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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Set in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, 'The Cherry Orchard' chronicles a noblewoman's return to her family estate after a five-year absence to escape troubling memories of her son's death. Lyubov Ranevskaya (Lane) arrives home to find the cherry orchard in full bloom, but the finances of the estate on the verge of ruin. Lyubov and her brother, Gaev (Glover), find themselves scrambling to retain a vision of gentility amidst a climate of huge social and economic transition.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"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." Full Review

Time Out New York

“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.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"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." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"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." Full Review

Theater Life

"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." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"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." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

“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." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"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." Full Review

AM New York

"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." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"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." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"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." Full Review

New York Daily News

"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." Full Review


“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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Front Row Center

"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

Theater In The Now

"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." Full Review

The Wrap

“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.” Full Review

Theater News Online

"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"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." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Confusing, Muddled

See it if you're desperate to see Diane Lane on stage.

Don't see it if you're looking for a refreshing staging of a Chekhov play. There are ideas here, but none of them are coherent or cohesive.

Disappointing, Dull

See it if classic plays especially Chekov

Don't see it if reinterpreted classics

Quirky, Disappointing, Overrated, Dated, Fluffy

See it if a star-filled cast is enough for you. It didn't work for me. Some actors were in the game, most phoned it in. SO disappointed; SO DATED.

Don't see it if it ever comes back again, unless a star-filled cast (perhaps put together to entice us this last time around) is going to be enough for you.

Great acting, Resonant, Slow, Eye opening

See it if Chekhov for millennials! Such a fantastic production, I actually understood what was going on because of the acting!

Don't see it if You don't like realism, Chekhov, or straight plays.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Frustrating

See it if you like modern interpretation of a classic and great actors

Don't see it if you don't like period pieces and frustrating characters

Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You wanted to see a celebrity.

Don't see it if you won't, it closed.

Ambitious, Quirky, Confusing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy Chekhov's work and know what you're getting into. It's a weird play and even good actors can't make it less confusing.

Don't see it if You have to a have a firm story, and characters with firm resolve. The characters are unmotivated and unrepentant. Which is frustrating.

Quirky, Banal, Confusing, Slow

See it if Star power is important than good direction or good staging

Don't see it if You want to see a show that is coherent, well-acted, and not boring.

Indulgent, Banal, Excruciating, Insipid

See it if You have to see all classic theater, no matter how poorly acted. Weird how the cast deliberately fumbles and trips etc.

Don't see it if Slow, sleep inducing, totally miscast and bizarre show.

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound

See it if you like-modern interpretations of classics (still a period piece but language is a bit more contemporary)

Don't see it if you don't like-dramas with a somber tone and sporadic comedic breaks throughout. you want a comedy/musical with a lighthearted tone.

Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Insipid, Overrated

See it if You have a tradition to see every production of the Roundabout theater or a fan of Diane Lane

Don't see it if You are a fan of the plays of Chekhov.

Banal, Disappointing, Slow, Unfortunate

See it if you get a free ticket; you have never seen it and need a (bad) reference.

Don't see it if pay more than $5. Zero urgency in the characters who are about to lose their entire upper class lifestyle. Snooze fest. Horrible direction

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Loved this. Funny, modern. Made me see this classic in a new way.

Don't see it if If you prefer more traditional servings of Chekhov, this isn't the production for you.

Also This show got bad reviews, and for the life of me, I can't figure out ... Read more Read less

Boring, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow, Misguided

See it if I really tried to make heads or tails of this, but it was just dull, boring, confusing. Maybe it picked up but I left at intermission.

Don't see it if You'll feel bad seeing top rate actors (Lane, Grey, Glover) wasted in a dull interpretation. Strange, pointless set on a tree stump.

Banal, Disappointing, Cliched, Insipid, Slow

See it if you are tolerant of acting that is more caricature than character or if you have never seen Checkov performed well

Don't see it if you saw the Russian National Theater's production at BAM last year or if you loved reading the play

Great acting, Slow, Confused, Beautiful design

See it if you enjoy Chekhov plays with beautiful design. The directing is a little all over the place but it's very much like any of his plays.

Don't see it if you want something that is less dense and more put together.

Great acting, Confusing, Slow

See it if want to see a talented cast with an interesting set.

Don't see it if you hate the slow burn or a mix of slight laughs with an overall depressing tone.

Banal, Disappointing, Dated

See it if You merely want to see a gorgeous Diane lane

Don't see it if You want to see a thing but amateur preformances

Disappointing, Disconnected, Too light, Interesting cast

See it if you like to watch: Diane Lane and Joel Grey; a competent cast; contemporary takes on classic theatre.

Don't see it if you want to be moved. The tragedy is lost to "comedy" in this version. Little connection to and between the characters is felt.

Great cast, Quirky production, flawed but worth seeing...

See it if you love Chekov, don't mind a production that takes risks (and fails at a few), love good acting (Lane, Grey and Glover shine).

Don't see it if Only like traditional productions of the classics (e.g. insist on Chekov with samovars); worth seeing just for the musicians

Dull and disappointing

See it if you've never had the pleasure of seeing Joel Grey tread the boards.

Don't see it if you value your time -- this production is haphazard and misguided. Such a shame given the cast and creative team.

Sparse and manic version of a classic

See it if If you love Chekov or the socio-economic, waning aristocracy and class warfare themes associated with Russian Literature from the 1900's.

Don't see it if You want breezy.. It kind of has a high barrier for enjoyment that you'll need to work for with focus, patience & a little imagination.

Also I really had a hard time caring about these characters or their fates ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Indulgent, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you are a serious student of Chekov or simply want the experience of seeing a classic play on Broadway with interesting actors.

Don't see it if you don't already know the play. This is an example of unnecessary, pretentious directorial "concept" tragically getting in the way.

Ambitious, Refreshing, Relevant, Authentic, Slightly off

See it if you're up for a flawed if fresh take on Chekov that harks back to his original, pumping air, contemporaneity & modern relevance into it.

Don't see it if you're expecting the usual serious often tragic, dry-witted very Russian Chekov, lacking farce or comedy; don't like fresh takes on classics

Also This production has been almost universally panned as a stylistic mish... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Dated, Great staging

See it if You enjoy Chekhov's work, period pieces, and a diverse cast in a dark dramedy. Optimism and nievety blind the mistress from the inevitable

Don't see it if You have a short attention span, want something light or expect to be entertained by a standard musical or comedy.

Also I'm in the minority here, but I enjoyed this production. The acting wa... Read more Read less