the effort to modernize Chekhov. It’s just that this vision failed to bear any fruit."
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Theatermania
October 16th, 2016

“Despite bold design choices and solid performances, there's something a little too precious about this version, leaving us cold and yearning for a stronger perspective. Chekhov's prescience only politely brushes against us rather than punching us in the gut, as it should...Unfortunately, this approach has resulted in a series of half choices that only serve to dilute the play and keep the audience at arm's length.”
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BroadwayWorld
October 17th, 2016

"The production seems to be struggling to pull 'The Cherry Orchard' from the 20th to the 21st century as much as one of the play's main characters struggles to pull the others from the 19th to the 20th...A production that appears to be full of ideas that don't quite blend into a unit...A fine company of actors gives individual performances that rarely seem fully connected to one another."
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Lighting & Sound America
October 17th, 2016

"In a staging device that has proven to be controversial, these feckless souls are visibly dragged into modernity. This choice, and a few others, may divide audiences...Godwin orchestrates a parade of telling moments from the rest of his cast...The production tries to maintain a foot in two different centuries, but the execution of this idea should be stronger, even more daring, to work fully. Nevertheless, the center holds as this production has its share of telling moments."
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Talkin' Broadway
October 16th, 2016

"The play unfolds everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Paradoxically, this does not make it easier to absorb; rather, it imparts an air of desperation, as though no one watching could be expected to follow the action if it were done without the adornment. It probably could have passed itself off as acceptable if Godwin had ensured that the actors were all in it together...Well meaning, maybe, but lacking any sense of what is truly necessary, what is not, and what anything it's saying means."
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Theater News Online
October 18th, 2016

"Director Simon Godwin’s production remains hopelessly misguided in many ways...Godwin directs too many of the early scenes as if he were helming a sitcom on ABC’s Wednesday night lineup...Stephen Karam further muddies the waters with his new translation. Not only is it too contemporary in its language, but he takes a surprisingly unsubtle approach in bringing Chekhov’s underlying theme of class differences to the forefront."
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TheaterScene.net
October 25th, 2016

“Directed by high-profile new British director Simon Godwin, associate director of the U.K.’s National Theater, making his New York debut, this 'Cherry Orchard' seems to have no interpretation or explanation for a new staging. Stephen Karam, the author of last season’s acclaimed ‘The Humans’, has written a new version which seems to be heavy on American ideas in this Russian play, while both the sets and costume designs get in the way of coherence and understanding.”
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Theatre is Easy
October 27th, 2016

"The accuracy, as well as the propriety, of the parallels between Chekhov's version and Karam’s remain doubtful...Godwin’s direction makes Chekhov’s monument of a play engaging, and the stellar cast brings much depth and complexity out of each character...However problematic the message of this version is, from a production standpoint, it has the quality of a meticulously tuned instrument, encompassing perfectly both the comedic and tragic elements the play endeavors to include."
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Theater Pizzazz
October 17th, 2016

"It embraces the existential ennui that hovers above just about all of Chekhov’s plays. But at the same time, its mood is just a little lighter. Its dialogue seems fresh and its pace is quickened...Lane is a fabulous Lyubov...Director Simon Godwin has provided a dynamic, user-friendly production with Karam’s pitch-perfect script and excellent work from a gifted cast and a top-notch design team."
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CurtainUp
October 21st, 2016

"While Karam and Godwin have mistepped in ratcheting up the timely connection between the entitled and resistant to change landowners of Chekhov's and America's world, the performances include individual standouts and some that capture the the play's most poignant Chekhovian moments...There are good performances from most of the cast, but intermittently so...Like everything about this production there's a 'yes-but' even for the praiseworthy ideas."
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Front Row Center
October 20th, 2016

"From the acting to the sets, it all feels forced: forced laughter and joviality, forced intimacies, forced pratfalls...The cast feels so disconnected it's as if they had never seen one another until this very moment on stage. All of them are dancing as fast as they can to entertain but no one is listening or supporting one another...This adaptation does have its moments, but those moments become just that, moments drowning in a two hour and fifteen minute production."
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Exeunt Magazine
October 19th, 2016

"We need to feel something for these characters if we’re to invest ourselves in their plight. Unfortunately, we’re not given emotional access...Karam’s translation has an ear for contemporizing the jokes, but otherwise the language falls curiously flat...There is a decided tentativeness in the staging that suggests that the production isn’t sure if it should fully acknowledge what it is making an attempt to do. As a result, it becomes almost impenetrable to read."
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DC Theatre Scene
October 20th, 2016

"The most adventurous directorial move is the hiring of black actors to play the serfs and ex-serfs, and the substitution of the word 'slave'...If the analogy ultimately didn’t quite work for me, I appreciated the way it forced me to consider the differences in the two histories...There are just too many fine, nuanced productions in memory for theatergoers to feel the need for an updated version, or to tolerate one that, to put it charitably, could use more time to find the proper balance."
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Times Square Chronicles
October 22nd, 2016

"Karam has slaughtered Chekhov and British director Simon Godwin has directed so that the play is so confused in so many ways...It is a mash-up that is all clutter and no substance...The cast, which is star-studded, overacts and misses the nuances of the play; only Celia Keenan-Bolger comes off unscathed. Lane is the big draw and she is a good actress and we get flashes of it in this jumbled mess, but she skirts to overacting...All of the cast is acting in different versions of the same play."
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The Guardian (UK)
October 16th, 2016

"All of the familiar elements of plot and character are here, but Karam hasn’t found a vocabulary with which to articulate them, nor Godwin a framework in which to realize them...Most of the actors seem jumpy, talking and moving and gesturing at speed, as though the stage manager had distributed Adderall while calling places. The performers seem to be in radically different plays. A couple of them appear simply lost."
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The Wrap
October 16th, 2016

“Godwin and Karam are all broad strokes. They’re also often messy in their execution, with several supporting characters wandering about in undefined relationships with the principals…Godwin’s ‘Orchard’ isn’t one of those nights in the theater where each actor appears to be performing in another production. He’s got them all on the same page, but it’s one ripped from musical theater…Godwin indulges in muddled casting.”
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
October 23rd, 2016

"An odd mix of actors emote loudly, but mostly fail to be convincing about the emotions they are enduring...There are humorous elements in the play, and a somewhat touching instant of unrequited love, but in order for a production to work, somehow it must suggest the Russian soul. Regrettably, the actors in this production rarely seem remotely Russian...There is one exception. Joel Grey as the elderly, humble servant Firs...Grey’s acting reminds us of what is missing."
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T
October 19th, 2016

"In an effort to infuse relevance and energy in what sometimes can come across as a dusty warhorse, Godwin pushes his stellar company to mug like maniacs without establishing connections. With few exceptions, I had a hard time believing these people even knew each other much less that they were related or intimate friends...There are too many wrong notes to make the evening complete...A strong final 20 minutes does not save this 'Orchard' from an over-pruning director."
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Theater In The Now
November 14th, 2016

"The Simon Godwin-helmed piece is lacking guidance...The inconsistency in style was seen fervently in the direction. Godwin tried to infuse so much into so little...Without any nuances, Godwin’s production fell into a pit of monotony...Thankfully, this production accumulated a stage full of talent. Unfortunately, talent didn’t actually save the day...This production sadly was a laundry list of misfortune. With the amount of disconnect within, this revival never truly blossomed."
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Broadway & Me
October 22nd, 2016

"Godwin has neglected the inner lives of the people in the play and failed to create a cohesive environment in which actors of any color could develop them. The period has been updated but it's not clear exactly when or why. The tone jerks from slapstick to melodrama, with stops along the way for a carnival interlude, complete with a dance number...Understandably confused, the actors seem to have grabbed on to whatever style works best for them. The result is a mishmash."
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Newsday
October 16th, 2016

“The much-anticipated production, with Diane Lane at the top of a blazingly promising cast, is perplexing, stylistic gibberish. Worse, it is unmoving…Lane mostly seems earnest and uncomfortable…Instead of toying with shades of emotions, she sticks to primary colors…Nico Muhly’s incidental music, performed by a compelling musical trio, captures more of Chekhov’s language than do most of these crushingly uninteresting characters.”
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Towleroad
October 17th, 2016

"The play’s dynamic mash-up of genres is part of its lasting appeal. But Roundabout Theatre Company’s jumbled revival is neither particularly funny nor affecting...From the outset, it’s clear that director Simon Godwin intends to milk Chekhov's play for comedy, supplementing ironic and outright funny lines with pratfalls and sight gags worthy of a farce. But when the plot calls for an abrupt shift in tone, as it often does, emotions mostly fall flat."
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NorthJersey.com
October 17th, 2016

"A gray, dramatically underdeveloped affair that makes a poor argument for rethinking classic plays...The production gives a meager sense of time and place, leaving the actors in a kind of theatrical void...It ends with perhaps the most famous concluding sound in theater: the chopping noise as the trees in the cherry orchard begin to fall...If what’s led up to that moment has affected you, it’ll be a touching finale. In this case, the sound was just a signal that it was time to go home."
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Financial Times (UK)
October 18th, 2016

"Backed by some impressive dramatic pedigree...Alas, it all falls flat. The problems begin with Karam’s version, which veers awkwardly between demotic American vernacular and stilted transliterations of the original Russian...Everyone seems to be reciting lines rather than actually talking to each other. Lane is particularly disappointing and on this evidence just doesn’t have the muscle for classical theatre...When Karam and Godwin’s intentions do reveal themselves, the muddle only deepens."
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WNBC
October 16th, 2016

“An alternately despairing and giddy production…Roundabout’s 'Cherry Orchard' is visually in the past, but aurally in the present. The result is a mixed bag lacking symbolic resonance: The audience gets neither the tragic grandeur nor the comedy of the aristocracy seeing its dominance end. Rather, this is a portrait of one clueless family losing their fortune because they don’t know how to save a buck.”
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NJ.com
October 16th, 2016

“The new revival is one of those well-intentioned projects that sounds great on paper, but quickly goes nowhere on stage…The show never finds its footing, and Karam, director Simon Godwin and the cast frequently seem to be working at cross-purposes…’The Cherry Orchard’ fails to sustain our interest for more than a few minutes at a stretch, much less manages to capture the proper anomie and heartbreak of an entire way of life plunged into sudden and steep decline.”
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W
October 22nd, 2016

"Karam tries something interesting here. Working off a literal, word-by word translation, he adapted Chekhov's archaic words into something resonantly contemporary...The lustrous cast all seasoned professionals, nonetheless flail around, acting in different versions of the same play, searching for some commonality to unite them. But they never find an emotional connection with each other or with us. And when the cherry orchard is chopped down, we feel nothing."
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Reflections in the Light
October 27th, 2016

"Two things this Roundabout production had going for it were a new version by Stephen Karam, whose own play, the Tony-Award-winning 'The Humans' is far better than anything Chekhov ever wrote, and this production's stars...This version didn't seem any more interesting than the original to me. If you don't already know the plot, it is a bit difficult to follow. Lane seems lost up on the stage as characters seem to be wandering around at times without direction from Simon Godwin."
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Reviewing The Drama
October 16th, 2016

"Godwin and Karam put an American spin on the Russian staple, making it vital and relevant. (Oh, and funny.)...Though she's doing fine work, Lane seems too young to be Lyubov...At the act break, I was most eagerly awaiting Perrineau's take on Yermolai's big moment and Keenan-Bolger having something to do other than fret. They delivered in spades...It's a vibrant, meaty production, one that feels just as urgent as the original 1904 Moscow Art Theatre production must have felt."
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StageZine
October 20th, 2016

"Chekhov and his famous director Stanislavsky must be rolling over in their graves regarding this misguided, unfocused adaptation...Ms. Lane certainly shows off her emotional range an as actress here, but her performance, like so many in the cast, never gels with the others because director Simon Godwin doesn’t rein in any of the actors, and it’s frustrating trying to figure out the myriad acting styles on display here...This new 'spin' on 'The Cherry Orchard' is simply the pits."
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Epoch Times
October 17th, 2016

"Karam's adaptation encompasses the elements of Chekhov’s play in all its complexity and richness...Overall, the acting is fine, although, in my opinion, Lane’s Ranevskaya is too modern and lightweight in quality. She has some nice scenes, however...The party scenes are nothing short of fabulous, with their liveliness and colorful execution balancing the somber content of the play...Kudos to playwright Karam, director Godwin, and to the Roundabout for making this production possible."
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The Stage (UK)
October 17th, 2016

"Karam’s adaptation of 'The Cherry Orchard' is one of wit and freshness...Director Simon Godwin fumbles things, staging the first act as farce, the characters mugging as if they know they’re in a Chekhov play. It muffles Karam’s writing. When the production slows down, breathes, and lets the performances speak for themselves, it’s powerful. Diverse casting brings a present-day sharpness to the play’s critique of a ruling class reaping the benefits of slavery and inequality."
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B
October 16th, 2016

"Lane is a superb actress and brings to the role the warmth, love, kindness and generosity of the character...Colorblind casting may be a purpose in this staging, but when Harold Perrineau buys the orchard...it is hard not to see the color of his skin...Simon Godwin takes care with the choreography of some roles. Celia Keenan-Bolger is particularly lithesome as she trots in and out of the main room...The similarities to our own time are clear."
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90.7 WFUV
October 21st, 2016

"Lane is lovely and a fine actress, but never seems to fully inhabit the role. Glover, a veteran stage actor, gets laughs with his over-the-top performance, but creates an imbalance with his co-star...The multi-cultural supporting cast are all very capable – and very kinetic, constantly in motion, dancing around the stage, bumping into chairs, strutting offstage...The production, directed by the Englishman, Simon Godwin, definitely moves right along, but at the expense of a deeper feeling."
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H
October 17th, 2016

"Gives you pangs of both melancholy and magic...The show has all the markings of capital 'T' Theater. Providing the perfect punctuation for such a statement, however, is Diane Lane in the lead role of Madame Lyubov Ranevskaya...It's up to the audience to reconcile how one should measure a life well lived: through the relationships—or the real estate—you keep. If you're willing to pick, then we recommend a trip through the orchard."
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