New York | 3h 50m | Already closed

The Iceman Cometh (Broadway)

From 43 critic and 246 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Slow, Absorbing, Dated, Intense

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. More…

At Harry Hope’s saloon, the biannual visit of charismatic traveling salesman Hickey (Washington) is cause for celebration. But when a newly sober Hickey arrives, his renewed outlook on life threatens to upend the lives of his old friends, leading to a series of devastatingly comic and heartbreaking events. This epic 18-character drama is directed by five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe ('Shuffle Along,' 'Bring in 'da Noise/Bring in 'da Funk,''Angels in America.')

3h 50m | Already closed | Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (Midtown W)

Broadway News

"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." Full Review

Theater News Online

"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." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"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." Full Review

The Wrap

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The New York Times

"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.'" Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Front Row Center

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Village Voice

‘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.” Full Review


"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." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"'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." Full Review

History News Network

"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." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"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." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"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." Full Review

Time Out New York

"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." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

"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." Full Review

Stage Left

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

AM New York

"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." Full Review

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great writing, Great acting, Masterful

See it if You like brilliant classical plays and want to see great acting.

Don't see it if You have a short attention span. You don't appreciate the classics.

Entertaining, Exquisite, Dated

See it if You love O'Neill classics. And Denzel is one of the greatest stage actors alive! Although the play itself is dated and really long, its 100

Don't see it if You dont like classic O'Neill. It is dated. And the staging is moldy

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense

See it if You enjoy strong dialogue, are a Denzel Washington fan, like male driven dramas.

Don't see it if You are looking for something light and fluffy, want to see strong female leads, not a fan of Eugene Oneill's work

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Must see, Profound

See it if Excellent production of a classic O'Neill play. Gloriously directed & designed, and acted by a great ensemble lead by Mr. Washington.

Don't see it if You don't like plays by Eugene O'Neill.

Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Riveting, Epic

See it if You want to see a classic play performed by an amazing array of well-trained stage actors.

Don't see it if You want a contemporary play. You're daunted by the play's run time.

Also While the run time is intimidating ( 3 hours, 50 minutes), it's worth ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Epic, Profound

See it if Talented supporting cast surrounds the most compelling Hickey in the past 30 years in Washington

Don't see it if Uncomfortable Jacobs Theatre will make you want to head for exit before 3 hour 45 minute epic is over miss out on clearest 4th act ever

Absorbing, Funny, Intelligent, Intense

See it if you want to see a great and moving play. I like it more than Long Day's Journey Into Night.

Don't see it if the usual characteristics of O'Neill's play-length (4 hours), repetitiveness, windiness, speeches in dialect-you deem to be insurmountable.

Also I think this play is a remarkable playwriting achievement.... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great acting, Clever, Great writing, Masterful

See it if you want to see some of great Broadway actors in cameos doing what they do best. Denzel Washington brings just the right touch to the role.

Don't see it if you dislike older plays and can't deal with a 4 hour run focusing primarily on down and out characters.

Great acting, Intense, Profound, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if Long classic plays race by through fine acting of Denzel Washington, Colm Meaney, Bill Irwin, Danny McCarthy, Clark Middleton, Neal Huff etc

Don't see it if You hate long plays, don't want to be depressed, or can't take Eugene O'Neill. But this was a very very fine production indeed.

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Intense, Classic

See it if You don't want to miss a revival that remains true to it's origins with a modern perspective, incredible ensemble acting as well as Denzel.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy O'Neill's style of prodding the dark side of human nature.

Absorbing, Masterful, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You love O'Neill and want to see Denzel.

Don't see it if You do not like long plays! It is definitely a commitment, but it is well worth it, especially if you're a theater buff.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Heavy

See it if you love classic beautifully written pieces about life. Got to love 4 hours of O'Neill!

Don't see it if you want a happy upbeat mindless entertaining show.

Ambitious, Great acting, Riveting, Shattering, Masterful

See it if you want to see a very fine production of an O'Neill classic.

Don't see it if you do not like somber and serious drama with little to no comic relief.

Also Though Denzel is the raison d'etre for this production, there's a doze... Read more Read less

Dated, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you want to see the best-performed version of this admittedly butt-numbing four hour drunkologue you are ever likely to experience

Don't see it if you hate O'Neill and his long-winded & fairly dated dialogue

Also I am so glad I went. Yes, it's tough to sit through an O'Neill play an... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Epic, Masterful

See it if You want to see one of the world's greatest living actors in his prime; you love O'Neill or other American classics

Don't see it if you don't like long plays- it's nearly 4 hours long, with 2 intermissions!

Intelligent, Great writing, Has a message that can still resonate, Delightfully stacked and talented cast

See it if you're looking for some serious old school broadway drama.

Don't see it if you can't face the dark side of human nature and the fact that we all devolve to our lesser humanity and cling to our own 'truths'.

Also In considering the review for this one, I had a somewhat delightful pr... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Epic, Masterful, Riveting, Dizzying

See it if You like to luxuriate in a great piece of literature. The play is a masterwork. The cast is brilliant. The direction is inspired.

Don't see it if You don't have the attention span for a 4 hour play that is slow and stationary.

Also I love the way a good O'Neill production breaks you down with the char... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if denzel washington and great cast acting eugene o'neill words.

Don't see it if if you saw BAM production with Brian Dennehy in Harry role, you'll be disappointed with David Morse. Do not understand Tony nomination.LONG

Great acting, Masterful, Riveting, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if Brilliant performances by terrific ensemble. David Morse was outstanding.

Don't see it if You can't sit through a 3 hour 50 minute dark drama. If you dislike Eugene O'neill.

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

Also In past revivals, I have found Iceman to be interminable and the large... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You like classic theater with large cast. A big aria for everyone - especially for central characters. Denzel’s Hickey is solid and fresh.

Don't see it if Very long at almost 4 hours. Extremely repetitive, with every point hammered home. filled with emotional misery but strangely uplifting.

Absorbing, Great acting, Epic, Intense, Great writing

See it if You want to experience a great classic of American theatre with excellent performances.

Don't see it if You want light entertainment or are uncomfortable watching a stage full of down and out people trying to drown their hopeless lives in drink

Absorbing, Exquisite, Enchanting, Riveting.

See it if Like Denzel Washington , like great ensemble performances. Like real theater

Don't see it if Don’t like long plays-about 4 hours. Don’t like real theater Don’t like shows that take place in a bar

Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant

See it if you love Denzel, fantastic performances from a true ensemble, and want to see an American classic on a Broadway stage

Don't see it if you get impatient or have a short attention's quite long but doesn't feel that way during!

Compelling, Heavy, Great ensemble

See it if you enjoy O'Neill's spiraling, depressive world-view executed with great finesse.

Don't see it if you cannot sit through a heavy, deeply dramatic, four hour non-musical.

Cast & Creatives (30)