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The Front Page

Members say: Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Dated, Clever
77
Critics
70
50 reviews
Members
77
579 reviews
 

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.

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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.

 


Cast & Creatives (35)



Reviews (629)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
70
Avg Score

75
The New York Times

"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

70
Theatermania

"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

85
BroadwayWorld

"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

95
Variety

"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

100
Time Out New York

"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

80
New Yorker

"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

85
New York Magazine / Vulture

"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

95
The Huffington Post

"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

80
The Guardian (UK)

"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

60
Theater Life

"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

55
DC Theatre Scene

"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

90
Lighting & Sound America

"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

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"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

40
The Wall Street Journal

"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

60
AM New York

"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

90
The Clyde Fitch Report

"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

60
Talkin' Broadway

"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

60
Front Row Center

"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

75
Times Square Chronicles

"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

90
Chicago Tribune

"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

60
New York Daily News

"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

80
Deadline

"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

70
CurtainUp

"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

55
Front Mezz Junkies

"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

83
TheaterScene.net

“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: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
77
Avg Score

74
Funny, Slow

See it if Nathan Lane

Don't see it if you can't sit through a painful first act.

83
Funny, Great acting, Timeless

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.

80
Funny, Great acting, Intelligent

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.

95
Funny, Clever, Dizzying, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if You love classic comedy!

Don't see it if You don't like more old-fashioned plays.

70
Great acting, Slow, Good ensemble piece

See it if you want to see a slow-moving, decent story.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a slow-moving, decent story.

90
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Dated, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a classic comedy revival starring a potent of superb theater and film actors

Don't see it if You prefer musicals

85
Funny, Great acting, Entertaining

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

60
Great acting, Overrated, Great staging

See it if You want to see a great cast and scenic design.

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

80
Funny, Clever, Great acting

See it if you want to see this star studded cast live or love political / news satire.

Don't see it if you want something that kicks off right away - it takes a while to get into the grove.

75
Dated, Entertaining, Long, Great set, Frenetic

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

77
Funny, Great acting, Must see, Hilarious, Entertaining

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)

70
Doesn't get frantic enough

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).

90
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining

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.

88
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Entertaining

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.

78
Funny, Entertaining, Plain, Star filled

See it if You want to see a bunch of stars on stage -Michael McGrath was good as understudy for Nathan Lane

Don't see it if You are looking for a smash

79
Funny, Dizzying, Confusing, Entertaining, Great staging

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.)

64
Flat, Dated

See it if you want to see a lot of great actors all in one show (performances were uneven) you like broad comedy (usually at the expense of women)

Don't see it if you find stereotypical characters boring.

71
Great acting, Dated, Rapid dialogue-slow plot

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

89
Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining, Great staging

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.

Also For a show written in 1928 - it doesn't seem dated at all. As soon as ... Read more Read less

84
Funny, Great acting, Dated, Great staging, Wonderful

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!

75
Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Dated

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.

85
Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a stellar ensemble deliver a funny look at the fourth estate.

Don't see it if You don't have the patience for slow beginnings, are not interested in the workings of the press.

88
Great acting, Dated, Hilarious, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you enjoy stories set in the 20s, fast-paced dialogue, or liked any previous iterations of the play.

Don't see it if you're an impatient person or can't follow fast speaking or quick joke telling.

Also The cast was amazing! So many great actors in one place. I absolutely ... Read more Read less

79
Funny, Great acting

See it if If you're a fan of Nathan Lsnd and John Goodman. Of course they don't disappoint. No one disappoints in this play. It's a bit slow starting

Don't see it if You're looking for a musical or didn't like the movie His Girl Friday.

Also All star cast and all were incredible. Yes it's a bit slow starting bu... Read more Read less

79
Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Star-studded, Slow first act

See it if you love Nathan Lane, old-fashioned comedies, and just need a good laugh in a rainy, depressing January 2016; wonderful performances by all

Don't see it if you don't like long plays (very long 1st act), or would be impatient to see Nathan Lane because he doesn't show up until halfway through