"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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 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
"If you think of the new revival of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s 'The Front Page' as an all-star baseball game, then Nathan Lane is the closing relief pitcher, hurling perfect comic strikes with every throw...Director Jack O’Brien has not given them the proper pacing for this frantic 1928 farce of foul-mouthed scandal-sheet scribblers cracking wise and chasing scoops in corrupt Chicago...They’re a strong team, but Lane is unquestionably a star among stars." Full Review
"The show’s appeal rest largely in its star turns, which often feel like cameos. Most performers get no more than a few minutes to strut their stuff, although some make the most of it...It is surprising how much of a slog this nearly three-hour production can be at times until Lane’s entrance, despite the presence of a battalion of talented character actors. Director Jack O’Brien is presenting a somewhat tamped down and cleaned up version of the script." 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
"Slack and lackluster, a case study in how to get a good play wrong. Given the high quality of the cast, it’s surprising how ineffective this 'Front Page' is...The biggest problem of all is that O’Brien has softened the tungsten-hard tone...O’Brien’s 'Front Page' is played for laughs, not truth, and that’s why it falls so flat...As for Lane, he’s great. Too great, really...Suddenly you see what was missing up to that point, and realize why you’d come close to nodding off mere minutes before." Full Review
"More often than not falls flat in spite of a boisterous atmosphere and heightened comedic tone...O’Brien’s lively and lavish production holds nothing back in terms of broad comedy and busy movement, but the three-act play does not hold up so well by today’s standards, containing fewer one-liners and much more exposition than you’d expect from a comedy. I often found myself admiring the production but unable to enjoy it...Lane steals the final third of the show." 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
"The exchanges among the three principals are rich and pithy and often funny. They are also often so broad and predictable as to be eye-rolling. I’m not sure they are enough to keep you riveted for three acts, especially because you have to wait till act two to lay eyes on Nathan Lane...Lane—what’s left to say?...He plays Walter very broadly but nobody does broad better...This is a show with many good moments, but you do have to pay the piper with your patience." Full Review
"O'Brien should have done more to elicit the life-threatening urgency under which these people operate; especially with Lane's scenes, but throughout, the stakes never, ever get high enough...As with any play as on-the-edge as this one, you have to buy into what's happening completely to fall in love with it, and only Slattery voices a cogent argument in favor of it...Wonderful as he is, though, Slattery alone is not enough to make this version of 'The Front Page' banner headline news." 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
"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
"Nathan Lane saves the day—and the play—again...The only thing wrong with Lane’s performance, which comes with his signature shtick, is that he doesn’t arrive earlier...For the play’s first hour and forty-five minutes, a supporting cast of comic pros who portray hard-boiled reporters are mired in mostly expositional banter that goes in circles and stalls...Director Jack O’Brien’s production is handsomely gritty and well-dressed, but only really catches fire in the third act." 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
"A dozen big stars does not a hit make. It’s not terrible by any means, but it’s not a comedic triumph either. Directed by Tony Award-winning Jack O’Brien with a fast-paced bombastic style that only few can carry off, the play itself does the first disservice by taking a long time to get the ball rolling...We have to wait until the middle of Act Two before any fun arrives, and his name is Nathan Lane...It’s sad to see these fine actors that I adore stuck working so hard with so little reward." Full Review
"Mr. O'Brien gives everyone a chance to have a standout moment or so. However, it's not until Nathan Lane's Editor Burns finally plants himself center stage that this production bursts into full-blown laugh-aloud mode...The enjoyable presentation and excellent performances notwithstanding, once you get over admiring the set and the costumes and listen to some of the insults and phone calls flying around the room, the rest of the first act and part of the second are a too dragged out setup." 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
See it if you want to see a revival that can prove that a piece that's almost 90-years old can be as fresh, as crisp, and as funny as it is today.
Don't see it if you want to miss out on seeing an all-star cast (which incl. mega-stars of theater, TV & movies) perform as a cohesive and sharp ensemble.
See it if you want to see outstanding performances in a classic show that holds up well. Very witty but you need patience!
Don't see it if you're expecting to see Nathan Lane until far into the show, if you can't sit through a long 3-acts or if you need something contemporary.
See it if you have the patience to sit through rather a slow first act followed by great acting and comical lines delivered by a great cast
Don't see it if you like all around fast paced show or don't like period pieces, John Goodman, Nathan Lane or John Slattery and many more famous actors
See it if you enjoy a stage filled with highly accomplished and decorated actors. you like period pieces. You enjoy Nathan lane. Nice set
Don't see it if don't like shows where everyone is talking loud and fast with no change in pace. Two intermissions. Women are wives, shrill mothers or maids
See it if Amazing how a play from the 1920's can resonate when confronting themes like capital punishment, yellow journalism & govt corruption? MUST-C
Don't see it if Don't see if U hate star-studded casts. If U don't like Nathan Lane just go to a matinee, he doesn't (Mike McGrath is brilliant replacement)
See it if See it for an excellent John Slattery. He is the only one you'll leave caring about. Lane doesn't appear until 1.5 hours into the show.
Don't see it if you're expecting a laugh-a-minute riot. We never get to fully know any character but Hildy (Slattery).
See it if Classic comedy of corrupt 20s press room antics will butter your brains with laughter. Lane and Slattery kern their lines to perfection.
Don't see it if Three acts of fun is a lead you can't follow. Yes, it's old school but a masterclass in rapid-fire mania. Lane cranks up the last two acts.
See it if you like great comedic acting by a first rate company, and a clever if somewhat dated book. Terrific production values.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy dated, slightly illogical, American comedies, and Nathan Lane et al who star in this fun evening.
See it if You enjoy a fast pace, funny show with a lot of things going on and the knowledge that you're probably going to miss something.
Don't see it if You don't like non redeemable characters, casual racism and sexism (that was hard to swallow but accurate for the time so I let it go.)
See it if You want to see solid acting, a great set-design, and nice costumes. They really do make you feel like you're in a different era
Don't see it if You aren't willing to wait a whole act for a show to grab your attention. Its dialogue driven but the plot doesn't move at half the pace
See it if You want to see one of the biggest and best casts on Broadway starring in a Pulitzer Prize winner. The kind they don't make any more.
Don't see it if 3 hrs/2 intermissions isn't your cup of tea, even though it goes by like a freight train + plays faster than some 90 minute shows I've seen.
See it if you want to see a brilliant cast perform their comic best.
Don't see it if you don't have the patience to get thru the first scene. It should have been trimmed. But the rest of the show is amazing!
See it if you want to see what all the buzz is about - fantastic actors, many in small parts, make this old chestnut entertaining and fun.
Don't see it if you like more relevant, thought provoking pieces. Or prefer plays with more contemporary issues.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies