The Humans
Closed 1h 35m
The Humans
84

The Humans NYC Reviews and Tickets

84%
(1420 Reviews)
Positive
91%
Mixed
7%
Negative
2%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Roundabout Theatre Company's Off-Broadway hit production transferred to Broadway, where it won four 2016 Tony Awards including Best Play. Stephen Karam's ghost story/thriller explores the way we humans cope with our biggest fears.

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Member Reviews (1420)

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55
Cliched, Overrated, Quirky, Slow, Disappointing

See it if you like dysfunctional family dramedies. It fine, but nothing special. Not taken with the cast. Hated existential doom. Oft seen themes.

Don't see it if you can see a great work instead. Like Long Day's Journey Into Night. The letter about "dance at weddings" has been done so often.

87
Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if You like a show that touches on a lot of feelings and emotions and makes you think.

Don't see it if You don't like to be reminded that you're not perfect.

78
Edgy, Indulgent, Overrated, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if has good acting, it has a decent story.

Don't see it if over rated, slow at times, confusing at times.

97
Great acting, Masterful, Relevant, Profound, Great staging

See it if The most intelligent, humane & heartwrenching play on Broadway at this moment. Flawless staging with impeccible acting make a modern classic

Don't see it if Nothing really goes wrong despite an occassional veering into Irish sentimentality. Ambiguous , rather radical ending may put off some

70
Disappointing, Great acting, Overrated, Funny lines, Overall sad

See it if you have survived a difficult holiday with family. The acting and direction are excellent. A lot of events but little plot or resolution.

Don't see it if family drama disturbs you. In spite of its many funny moments the play is about sad people trying to have lives beyond their troubles.

85
Absorbing, Great writing, Funny, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You're interested in hearing the voice of a new, relevant playwright.

Don't see it if You're not interested in family dramedies.

68
Cliched, Disappointing, Pretentious, Overrated

See it if you are not yet tired of the topic of family sturm und drong.

Don't see it if you mind a show that moves at a snail's pace or if you want to see something original.

49
Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if so you can see what all the hype is about. It may not seem like it but I did like this just didn't live up to what I was expecting.

Don't see it if if you want to be blown away which is what I was hoping for. Sorry many other plays that are like this but much better.

Critic Reviews (75)

The New York Times
February 18th, 2016

"The title may sound generic, but there’s nothing blurry about Mr. Karam’s scorching drama. Drawn in subtle but indelible strokes, Mr. Karam’s play might almost qualify as deep-delving reportage, so clearly does it illuminate the current, tremor-ridden landscape of contemporary America...The finest new play of the Broadway season so far."
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Time Out New York
February 18th, 2016

"'The Humans' is just as funny, just as moving and just as sneakily unsettling in its new Broadway incarnation, and retains its essential intimacy...'The Humans' is the kind of show that we must usually go Off Broadway to see: a thoughtful new play by a young American writer, with a cast of expert local actors. With no slight intended to the lions and the witches and the extravagant wardrobes: It's good to see 'The Humans' on Broadway, too."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
February 18th, 2016

"It is still the most, well, human play I’ve ever seen about fear and disappointment and the attachments that transcend them...When a naturalistic play is working on so many levels (literally, in this case) an odd thing can happen: You can begin to feel that the characters are just going about their lives onstage but that you, in the audience, are acting. At any rate, you may find yourself gasping and yelping and, if you’re the type, crying."
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Entertainment Weekly
February 18th, 2016

"Thanks to Karam’s script and the ensemble’s performances, every slight, every shared memory, and every knowing glance feels utterly lived in. The brilliant direction by Joe Mantello helps hugely with believability as well…Karam’s transcendently mundane play is a reminder that family dinner dramas can still be surprising — and they doesn’t need ghosts or things that go bump in the night to achieve that. Real life is scary enough."
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Variety
February 18th, 2016

"Each and every character is enormously appealing, and Karam takes care to reveal their guarded secrets with great tenderness, just as Mantello’s directorial hand gently advances the play from comedy to tragedy. The revelations of weakness in this close-knit family are not entirely unexpected...The big question, of course, is whether the Blakes can survive after this emotional night. Karam doesn’t make it easy for them — or us."
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The Wall Street Journal
February 18th, 2016

"'The Humans' is passably well made, or would be were it not for the way in which the author stirs up expectations of a coda on which he fails to deliver...None of the characters does anything that isn’t perfectly obvious, right down to the jokes...No doubt Mr. Karam thinks he’s given us a deeply resonant statement about the Condition of 21st-Century America, but after 95 minutes of unhappy-family chitchat, I left the theater feeling that I’d just spent two whole hours there for no good reason."
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Deadline
February 18th, 2016

"A smart decision was made to hold on to the exquisitely matched acting ensemble and also the play’s, well, human scale by re-mounting it in the Helen Hayes, the smallest Tony-eligible house. As a result, the play retains its remarkable power as a tale of sorrows veined with silver threads of humor...'The Humans' is tremendously exciting theater, and I remain convinced that you won’t see a better play this season."
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The Washington Post
February 18th, 2016

"In a mere 95 minutes, the playwright — bolstered by a whip-smart director, Joe Mantello, and pitch-perfect cast of six — delves into the dynamics of this clan with a gentleness that feels like compassion and a scrupulousness that borders on the forensic…'The Humans' is the sort of impeccably constructed play that should be a regular inhabitant on Broadway, not the occasional, surprising guest."
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Chicago Tribune
February 18th, 2016

"This talented writer has an innate sense of dramatic tension and theatricality, he also has a rare understanding that you do not need to pop pills for tragedy to bang on your door...A truly remarkable and exceptionally moving play...Mantello, whose work is self-effacing, clearly understands the quality of this play — which represents a whole new level for Karam...Few writers of his generation have achieved anything quite like 'The Humans.'"
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New York Post
February 19th, 2016

“It’s amazing what the playwright and director pull off here…It’s often startlingly funny, and keeps an emotional grip on its audience throughout. The ending even adds a whiff of quasisupernatural terror that somehow doesn’t feel out of place…Aside from the sharp, nuanced writing, credit must go to the ensemble...They’re like the show as a whole, moving stealthily and laying waste to your heart.“
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New York Daily News
February 18th, 2016

"Playwright Stephen Karam takes this familiar, if shop-worn, dramatic framework and transforms it into a 95-minute work that is fresh, funny, piercing and perceptive...Karam has an eye for detail on a near-cellular level, an ear for authentic dialogue and a superlative ability to balance laughter and sorrow. There’s a lot of both here...Joe Mantello’s direction is smart and subtle, making excellent use of the bi-level stage."
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AM New York
February 18th, 2016

"Unapologetically depressing and lacking in narrative. Its pretentious and generic title is also a turnoff. Nevertheless, it makes for a compelling and often terrifying character portrait...The actors deliver vulnerable, truthful performances while also handling simultaneous action on the two-story set, overlapping dialogue and many silent pauses."
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NY1
February 19th, 2016

"Karam’s exquisite family drama, so lovingly transferred to Broadway, is a flawless gem. Director Joe Mantello has deepened the play’s tragicomic elements, capturing the dynamics of a family you may not know but will surely recognize...The cast is superb…Karam’s play is a mirror reflecting our absurd humanity. We laugh and we cry amid the worst challenges. But through it all, there’s family - for better or worse - to cushion the blow."
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Theatermania
February 18th, 2016

"Under Mantello's sensitive direction, the whole production has kept up an aura of lingering dread. In fact, the performances seem sharper in this Broadway transfer...Through brutal realism, Karam presents a family careering toward disaster with little in the way of an evasive action plan. For too many Americans, that situation alone will feel painfully uncanny — so much so that you won't be able to look away."
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Talkin' Broadway
February 18th, 2016

"Horror occurs in countless forms and at varying degrees, describing a sweeping range of experiences that define who we are. Perhaps the greatest marvel of the many in 'The Humans,' the outstanding new play at the Helen Hayes, is just how many of these playwright Stephen Karam and director Joe Mantello manage to pack into their fusion-charged 95-minute evening."
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Theater Pizzazz
February 18th, 2016

“One of the triumphs of Stephen Karam’s stunning new work is how every one of the 90 or so minutes we spend with the Blakes seem blazingly authentic. Indeed, what happens is both predictable and completely surprising…at times, Karam’s almost supernatural machinations seem better suited to a B-grade horror movie, and ultimately distract from his must-be-heard message.”
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CurtainUp
March 3rd, 2016

"This outstanding ensemble has settled more deeply into their characters...Karam writes plays that are timely meaningful reflections on the human condition...Karam skillfully establishes the situation and develops the family dynamic with dialogue so real you feel you're eavesdropping. But even Joe Mantello's directorial expertise can't prevent this theatrical platter from coming off as piled somewhat too high with problems. Fortunately, the actors manage to deflect from this."
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Front Row Center
February 22nd, 2016

"They feel as much like a real family with scars and tender spots and grudges and rages as any family I’ve ever met. I’d like to say it is the actors who bring the magic or that it’s all on the page or that the director’s deft sense of pacing does the job. But, hell, there’s lots of credit to go around. If you can get a ticket grab it. This is one of those terrific shows you will spend worthy hours with afterwards. You know, the kind of play that keeps on giving."
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Stage Buddy
March 10th, 2016

"Stephen Karam has written a play that stands for its time...The careful, relatable mundanity of the plot serves as a springboard for the profound conflicts of everyday existence...The formidable cast so brilliantly embody their roles that it's difficult to believe that they walk off stage and into their real lives...This play will move you, and it can -- and likely will be -- pondered and parsed for many years to come."
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T
March 25th, 2016

"A deeply engaging play...'The Humans' is a psychological thriller that manages to capture the human condition, its pain, its worries, its culpability, even its hopes in concrete images that often leave the audience spellbound. Joe Mantello’s direction is pure perfection as is David Zinn’s upstairs-downstairs, superego-ego set...The ensemble cast is brilliant – one member better than the next – and with superb craft give each of their characters a gritty authenticity."
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DC Theatre Scene
February 18th, 2016

"A production that has become even more timely in its expression of middle class anxieties, but remains most noteworthy for the exquisite performances by some of New York’s finest stage actors...For all the problems the characters face, the actors are superb in communicating an affection and good humor that feels genuine and that draws us in. They do justice to the work of playwright Stephen Karam."
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The Guardian (UK)
February 18th, 2016

"A funny, mournful, richly detailed and deeply humane study of a beleaguered family celebrating Thanksgiving dinner in a tumbledown Chinatown apartment...'The Humans,' attempts to infuse some of the action with the sense of the surreal and uncanny. These tonal gestures aren’t always effective, particularly as the play suggests that ordinary life offers sufficient horrors without any recourse to the supernatural. But it has, Karam insists, its comforts too."
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Times Square Chronicles
March 6th, 2016

"I really wanted to like Stephen Karam’s new play 'The Humans'...Sadly, the play left me with the same feelings as the first time and lost me at the same places...Director Joe Mantello gets the most out of his cast and his staging is interesting...My problem with this play is we’ve seen it before in 'Death of a Salesman,' only now we all are the salesman...We learn nothing here, we move forward not a step...I need to feel for these characters and I do not."
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USA Today
February 18th, 2016

"'Humans' considers the trials its highly imperfect subjects face in a highly imperfect world, and resolves, without ever approaching sentimentality, that love is nonetheless resilient…Director Joe Mantello and his superb cast ensure that the affection is as palpable as the tensions that strain at the family's bonds...'Humans' addresses these questions with great compassion but offers no easy answers, casting a spell that's unsettling but also strangely reassuring."
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Newsday
February 18th, 2016

"There is so much love, dread, tenderness and brutality in 'The Humans' that it is hard to believe just 90 minutes pass through Stephen Karam’s deeply-felt family tragicomedy thriller...The move to a larger showcase feels right, enlarging the impact without losing the nuances of light and dark...On second viewing, the retelling of bad dreams now seems woven into a richer psychological carpet and the few plot threads that seemed undeveloped now feel beautifully wrought."
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Towleroad
February 19th, 2016

"Under Joe Mantello’s expert direction, the play walks a delicate line between a natural sort of comedy and a surreal, foreboding drama. For every pleasantry or moment of easy kinship there’s a masked slight or a proof of distance...The premise of a clan reuniting for Thanksgiving may be far from original, but Karam’s characters are so specific and simultaneously recognizable that you may not only get wrapped up with them, but wind up reflecting on yourself and your own life in the process."
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NorthJersey.com
February 19th, 2016

“The comedy-drama is about the randomness of life, which can be terribly cruel, and the comfort received by belonging to a family…I appreciated the way the exemplary actors blended together with a special rapport. Under the masterful direction of Joe Mantello, they displayed the unmistakable rhythms of a family gathering:…‘The Humans’ doesn't suggest tomorrow will be a brighter day. What it does say is that, if we're part of a loving family, we won't have to face the bad stuff alone.”
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WNBC
February 18th, 2016

"Sensitively staged by Joe Mantello, 'The Humans' transpires in real-time, as one uninterrupted 95-minute act...Karam paints such a dynamic portrait of real life that I could only sit and absorb the insecurities and frailties batted around on stage. 'The Humans' is monumentally affecting, and something for which theatergoers should be oh-so-very thankful."
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Out Magazine
February 29th, 2016

"Bouts of affection are expressed, but only along with culture clashes, putdowns, and revelations on the order of illness and infidelity. That’s pretty standard for a family drama, but the play laces that with crackling dialogue which has your sympathies shifting between the characters...A remarkable and feisty work that’s one of the year’s best."
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Manhattan Digest
April 6th, 2016

"Watching 'The Humans' is like being a fly on the wall...Karam paints the most realistic characters who relate to one another in a non-sensational, but wholly compelling way. It doesn’t hurt that director Joe Mantello has assembled one of the best casts currently represented on a Broadway stage. There exists a universal component here that is remarkable...When the curtain falls, you have no choice but to leave 'The Humans' with a life-altering worldview."
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W
February 19th, 2016

“Stephen Karam's insightful, melancholy, it's funny-because-it's-true drama ‘The Humans’ is about the fears of one family…Joe Mantello, directing the outstanding original cast, balances everyday irritations and genuine eerieness delicately, so that it simultaneously feels mysteriously fable-like and grounded in reality…That's what's so beautiful and moving about ‘The Humans.’ This family doesn't just take each other apart — they put each other back together again.”
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The Associated Press
February 18th, 2016

"The dark comedy opened Thursday at the Helen Hayes Theatre with a terrific cast and an unsentimental look at the way we live today — anxiety-ridden, having little control over our environment or bodies, forever stretched and always a step from the abyss. It is an absolute triumph."
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StageZine
February 21st, 2016

"The story has all the elements of a crisis-by-the-numbers, formulaic drama, but what sets it apart from others is the crisp, often hilarious dialogue and the onstage chemistry of the cast...What’s most remarkable here is the great ensemble acting, expertly directed by Joe Mantello...Credit must also be given to the technical wizards of the show because 'The Humans' relies heavily on the set, sounds and lighting to evoke the mood and take the audience on an emotional ride."
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Drama Queen NYC
February 25th, 2016

"This is a major play, no doubt about it...'The Humans' is a deeply humane and compassionate play, and, in spite of tackling difficult subjects, a sparklingly funny one...The cast is uniformly extraordinary, with my personal favorite being the always sparkling Houdyshell. Director Joe Mantello delineates ever turn of this intricate play, never missing a detail or a nuance. Highly recommended."
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NY Theatre Guide
February 22nd, 2016

"'The Humans' is a play that, on the surface, seems simple. The family drama isn’t life or death, and most of the play is playful banter at the Thanksgiving table. Yet, powerful performances and a remarkable set design combine to create a true recreation of everyday life on the stage."
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Cultural Weekly
February 17th, 2016

“The play takes a familiar template but gives it a ghostly twist. Joe Mantello’s tight direction and the sterling, deeply-felt performances from a magnificent ensemble cast of six is intact from the Laura Pels engagement. David Zinn’s two-tiered set might have some sightline problems but that is the only quibble for this stunningly accurate snapshot of how we live now.”
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The New York Times
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"Mr. Karam’s comedy-drama depicts the way we live now with a precision and compassion unmatched by any play I’ve seen in recent years...All the actors in 'The Humans' are at their best…Mr. Mantello orchestrates the complicated action and shifting emotional currents with admirable dexterity; this may be his finest work in an already distinguished career...Mr. Karam’s haunting, beautifully realized play is quite possibly the finest we will see all season."
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Time Out New York
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"A nuanced group portrait of life in the shadow of disaster, 'The Humans' unfurls in a single 95-minute scene, but it never feels static. As incarnated by a seamless ensemble cast that includes some of New York’s finest stage actors, expertly conducted for the Roundabout by director Joe Mantello, the Blakes are constantly moving around and adjusting their defenses."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"Karam’s thrilling mastery of polyphonic dialogue would be enough to sustain the play as a superb slice-of-life story. The halting, eddying, and often-diverted flow of conversation makes for an uncanny naturalism…That this is all completely legible onstage is the result of one of those miracles of producing that has brought the perfect cast (and designers) together under faultlessly confident direction."
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The Hollywood Reporter
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"Under Joe Mantello's impeccable direction, and in the hands of an exemplary six-member ensemble, the play builds on the ample promise of Karam's earlier works, confirming him as a uniquely probing investigator of the contemporary American psyche…The acting is faultless. Birney and Houdyshell are indisputable treasures of the New York stage, and every one of their fellow cast rises to the same level of complexity."
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Entertainment Weekly
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"What makes 'The Humans' so extraordinary is Karam’s spot-on rendering of perfectly ordinary characters.…The relentless eerie sounds of the laundry room, the trash compactor, and an upstairs neighbor who must be dropping bowling balls establish an ever-so-slight (and slightly forced) supernatural undertone. The creepiest thing about 'The Humans' is how real everyone up on that stage is. It’s frightening— and completely fascinating."
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Deadline
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"As the evening moves like nature from light into darkness, Karam and his incomparable director Joe Mantello take this first class ensemble and us interlopers along a journey that’s part family drama and thriller...None in the cast could be bettered...'The Humans' is tremendously exciting theater...You won’t see a better play this year."
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The Washington Post
October 30th, 2015
For a previous production

"Time passes in a compulsively watchable whoosh during Karam’s world-premiere 'The Humans…' Each of the actors, under Mantello’s superb guidance, creates a character with whom he or she is on deeply intimate terms; you’d swear this group of people had spent a lifetime of turkey days together…'The Humans' explores, across an enthralling spectrum of ups and downs, what being a family is all about."
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AM New York
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"Under the direction of Joe Mantello, the six-member cast delivers vulnerable, truthful performances while also handling simultaneous action on the two-story set, overlapping dialogue and many silent pauses. That being said, 'The Humans' is surprisingly empty as a narrative, lacking the twists and wicked humor of Karam's other plays. No climax or resolution occurs. Instead, it just drags along for just under two hours with an overwhelmingly downbeat aura."
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Theatermania
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"Jarringly authentic in language, performance, and design, this play is likely to feel all-too-familiar for many theatergoers...Never has there been a more realistic encapsulation of the electricity generated when multiple generations come together under one roof for a perfunctory dinner. Director Joe Mantello succeeds in fostering this authenticity by stepping out of the way of his insanely talented cast, but also by giving attention to detail in the play's smart design."
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Lighting & Sound America
November 2nd, 2015
For a previous production

"Even the tiniest interactions among the family members convened for his drama 'The Humans' reveal the vast differences in perception that separate them... Under the supremely observant direction of Joe Mantello, one of the season's finest ensembles illuminates the complex web of love, dependency, and resentment that binds the Blakes as they struggle to come to terms with an age of ever-shrinking expectations."
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Talkin' Broadway
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"Because of how gingerly he unveils each new secret, Karam never allows you time to adjust: You'll always be cemented to the edge of your seat…Rich as Karam's characters are, particularly near the end he gets a bit bogged down in his trickery…One of the can't-miss plays of the year, and one that proves that the New York theatre family is one that would be infinitely less rewarding were Karam not a part of it."
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TheaterScene.net
November 12th, 2015
For a previous production

"For the first half of Stephen Karam’s 'The Humans,' the Blake family Thanksgiving seems to be nothing but a banal seasonal gathering. And then suddenly the author’s message comes into focus and the play becomes a haunting drama and unnerving ghost story which is unlike anything you have seen lately...'The Humans' becomes a memorably unique experience."
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Theatre is Easy
October 30th, 2015
For a previous production

"Director Joe Mantello has not only steered this superb ensemble of actors, but designers as well, toward this magnificent production. Mantello’s deceptively light touch here wields all of his artist’s great work into a singular vision and makes some unforgettable stage pictures in the process. In micro 'The Humans' is about the Blakes, in macro it’s as encompassing as the title implies...Just see it."
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Theater Pizzazz
October 30th, 2015
For a previous production

"The revelations that come to pass within the 90 minutes of this natural comedy-drama, skillfully directed by Joe Mantello, touch our lives daily. Stephen Karam ('Sons of the Prophet') possesses a sensitivity that captures all our emotions, placing each of us into that one category we all share – 'Humans'."
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CurtainUp
October 26th, 2015
For a previous production

"Mr. Karam skillfully establishes the situation and develops the family dynamic with dialogue so real you feel you're eavesdropping. But even Joe Mantello's directorial expertise can't prevent this theatrical platter from coming off as piled somewhat too high with problems, nor keep the upstairs-downstairs business and naturalistic small talk from occasional tedium. Fortunately, the actors here manage to deflect from this."
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Front Mezz Junkies
November 29th, 2015
For a previous production

"Houdyshell and Birney are truly magnificent...The complex and detailed way that Steele and Beck interact as sisters and as daughters felt so honest and authentic, I was hypnotized...I felt a bit lost and confused as they rushed to the ending while also, in the same moment, taking too much dramatic time with the very last visual. Was I missing the big meaning or payoff? 'Cause I left that Thanksgiving dinner feeling underfeed, unsatisfied, and still a bit hungry."
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Exeunt Magazine
October 30th, 2015
For a previous production

"Karam effortlessly nails the brittle prickle of well-meant family reunions…Everyone on stage has their demons and their secrets, many of which – if distilled – would sound formulaic…But these roll out so organically, and are given life by the brilliantly natural cast, that they tumble rather than thud…Mantello finds the silences surrounding the script’s humour, broadening what is a sharply funny portrait of New York City’s housing market into something bigger."
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New York Theater
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

“Under Joe Mantello’s expert direction, the atmosphere of dread becomes an outward manifestation of the characters’ fears…Playwright Stephen Karam nails the dynamics of an ordinary family over the course of the Thanksgiving get-together...But he goes further, offering a glimpse at nothing less than the strains and stresses of American middle class life while never straying from credibly and affectionately presenting the lives of six individual humans.”
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B
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

“The playwright has chosen to make the apartment, with its sudden loud noises and its abruptly failing lighting, a metaphor - a rather clumsy one, in my opinion - for the entropy in the characters’ lives. The acting is very strong and the situations are mostly easy to empathize with. However, the play loses steam toward the end and the final moments were a disappointment. Nevertheless, its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses.”
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The Huffington Post
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"The writing talent is there, and very much on display; but as the evening goes on we feel like the author has run into a dead end, yet keeps going…Karam is clearly a talented writer with a future; anyone with his command of language and character is most welcome…'The Humans,' though, is overrun by depressing characters with depressing problems, who are beset with a few too many mysterious unknowns."
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NY Theatre Guide
October 31st, 2015
For a previous production

"In the beautifully executed production of 'The Humans' by Stephen Karam, the characters are so transparent that you might feel that you are eavesdropping. So easily do these fine actors inhabit their characters that a person could not be blamed were she to swan out of her seat and up onto the stage to join everyone in Thanksgiving dinner. Get the skinny on these folks who are intriguing from first sight."
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The Wrap
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"Karam’s dialogue is masterful in the way it sets the boyfriend Richard apart from the Blake family...The Blakes are obsessed with hurricanes and terrorist attacks when it’s the day-to-day worries about unemployment, illness, romance, and money that are the real horror show. Those problems don’t sound as scary as zombies and vampires, but the suspense in 'The Humans' builds right up to the moment that the apartment lights go out for good."
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Broadway & Me
November 18th, 2015
For a previous production

"Director Joe Mantello does a masterful job of showing all the degrees of pain…And the show couldn't be better cast. It's almost a cliché to say how good Reed Birney and Jayne Houdyshell are in everything they do. But they are superb here as ordinary people who haven't asked much of the world and who have gotten far less than that. They're joined by fine and moving performances from Cassie Beck and Sarah Steele as the grown daughters."
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Newsday
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"In just 90 minutes of overlapping wit, tenderness and blistering brutality, Karam, director Joe Mantello and six expert actors walk us up to the edge of the abyss…Both funny and tragic, the play is also more scattershot in its plot points, with too much retelling of bad dreams and a few threads that feel dropped in without sufficient development…Karam is marvelous at tragicomedy nuance…This one, if still a little wrought around the edges, is haunting."
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NorthJersey.com
October 27th, 2015
For a previous production

"Stephen Karam's rich, powerful and deeply empathic play, sensitively directed by Joe Mantello, offers a simultaneously cheering and heartbreaking look at an ordinary, decent American family facing struggles in the world... There's a mournful sense that the problems are basically insoluble; the characters won't suddenly land on their feet."
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WNBC
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"I loved these performances, and the ways the characters were trying to stumble through lives haunted by an array of tribulations. Ditto for the piercing script by Pulitzer Prize-finalist Karam, in spite of a 9/11 storyline that seemed unnecessary...I watched the final scenes peeking through my fingers, as if at a Freddy Krueger movie, and not a meticulously crafted drama about fear and the complicated ways we drop our guard when encircled by family."
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StageZine
October 29th, 2015
For a previous production

"Director Joe Mantello extracts excellent performances from each of his cast members. In the wrong hands, this could have been a maudlin evening, but in Mr. Mantello’s hands, he keeps his cast and things moving at a fast-pace. I have to add that David Zinn’s set is a visual treat. His duplex anchors the show and all that is about to unfold."
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Off Script with Dan Dwyer
October 31st, 2015
For a previous production

"Rarely do all creative elements cohere as beautifully as they do in 'The Humans': the real star of the show is director Joe Mantello...What makes the familiar seem so fresh is the verisimilitude Karam captures in the family unit...It’s Mantello’s direction that allows kitchen talk to flow as realistically and piercingly as Karam writes it...Mantello orchestrates it all seamlessly, creating theater that ranks among the best of dramas about the American family."
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Act Three - The Reviews
December 10th, 2015
For a previous production

"The wonderfully talented writer, Stephen Karam, has penned yet another potent work...'The Humans' is a bare bones expose of the titular condition translated to us via the Blake Family...Funny, poignant, and sad. Mr. Birney and Ms. Houdyshell might just be the finest actors on the stage today. Neither one seems to be able to utter an insincere or unintentional word."
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Reviewing The Drama
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"Joe Mantello directs a terrific cast…I was thoroughly enjoying the naturalistic play, with its palpable wit and true pathos. There were many moments when I found myself nodding in agreement...But the ending took a different-than-expected turn, deviating from where/how I wanted it to end. The end makes sense, to be sure, it's just not the one I wanted. I can't blame playwright Karam, though. He's only human."
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American Theater Web
October 26th, 2015
For a previous production

"Directed with a sure hand by Joe Mantello, the company balances the play’s mixture of comedy and drama with finesse...The group does get through their Thanksgiving meal and, unsurprisingly, a more than a few secrets come out as the gathering progresses. If not all of them are surprises, it doesn’t matter or diminish the impact of 'The Humans,' which provides an articulate and heartrending picture of a family weathering difficult times."
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The Associated Press
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"Karam clearly understands the instability affecting the American middle-class...Cassie Beck is both funny and touching…Mantello expertly stages overlapping conversations in different rooms on the two-level set…Even if the Blakes can't quite keep all the harsh realities of life at bay, Karam's empathetic rendering of a family enduring setbacks leaves the audience hopeful that they will find strength in their love for one another."
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As Her World Turns
November 9th, 2015
For a previous production

"As the evening wears on, tension cuts deep and hard truths pour out. It’s an honest portrait of how complicated family relationships are, exploring familial irritation/friction and the glue of underlying love that bonds them together. It’s not always easy to watch but I was glad to catch this show."
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W
October 26th, 2015
For a previous production

"For some viewers, the stakes may be too low and the awkwardness too normal to drag us into the story. After all, the story is about the little indignities we all might face that we never expected to. It reminds us all that our friends or families are only one or two emergencies away from the same plight. 'The Humans' is very well directed by Joe Mantello and well acted by the fine cast."
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Show Showdown
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"Not everything works perfectly in 'The Humans.' Erik's Big Reveal at the end of the dinner seems a little out of character, and the fallout a little tacked on. Then again, the play's lack of forced exposition, or of neat little endings for all the random characters' predicaments, makes perfect sense: no one ever resolves all their problems and fixes those of their family members over the course of a single holiday meal."
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T
November 5th, 2015
For a previous production

"Karam is a slave to contrivance, making 'The Humans' similar to a TV sitcom trying to get serious and illuminate its characters' psychology... These people have enough in their daily lives to deal with without giving them some ginned up near-tragedy to add to their back story...Reservations aside, Joe Mantello’s always engaging staging and a top-flight ensemble help make 'The Humans' seem more incisive and truthful than it really is."
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BritishTheatre.com
October 25th, 2015
For a previous production

"Fitting, perhaps, for a play about a family Thanksgiving, this is a turkey...Karam’s script attempts nothing new, particularly insightful or intriguing....Given the inherent limitations of the writing, Mantello does as good a job as any director might be expected to do…Karam should be grateful indeed to this cast, especially Houdyshell and Birney; they provide grounded realism, accessible acting which prevents the 'big reveal' from being nothing more than laughable."
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Show Buzz NYC
January 4th, 2016
For a previous production

"The genre is actually closer to a 'horror play' and the terror is slowly built by our post-911, post-Hurricane Sandy, survival-mode ethos...Reed Birney, as the patriarch, gives a nuanced, painful performance as he falls from grace...This play stuck with me for days after I saw it. Maybe it’s because of the personal challenges in my life, but it shook me to the core and left me with a depression that was hard to exorcise. You have been warned."
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TheaterScene.com
November 4th, 2015
For a previous production

"If you like neat, tidy plays that lay out everything in an easy to digest manner, don’t go to this play. If you relish seeing a play that strikes out for unknown territories, that disturbs and provokes in equal measure then make a beeline to the play in question...The familial anxieties of this iconic yearly gathering seem familiar and comforting, but playwright Karam has created a haunting, disquieting treatise that packs a wallop by evening’s end."
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