Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s classic rapid-fire comedy about the newspaper business is revived on Broadway with all an-star cast including two-time Tony winner Nathan Lane, John Slattery, and John Goodman. More…
The press room of Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building is buzzing with reporters covering the story of an escaped prisoner. When star reporter Hildy Johnson (Slattery) accidentally discovers the runaway convict, he and his editor Walter Burns (Lane) conspire to hide the man from the other reporters while they chase the biggest scoop of their careers. Costarring Tony winners Robert Morse and Jefferson Mays, and Tony nominees Holland Taylor and Sherie Rene Scott.
"A 5,000-volt revival...Whipped into a hellacious comic frenzy by one of the best acting ensembles you and I may ever see. Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s 1928 evisceration of the newspaper racket is a summit of American screwball comedy...Director Jack O’Brien’s pedal-to-the-metal production is astonishingly true to the spirit and letter of the script...O’Brien’s pacing is masterful, guiding us from belly laughs to a sudden, sickening drop in our stomachs. What seals the deal is the acting." Full Review
"Drawing on a starry cast top-lined by Nathan Lane and John Slattery, Jack O’Brien directs an impeccable revival that delights in the tasteless vulgarity of that fabled era...The situation offers a variety of opportunities for farcical comedy, and if O’Brien missed any one of them, I failed to catch it. The production is as close to perfection as it comes...Count yourself lucky if you scored a seat. You won’t forget it." Full Review
"This production, happily, fires on all cylinders...Those seven clowns are only the half of it. They are surrounded by some of the best comic character actors in captivity...If we seem to pay undue attention to the cast, it is in this case merited; 'The Front Page,' when done well, is a rapid-fire laugh-fest, and everyone contributes...O’Brien, Lane, Slattery, et al do well by Hecht and MacArthur, bringing today’s audiences a flavorfully blustery, quaintly blasphemous comic feast." Full Review
"Most of the time, Lane sweeps the stage like a storm cell, stirring everyone and everything up in a gale of farcical action. But the act-and-a-half that precedes Burns' appearance on the scene has plenty to offer, too. The director has skimmed the cream of New York's talent pool, filling the stage with an A-team of character actors...Rarely have such brutally cynical doings been rendered with such a loving hand—and everyone makes a contribution to the overall effect." Full Review
"The first must-see Broadway offering of the season...Such fast-talking newsroom is orchestrated impeccably by O’Brien. What’s required of the audience is close attention to all that’s said... Lane finally does barrel through the upstage door...And then he unleashes the performance you’ve waited for. It is replete with an artillery of sly takes and withering looks, Lane’s innate sense of when to raise and when to lower the volume...O’Brien’s gorgeously etched presentation is as good as it gets." Full Review
"For one near-perfect third act of the old farcical school under the direction of Jack O'Brien, Lane delivered a sublimely funny tour de force...O'Brien's star-crusted revival starts out slow but reaches a boil precisely because it captures the addictiveness of newsgathering...'The Front Page' is always a fun play. But you don't normally get the benefit of Lane's readings...This was a great Chicago play by great Chicago writers, here performed by actors who understand." Full Review
"How often does a non-musical play from 1928 land on Broadway largely intact and in smashing shape?...Three acts, nearly three hours, and a cast of more than two dozen. Not that it’s at all leisurely, what with director Jack O’Brien encouraging his stageful of cynical, amoral journalists to step on each other’s lines while racing to the phones or cheating one another at poker...The talk isn’t for short attention spans, but it’s darn good stage talk — authentically Twenties Chicago." Full Review
"A terrific cast bangs out the gritty, wise-cracking dialogue of newspapermen turned playwrights Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur with the precision of freshly greased keys striking at the platen of a Royal typewriter...Lane is a master at finding the vocal inflections and cadences that discover humor without sacrificing realism and at one point he contributes a show-stopping bit of physical business...This is satisfying old-school, muscular comedy done right." Full Review
"A top-notch production...The slow build, like the play overall, is a masterpiece of construction, the kind that for a hundred reasons shouldn’t work today, but that under O’Brien’s nervy direction undeniably does...Often thought of as a wit or a clown, Lane is really a time bomb onstage, with no fuse and an infinite payload...But one of the very deep pleasures of 'The Front Page' is the chance it provides to watch a large ensemble of character actors do what they’re so good at." Full Review
"An uproariously funny Broadway staging that expertly captures the work and the period, thanks to a mighty cast, and director Jack O’Brien’s super-smart staging...Lane gives a tremendously funny performance...A host of other characters, all played to perfection, populate the play...One might pick at something here and there, but this is an ultra-successful production designed to keep audiences howling with laughter, a staging that does proper justice to the Hecht-MacArthur work of theater art." Full Review
"Jack O'Brien's terrific production, featuring some two dozen of Broadway's best and brightest actors, transports us back to a time when men were loud, brash misogynist pigs; women were alternately dames, tarts or the marrying type. And nothing was politically correct...It takes a good hour before the plot kicks in. But fortunately the character actors are standouts - each one...O'Brien masterfully directed the physical humor in this over-caffeinated production. 'Front Page' is a winnah!" Full Review
"It’s a beautifully constructed play, though it takes its time getting started...Burns and Johnson are played with great relish by Nathan Lane and John Slattery and you won’t find a better pair of sparring partners since Lunt and Fontanne...Under O’Brien’s controlled direction, this mob of distinguished players has been artfully arranged...Once we get through all the expository material in Act One, the play picks up speed and doesn’t quit until the very last perfect final scene." Full Review
"The expertly seasoned revival of 'The Front Page' is a mischievous newspaper bundle of earthy delights...The production crackles with old-school comic smarts. Count among these primo farceurs a splendid director, O’Brien, who knows how to put an acting army 26 strong through the dizzying paces of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s classic piece of Americana...With Lane leading the charge, this production offers as much fun as you’re ever likely to have courtesy of the First Amendment." Full Review
“Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's ‘The Front Page’ remains the quintessential comedy about the tabloid newspaper racket. Jack O'Brien's production plays it safe while a more brazen and outrageous style might have obtained more laughs. The current revival with its many recognizable names and faces is still entertaining fun. And it does bring back to the Broadway stage the incomparable Nathan Lane in top form in an unforgettable role.” Full Review
"The set is handsome, the dialogue sharp-witted, the cast an assemblage of some of New York’s finest character actors and big names including John Goodman. The style is vivid and almost expressionist in the way that conversations are layered over around each other...Yet the revival’s energy is something less than crackling and the enterprise might have seemed merely respectable were it not for the joyously disreputable Lane. He gives a performance that is both outsized and just the right size." Full Review
"Lane and Slattery fire on all cylinders...O’Brien is a master at choreographing big casts so that no role seems left out of the limelight...Remains a testament to casual racism and misogyny that makes me feel like a party pooper even to mention. Yet there it is in what’s essentially a wheezy plot whose main reason for continued life is the opportunity for two actors to strut and snap, crackle and pop, surrounded by a gang of experts in their craft." Full Review
"Even if not every element in director Jack O'Brien's lavishly cast production hits the mark, this deluxe Broadway revival nonetheless is crackling entertainment...But the play only really starts firing on all cylinders once Lane enters...Lane elevates everyone around him, including Slattery...The galvanizing force of Lane's performance erases any concerns about the production's unevenness." Full Review
"O’Brien, who utilizes the best of what Broadway has to offer—a big stage, a solid budget, slick production values—has not only created a milieu in which the performers can shine; he allows them the space to establish their characterizations...It takes a director of O’Brien’s skill to keep all those hoops in the air without losing sight of the story, or of the internal lives of the characters...Although Scott has relatively few scenes, she does a lot to make the play we’re watching credible." Full Review
"A mega cast of names are the draw of the season under the watchful eye and superb direction of Jack O’Brien...The play has it all when it comes to political hacks and sleazy journalists (and is so very current in that respect) but misses greatly waiting till more than half the show is over before releasing the likes of Nathan Lane and his inimitable shtick...His performance is merciless and non-stop and every reason to see this farce, 'The Front Page.'" Full Review
"A swell revival of the frenetic comedy...Like the industry it satirizes, 'The Front Page' shows its age: The cast is jarringly lily white. Women are an afterthought...But, the pros in 'The Front Page' know how to manage the material and deliver an ink-stained good time. This is a period piece that hearkens back to a time when reporters carried flasks and an HR rep would be tossed out a window if she introduced a dialogue about harassment or proper workplace behavior." Full Review
"Diverting. Pretty darn good. At moments, very funny indeed...But aside from those moments when Lane is all but setting fire to the stage, it is not the stuff of banner headlines...The problem is that in this production the dirt isn’t so much slung as spun, carefully and thoughtfully, so you can trace the arc of a joke before it lands. The show is pointedly and self-consciously funny, savoring its own raucous wit, which paradoxically means that it just isn’t as funny as it should be." Full Review
"The ensemble just doesn’t click and the chemistry keeps act one at a snail's pace...It isn’t until Lane appears that the laughs roll and the show picks up its pace...Baker, Taylor, and Mayes all have stand-out moments...Slattery and Goodman are fine, but it is Nathan Lane who is back on Broadway and owning it...O’Brien directs this piece with love and affection to the era...It was nice to escape to a simpler time when corruption was blatant and we could laugh without being condemned." Full Review
"The much-anticipated, talent-stuffed revival has its amusing moments. Old-fashioned screwball plot points conscientiously pile up...O’Brien’s respectfully nostalgic valentine to old-time newspaper journalism could have been subtitled 'Waiting for Nathan'...When he finally comes onstage—menacing little mustache and flipper eyebrows ablaze—the writing actually seems funnier and the style feels fresher, less creaky." Full Review
"The first act is both over-long and too broad. It’s flat where it should be fizzy...Barking arias of sarcastic, arsenic-laced insults, Lane is like a human defibrillator whose presence single-handedly puts the production back on course...But you’ll have to be patient waiting for Lane to arrive to really enjoy it...It’s smart, subversive, and seemingly timeless. Too bad that this time around it’s also an ensemble comedy that feels like a one-man show." Full Review
"Individually, they're all very funny, but their performances become cacophony in concert...O'Brien fails to bring harmony to the proceedings during the lethargic first act. The piece only really begins to come together after 90 minutes, when Lane enters with a show-stealing performance...The whole ensemble benefits from Lane's presence as the dialogue and slapstick significantly tighten...'The Front Page' takes a long time to warm up, but once it does, it proves worth the wait." Full Review
See it if Some of the best actors in town in an amazing show. Its funny, but not stupid. And the performances are some that will stay with you forever
Don't see it if You want a drama. Or want a show that isn't a masterpiece of theatre.
See it if You like intelligent theatre performed by a brilliant cast who make a 90-yr-old show utterly relevant.
Don't see it if Your idea of Broadway is someone from AMERICAN IDOL singing Disney songs
See it if you want to see the work of two great masters--MacArthur and Hecht. This is dated, but yet, surprisingly relevant.
Don't see it if A bit of dust on a superior script is bothersome, or if political incorrectness is offensive to you.
See it if All-star cast, wonderful direction, great set
Don't see it if The inevitable plot wrapup is lacking in suspense, Slattery's MAD MEN role provides an out of context laugh for those in the know
See it if you appreciate a wonderfully written and acted comedy from the Golden Age of Broadway which is very relavent to today's media & politics.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy long (3 acts) literate straight plays that are not musicals, if you don't like paying close attention to follow the story.
See it if You want to see some great theater. Great acting. Great staging. Great job by the actor who spent most of act III locked in the desk.
Don't see it if You want to see a big musical or you want music. You don't like stories that take place in the past.
See it if the greatly talented cast intrigues you. It is a fast paced comedy, but Nathan Lane steals the show and increases the pace in Acts 2 and 3.
Don't see it if three hour shows are not for you. If you expect this to be modernized or amended to fit current norms or the current political climate.
See it if You love Nathan Lane, John Lattery & John Goodman...amazing cast & outstanding performances by each!!!
Don't see it if Don't like long plays because this one has two intermissions!
See it if you want to see a classic play with no PC edits and full of laughs and great acting.
Don't see it if you can't deal with a play that is not sexist (it's of its time) and don't want to laugh.
See it if you enjoy a new take on a classic comedy. A brilliant, all-star cast tackles the gumshoe life of 1920's newspaper reporting.
Don't see it if you're a stick in the mud who doesn't like to laugh. It's a delightful ensemble period piece. This 3 act play picks up in Act 2 & goes!!!
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