The Iceman Cometh (Broadway)
Closed 3h 50m
The Iceman Cometh (Broadway)
76

The Iceman Cometh (Broadway) NYC Reviews and Tickets

76%
(250 Reviews)
Positive
78%
Mixed
16%
Negative
6%
Members say
Great acting, Slow, Absorbing, Intense, Dated

About the Show

Tony and two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington returns to Broadway in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s classic portrait of hope and disillusionment.

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Member Reviews (250)

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80
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great ensemble acting, Great staging

See it if you want to see a modern American classic directed by one of Bway's most accomplished directors & performed by a stellar ensemble cast.

Don't see it if you'll be daunted by the 4-hr length (cut down from O'Neill's original 5-hrs); you're only in it for Denzel; you expect a definitive revival

88
Why another revival of iceman? director, george wolfe, breaths new life into this big, baggy existential play that plumbs the depths of our soul

See it if Wolfe brilliantly humanizes/brings out humor; sets/lighting turn scenes into virtual paintings; best Bdway ensemble w fine Denzel as lead

Don't see it if at 4 hours play is overlong & repetitious; 2nd act/party scene could be omitted/truncated Read more

Critic Reviews (43)

The New York Times
April 26th, 2018

"Who’s going to feel like nodding off, or slump into terminal angst, when Mr. Wolfe has filled the stage with such delectably seasoned hams...Watching this latest incarnation, I laughed more often than I teared up. But this 'Iceman' acquires its own poignant lyricism...With its heightened performances and tone-poem visuals, this production also clearly elicits the musical nature of 'Iceman.'"
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Time Out New York
April 26th, 2018

"The language is stiff with dated slang; key terms like 'pipe dream' recur literally dozens of times. Yet the cumulative effect of this handsomely decrepit production is bracing. Director George C. Wolfe keeps things moving at a quick clip; not all of the bigger character choices pay off—and some of the actors are hard to hear or understand—but there are performances to savor...It is Washington’s show, and he seizes it with both hands in Hickey’s climactic monologue."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
April 26th, 2018

"The kind of production that puts prospective audience members off 'classics' for good...You’d be within your rights to run screaming from the theater by the first of the show’s two intermissions. If, however, you decided to stick around for the whole moribund, infuriating ride, you might find yourself wondering why this play is considered a classic at all...Wolfe, despite his long and lauded directorial career, doesn’t seem to have something specific to say about the play."
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The Hollywood Reporter
April 26th, 2018

"George C. Wolfe's revival feels on some levels like it's still cohering, the underlying despair remaining muted for too much of the three-hour-45-minute running time. But it comes together in a powerful final act driven by the searing confessional monologue of Denzel Washington's Hickey...Wolfe has assembled a talented ensemble, almost all digging deep into their characters...In those closing scenes, the play finally achieves its full tragic grandeur."
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Entertainment Weekly
April 26th, 2018

"'The Iceman Cometh' is in good hands with this latest creative team led by director George C. Wolfe...Yes, the play is long and the dialogue often repetitive...And yet it can be repetitive in the way music is, coming back to themes that the cast riffs on neatly under Wolfe’s orchestration...Washington’s Hickey proves a transfixing storyteller, a salesman who knows how to close."
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Variety
April 26th, 2018

"Helmer George C. Wolfe has trimmed the play to a reasonable length without losing the nuances in the various life histories of the boys in the barroom. But this is still a long play with a lot of moving parts. The first act, in which all the characters are introduced and roughly defined, is the most attenuated. Everyone lightens up – a bit too much, actually – in the second act, which shoots for comedy. But everything comes together in the third act, which spells Drama with a capital D."
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The Wall Street Journal
April 26th, 2018

"Washington's performance, not at all surprisingly, lacks depth and inner tension: You can feel the momentum of the play go slack every time he enters. In all other aspects, though, this 'Iceman' is a production of high distinction...He’s taken a cast full of familiar faces and welded them into a true ensemble...He’s also cut 'Iceman' by roughly an hour, and the play is the better for having been pruned so rigorously."
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Deadline
April 26th, 2018

"Though certainly built around mega-star Washington, this 'Iceman' is so well-cast and performed that Washington’s late, happy-dance entrance almost seems a worry. Is something delicate about to be knocked off balance? And in some ways, it is. Washington is at his best here when he’s mixing with the rabble...An ensemble as outstanding as it is large."
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The Washington Post
April 26th, 2018

"Intermittently pleasurable revival...This 'Iceman' feels rather oddly choppy, and the crucial turning point reveals comic impact but no poignant undercarriage...O’Neill’s monologues are delivered lyrically intact, but a tragic thread in the play has been shortchanged: The bond between Hickey and the others never achieves that mystical dimension that is fast to evaporate."
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Chicago Tribune
April 26th, 2018

"Poignant, vulnerable, and intimate, Washington's distinguished performance bobs around in a sea of circling sharks...There is more pleasure taken here in the poetic verbosity of the play, delivered without invasive subtext...Wolfe didn't forget O'Neill's tacit observation that no one yet has definitively determined alcohol to be a palliative any less valid than any other against the usual ravages of life."
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New York Daily News
April 26th, 2018

"Does marquee attraction Denzel Washington delivereth the goods? You bet — and then some...Washington has shiny star quality and 100-proof charisma that fits like a glove for Hickey. But the performance goes beyond mere surface gloss...Otherwise, Wolfe’s staging is a mixed bag. Part of that is because the play is so long, talky and repetitive...But there are also bright spots in the new production."
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AM New York
April 26th, 2018

"Under the focused direction of George C. Wolfe, the play has been cut down from five to four hours in length — which is not an unwelcome change given that the script is lumbering and repetitious...Wolfe is often too self-conscious in his direction, fiddling with the set design and blocking. Nevertheless, the production succeeds largely on account of a terrific ensemble in great character roles."
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NY1
April 26th, 2018

"It's all there in the writing, but Wolfe's production digs deep to uncover dimensions unseen before, and that's thanks to some inspired casting and a fresh new directorial eye...Everyone shines in this production...Washington tackles the role of everyone's favorite salesman Hickey with a softer edge here. And if it's not the grandstanding performance we've seen in past productions, it is a most honest one from a gifted actor breathing humanity into this super-human character."
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Theatermania
April 26th, 2018

"Under Wolfe's brisk direction, the superb cast headed by Denzel Washington makes this 'Iceman' not only engaging and fast-moving but also knee-slappingly funny...Wolfe has thankfully approached this play as a grand ensemble piece that offers all its actors the chance to illuminate their characters' quirky personalities and delusions...This ensemble brings 'Iceman' to life in a way that illuminates the play's bleak worldview without getting bogged down by it."
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BroadwayWorld
May 2nd, 2018

"Escaping disillusionment through the comfort of alcohol while clinging to hopeless pipe dreams is rarely depicted with such crackling energy...The huge problem is that there's already so much energy in the room when above-the-title star Washington finally arrives as good old Hickey, there's no major change in the atmosphere and the play loses an important aspect of its texture...Those unfamiliar with 'The Iceman' may find this mounting perfectly satisfying."
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Lighting & Sound America
April 27th, 2018

"There's plenty of meat for the actor who plays Hickey, but it's a role that doesn't sit especially well on Washington...At times he seems strangely distanced...Morse is an excellent Slade...Though it was probably not intended, he occupies the center of Wolfe's production...A demanding play, but in a really good production it exerts a tidal pull...That doesn't quite happen here. Still, Morse's performance can make one look at this classic play in a new way, and that's not nothing."
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Talkin' Broadway
April 26th, 2018

"A desultory revival that occasionally sparks into life but that ultimately sinks under the weight of its own stasis. Not even the presence of a generally first-rate cast headed up by superstar Denzel Washington can do much to break things out of a repetitive loop...Director George C. Wolfe has helped each of the actors 'find' his or her character to the extent that we certainly can tell them apart. Yet none is developed beyond the bit of shtick that makes them recognizable."
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New York Stage Review
April 26th, 2018

"Give Washington kudos for his extraordinary performance, his dedication, and the opportunity he presents to his marvelous castmates...What lifts this production, though, is the handling of the other 14 characters...Wolfe sees to it that all remain intensely present...'The Iceman Cometh' has always been a difficult evening of theater. Wolfe and Washington and a marvelous cast demonstrate that the play is indeed a monumental piece of theater."
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New York Stage Review
April 26th, 2018

"More stylized than dramatically stirring in Wolfe’s arty staging, the latest Broadway production of this great and gloomy work is noteworthy for the mottled gallery of misfits and riff-raff created by actors in supporting roles rather than its leading performance by Denzel Washington...It is a challenging work to produce effectively. The rendition of the drama currently at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre does not achieve the requisite life and death significance of O’Neill’s somber vision."
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Theater News Online
April 27th, 2018

"I was not bored for a second...This version moves...There’s a sure foot on the accelerator...Done right, 'Iceman Cometh' is cumulatively invigorating, if not outright electrifying. Wolfe and his cherry-picked cast, happily, bring the electricity. This is one of the finest ensembles I’ve seen in a long time maybe ever...Washington rattles off O’Neill’s fulsome lines with a sassy panache and brio, while giving full scope to Hickey’s underlying self-hatred and disgust."
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Broadway News
April 26th, 2018

"Shatteringly good Broadway revival...A great production of Eugene O’Neill’s monumental drama requires a towering performance in the crucial role of Hickey, and Washington memorably delivers one...Happily, the cast assembled by the veteran director George C. Wolfe is almost without a weak link...This is the first 'Iceman' I’ve seen in which the surface Hickey...truly seems to have moved beyond the trap of his life into another darker trap of madness."
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TheaterScene.net
May 7th, 2018

"Denzel Washington, the raison d'être of this production (coming way too soon after several recent stagings), gives a boisterous, almost pleasant performance as Theodore Hickman, aka Hickey, who is the 'Godot' of 'Iceman,' in whom the godforsaken characters put too much faith, a faith that, by the end of the play, is shown to be clearly misplaced. There is absolutely no foreboding in his interpretation. He takes the glad-handing aspect of Hickey too literally..."
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CurtainUp
April 27th, 2018

"With Washington at its center, this production qualifies as a star revival. But the star is supported by 18 unusually able actors; and the proceedings are directed by George C. Wolfe with compassionate attention to details of characterization. It's a high velocity 'Iceman'...Washington's Hickey doesn't fit snugly in the otherwise balanced ensemble...Washington's performance is nonetheless engrossing and believable on its own, separate terms."
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Front Row Center
April 30th, 2018

"Blessed with a sprawling cast of stage veterans, director George C. Wolfe constructs fantastic tableaus...Blessed with a sprawling cast of stage veterans, director George C. Wolfe constructs fantastic tableaus...But in presenting an African-American Hickey, O’Neill’s commentary about race gets scrambled...It’s an awkward problem that casts a shadow of confusion over this otherwise self-assured production."
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Front Mezz Junkies
May 3rd, 2018

"A solidly contracted dance towards death, filled with engaging and deep performances from a cast of pros relishing and finding humor in every morsel and whiskey shot. There is barely a weak link in the lot...They all resonate and vibrate at such a high level of detached lockjaw that their drunkenness is somehow energizing and we can not look away...It’s a big commitment, this 'Iceman,' but worth every hour."
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C
April 26th, 2018

"The only truly great thing about George C. Wolfe’s mostly traditional production is that the (color-blind) casting of superstar Denzel Washington in the lead role of glad-handing salesman Theodore 'Hickey' Hickman will likely introduce this play to a whole new cadre of theater lovers. What’s not-so-great about Wolfe’s rendering, most importantly, is Washington’s somewhat disappointing performance...It’s some of the less well-known performers who make the strongest impression."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
May 1st, 2018

"Washington is charming, conflicted, and persuasive. His supporting company, however, despite its inclusion of…reliable 'name' actors, falls short…Unlike Robert Falls's nuanced, far more subtly crafted BAM production, Wolfe's is like an acting Olympics in which each performer seems to be competing with his or her colleagues...Superficial character business supersedes…naturalness, including phony New York accents from both the tarts and tipplers that only increase the feeling of artificiality."
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DC Theatre Scene
April 29th, 2018

"A strong ensemble cast of 19...persuasively play a dive full of colorful characters...The design and staging place the play firmly in the realm of the lyrical, but the acting makes it feel grounded in psychological reality. The trimming manages to direct more attention to the individual denizens of Harry Hope's saloon, each with a story to tell, each story giving another talented performer a chance to shine."
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The Guardian (UK)
April 26th, 2018

"A series of solos, many of them from the horn section...One experiences less a world and more a room full of actors, mostly good ones, each waiting for a chance to monologue...The big monologue belongs to Washington’s Hickey. For most of it, Washington is playing Washington, letting his good looks and irrepressible charm do most of the character work, though the play’s most exciting moments are when he lets that charm falter."
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The Wrap
April 26th, 2018

"Revelatory staging...Wolfe pushes his cast, led by Denzel Washington, to uncommon excellence...Under Wolfe’s direction, the actors convey an expressionistic freak show...The beauty of Wolfe’s direction is that he’s able to accommodate different acting styles in his often surreal vision...Near the end of 'Iceman,' it seems perfectly natural that Washington begins his long confession by pulling a chair up to the edge of the stage to address the audience directly."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
May 9th, 2018

"Although for a while he shows the required bluster but doesn’t hint at much underneath, when it comes to Hickey’s tell-all scene about himself, Washington delivers with shattering soulful nakedness...At that point it is an extraordinary performance....The large cast is composed of excellent actors..This is one of O’Neill’s major works, and it is rewarding to see it performed anew, especially with Washington making his bid to make the renowned role his own."
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T
May 5th, 2018

“Washington makes a game effort...and he nails some of the character’s dimensions...Unfortunately, he misses the darkness beneath the sunny exterior...Wolfe emphasizes the humor of Hickey and the huge cast of pitiable drunks clinging to their fantasies. As a result, the audience gets a hearty chuckle at their foibles and no gasps of recognition that they share the same condition...There are moments of mirth and some depth."
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Stage Left
May 7th, 2018

"This is the first 'Iceman' I’ve seen and it strikes me as a fairly conventional but fast-paced production of an episodic, behemoth play. Mr. Washington doesn’t move about the stage so much as dance, and Mr. Wolfe is an expert at crafting vignettes and smoky tableaus that keep the eye constantly engaged. Here he constructs a symphony from O’Neill’s lyrical text, aided with no doubt the strongest ensemble cast on Broadway."
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Daily Beast
April 26th, 2018

"O’Neill’s anguished character studies need to be contained and the participants magnified or they become diffuse and make only fleeting impact...Morse’s fury and unhappiness is always brimful in his dour, affecting performance...Washington is our jocular, warmly accessible guide into this Stygian watering hole, but somehow the darker register of Hickey eludes him...The sense of a world against you and of you pitted against the world, somehow never pierces as hard as it should."
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TheaterScene.com
May 1st, 2018

"As vivid and surprisingly entertaining a group of humans as you are likely to find on a Broadway stage this season...Washington proves once again to be as dynamic a performer on stage as he is on screen...The 19-person company is simply chockablock with terrific performances...Wolfe's direction also crackles with urgency, infusing the story-telling with suspense...The only off-note in Wolfe's direction would be the rather limp endings he gives to the first three of play's four acts."
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Newsday
April 26th, 2018

"George C. Wolfe's thoughtful staging of what many consider O'Neill's masterwork...Wolfe brings this one in at just under four without significant detriment or noticeable trims. There's still plenty of time to marvel at the fine cast...It is difficult to overcome the hopelessness that pervades almost every moment of 'Iceman.' So best to simply relish the power of a great play and the actors — all the actors — who tell the story."
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The Telegraph (UK)
April 27th, 2018

"There's no question that Washington brings excitement...Even though his performance doesn't always go deep into Hickey's haunted psyche, he's a dynamic presence...It's in the last hour that Washington really captivates...Until then, Wolfe's production meanders, and the pacing feels rushed...Effective moments give way to lackluster scenes and too many actors in the 19-person ensemble seem out of step with each other."
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StageZine
May 29th, 2018

"Clocking in at nearly four hours, you have to have the stamina of a bull elephant to sit through a repetitious, 'slosh fest' babblethon...Washington and Morse provide solid performances and manage to make this ponderous evening bearable. Honestly speaking, spending eight hours at 'Angels in America', is more uplifting and epic than this miserable evening of self-pitying and self-loathing, but if one is a Washington or O’Neill fan, it should not be missed."
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Village Voice
June 5th, 2018

‘A leisurely but gripping four hours...Wolfe keeps the action lively, allowing the script’s more vaudevillian bits a slight natural exaggeration, without losing sight of the overall bleakness of these bedraggled souls. Not everyone onstage is at the high level of the best performances but the standout turns here give Wolfe’s showier version the looming strength that ‘Iceman’ requires...Washington’s performance overall is the finest piece of stage work I’ve seen from him.”
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Z
May 1st, 2018

"Even though the current incarnation...has a lot more laughs than usual, it still isn't exactly a comedy...The entire cast, under the energetic direction of Wolfe, simmers and stews, drinks and dreams, brilliantly...Washington...has never used his wide smile and ingratiating charm to better effect...And when he finally delivers his long fourth act soliloquy...We watch him spin, and justify, and, finally, crack, and it's as chilling a scene as ever we've witnessed."
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The Clyde Fitch Report
April 27th, 2018

"'It’s an ensemble that can be balanced delicately...Wolfe’s new revival eschews any such balance, crushing the magical simplicity of O’Neill long tale...Wolfe’s direction is as stiff as a shot from the bar...When staged well, we can enter a community built of the core human need for companionship...Washington’s magnetism cannot force us to feel that feeling, and if it doesn’t exactly leave us ice cold, it’s no more satisfying than watery gin."
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History News Network
April 30th, 2018

"Hickey, played by a superb Denzel Washington, bounces down the aisle from the back of the theater...The play suddenly soars with him (and Washington) in it...He is sad, he is funny, and throughout the show, Washington is downright wonderful...Washington heads up a stellar cast...Despite all of the impressive acting and brilliant writing, 'The Iceman Cometh' is just too long, though. A good 45 minutes could have been cut from the script."
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N
April 27th, 2018

"A powerful revival...Washington is the most sympathetic Hickey I have seen...This 'Iceman' is at once a star vehicle and an ensemble piece, and the ensemble here is stellar...Morse's performance is incredibly nuanced, masterfully depicting a man who doesn't care at all and cares too much, often at the same time...Briskly paced direction...Time does fly when you're in the presence of some top-flight artists at the top of their game...A production to remember."
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