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Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Masterful, Intelligent, Great writing
88
Critics
85
59 reviews
Members
88
570 reviews
 

Manhattan Theatre Club revives Lillian Hellman’s classic drama about greed and ambition, starring three-time Tony Award nominee Laura Linney and Tony winner Cynthia Nixon alternating in the roles of Regina and Birdie.

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Set in Alabama in 1900, 'The Little Foxes' follows Regina Giddens and her ruthless clan, including her sister-in-law Birdie, as they clash in often brutal ways in an effort to strike the deal of their lives. Far from a sentimental look at a bygone era, the play has a surprisingly timely resonance with important issues facing our country today. Tony winner Daniel Sullivan ('Proof,' 'Rabbit Hole') directs.

 



Reviews (629)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
85
Avg Score

85
Broadway News

"Sullivan’s succulent new Broadway revival of the play cannot erase its tints of both moralizing and melodrama. But it proves once again that Hellman’s drama is also enduring entertainment...Both actors give rewarding performances in both roles. What’s more: Sullivan’s production has been cast in such depth that even the formidable leading ladies are by no means the whole show...Sullivan’s crackerjack production shines with polish and acting of sharp intelligence and theatrical acuity." Full Review

85
Theatermania

"Under the scrupulous direction of Daniel Sullivan, Linney and Nixon prove that there is more than one way to skin a fox, with two highly contrasting interpretations that change the way we look at the play...Several of the supporting players also make big impressions...McKean brings a comic sensibility to the role of mean older brother Ben. His electric encounters with both Reginas are worth the price of admission alone...A must-see revival." Full Review

85
BroadwayWorld

“As Birdie, Linney makes a showstopper out of her third-act monologue, but Nixon's presence in the role is more tragic, as her character forces smiles and charm while being abused. It's not a competition, of course, and personal taste will come into play as to which combination audience members will prefer. Fortunately, ‘The Little Foxes’ is a fascinating play and Sullivan's superb production is easily worth a second visit.” Full Review

95
Variety

"Director Sullivan has done brilliant work with this revival. His casting is flawless, his team of designers couldn’t be better chosen, and the technical detail that has gone into the production is amazing. But he took a chance in letting two A-list stage actors alternate in the roles of Regina and Birdie—and the coup pays off because it encourages us to look deeper into both characters." Full Review

85
Time Out New York

"Daniel Sullivan directs Hellman’s Alabama tale with a crisp vigor that smooths over its melodramatic bumps...The cast is uniformly strong, and outstanding work comes from the leading ladies…'The Little Foxes' may not command as high a prospect in the pantheon of American drama as more poetic work by Tennessee Williams or Eugene O’Neill, but it’s cunningly built and packs a punch...This is such a richly satisfying revival, I’m going back for seconds." Full Review

70
New York Magazine / Vulture

“The play isn’t subtle; it’s just delicious…My cast suggested that the switch would not materially alter the effect of the production, which is solid but not transcendent...It’s largely in the calibration of the men’s roles that the production falters…Under Sullivan’s somewhat grandstanding direction their pacing and affect suggest something too close to comedy…What remains powerfully effective is Hellman’s dissection of the way a systemic lack of power can turn into manipulative fury." Full Review

90
The New York Times

"A nimble, exhilarating revival...In Regina, Hellman created one of the stage’s great antiheroines and a glide bomb of a role. Now, in Daniel Sullivan’s production, two actresses get to detonate it...You should see it twice. When top-drawer actors bestride the stage in a tremendous role and some truly killer gowns, it’s time to clear the calendar...Mr. Sullivan’s confident production doesn’t deny melodrama, but it prefers psychological and social detail over Southern gothic fripperies." Full Review

85
Cultural Weekly

“Tremendously satisfying…Director Daniel Sullivan provides a rip-roaring production dripping with melodrama and histrionics, but never going over the top into camp territory. Linney’s Regina is a monster of deceit and narcissism…Richard Thomas as Horace, Regina’s ailing, conscience-stricken spouse, provides a fiery curtain speech as he denounces his wife while Michael McKean and Darren Goldstein are suitably wily as the grasping Hubbard brothers.” Full Review

90
New York Theater

“An engrossing revival with a superb cast…Finely directed by Daniel Sullivan…Linney and Nixon wouldn’t shine so brightly without a supporting cast full of stand-out performances. Richard Thomas is exactly right as the goodly, dying Horace Giddens…The play’s craftsmanship and its intensity have not diminished in this fifth, fierce, Broadway production…And I believe the changing times—and these particular times—have invested ‘The Little Foxes’ with greater significance.” Full Review

90
Lighting & Sound America

“Whichever version of ‘Little Foxes’ you attend, you are in for a memorable time…As Regina, Linney brings the fire and Nixon, the ice…The actresses' interpretations of Birdie are also strikingly different…I don't want to suggest that Linney and Nixon, as good as they are, are the only attractions in this superlative revival. Thomas is a sterling Horace…McKean is a study in suave villainy as Ben…Goldstein simmers effectively as Oscar…Everything else about Sullivan's production is first-class.” Full Review

85
Front Row Center

“A delicious production…The intrigue is presented like so many layers of a French pastry. Directed with style and precision by Daniel Sullivan this is a crisp evening of deceit and calculation. Everyone is up to something, and you don’t want to take your eyes off any of them for a second. Each character – and each very fine actor – is on a trajectory of their own making. The result is an ensemble that is having a devilishly good time.” Full Review

90
Theatre's Leiter Side

“'The Little Foxes' is an example of old-fashioned but still magnetic playwriting: a tightly constructed play with crystal-clear exposition, sharply defined characters, a theatrically colorful time and place, and a powerful, anticapitalistic theme, as resonant today as during the Depression. Linney's Regina, as good as it gets, captures all this vixen's charm, craftiness, daring, viciousness, unscrupulousness, and ambition. Nixon makes Birdie a completely convincing counterpoint character.” Full Review

90
The Hollywood Reporter

"Daniel Sullivan's impeccable production for Manhattan Theatre Club never overstates that modern-day relevance; he simply lets the play's rock-solid construction and lucid themes speak for themselves via a first-rate cast and exemplary design team...This is a superbly cast production with incisive character work from McKean, Goldstein and Benz...This is a production as classy as it is smart, shining a spotlight on a playwright who is too seldom revived on Broadway." Full Review

75
AM New York

"An unapologetic soap opera with over-the-top characters and unbelievable machinations...Director Daniel Sullivan approaches the play with a 'let’s just roll with it and have a good time' attitude, leading to a simple but effective production full of old-fashioned theatricality...Linney and Nixon are better suited to playing Regina and Birdie, respectively, but the show is fine either way, and checking out both casting arrangements makes you appreciate their versatility." Full Review

80
The Clyde Fitch Report

"This blissfully cynical work is as juicy a three-act play as anyone would hope to find in American theater annals...The ensemble supporting Linney and Nixon are first-rate and go an impressive distance to underline the incipient evil rotting these Southern vines...Linney and Nixon are surely enjoying the challenge they’ve given themselves and each other, but, were push to become shove, they might see that the former is a more appropriate Regina and the latter a more appropriate Birdie." Full Review

70
Talkin' Broadway

"If the physical production lacks that dedication to detail it's acceptable. What's not is that Nixon and Linney do not equivalently fill out their parts...When Linney is Regina and Nixon is Birdie...that's the only combination I'd suggest you go out of your way to see...As it is, Sullivan's spin might be on the weighty side. Either way, this is a fiery play that's a definite hot spot for the season when Linney is working her blazing magic on a Regina you won't forget anytime soon." Full Review

90
Times Square Chronicles

"Lillian Hellman’s 1939 play 'The Little Foxes' is a considered a classic of 20th-century drama and after seeing Manhattan Theatre Club’s version, I understand why...A master class in acting...Expertly directed by Daniel Sullivan, this production is strong in every aspect. 'The Little Foxes' seems to predict a future that is here...The cast is all at the top of their game and this is a splendid production." Full Review

80
New York Daily News

"A crisp and taut revival...Under Daniel Sullivan’s sure-handed direction, the show satisfies no matter who’s playing Regina—more or less...Supporting actors more than ably step up...But in the end it's about Nixon and Linney. Each stands tall and shrinks as the characters obviously require, but I preferred Linney as Regina and Nixon as Birdie...When an actress plays the meek in-law as superbly as Nixon does, Birdie really takes flight and looms large." Full Review

90
Deadline

"The Manhattan Theatre Club production, staged with a rock solid hand by Daniel Sullivan at the Friedman Theatre, is flawless. Which is to say tastefully mean-spirited without any need to overemphasize what is eminently self-evident. Visually, it’s sumptuous...The casting couldn’t be better...The revelation of the production, however, is Thomas...In all, a rich, satisfying deep-dive into miserableness and ill-will. Couldn’t be more fun." Full Review

75
CurtainUp

"Kudos to both actresses for memorizing and interpreting two roles. And while neither is going to eclipse Bette Davis' Regina or Maureen Stapleton's Birdie, both gave solid performances...Linney takes some getting used to as Birdie but she does manage to look Birdie-ish rather than her usual poised and attractive self. I found her performance to be at its heart-tugging height during the second act...I don't think you'll be disappointed if you choose to see Nixon as Regina." Full Review

89
Front Mezz Junkies

"What fun this play is. The 2 1/2 hours flies by without a thought to the time. Regardless of who is playing the fox, and who is the bird...Linney’s Regina is a formidable force to be reckoned with and, as expertly directed by David Sullivan, Birdie is no match, nor does she even try. Nixon embodies her to perfection...Do yourself a favor, and try both on for size...That black gown seems to fit these two women equally well." Full Review

85
Newsday

"More interesting than a competition, however, is the crackling seriousness with which director Daniel Sullivan approaches this strongly cast revival...I was struck by the snappy, tight writing and the psychological truth in the people...As Regina...Linney has the gutsy, snazzy elegance...And Nixon makes a sublime Birdie...The reverse casting is enlightening, but, in comparison, feels a bit more stagy...The rest of the cast is far more than background." Full Review

85
Bob's Theater Blog

"A first-rate cast...The role of Regina suits Linney well; she captures both the steeliness and the traces of charm. However, she is almost overshadowed by Cynthia Nixon’s superb performance as her sister-in-law Birdie...Linney and Nixon are so persuasive in these roles that is hard to imagine them in reverse...Daniel Sullivan directs with a sure hand. The play is far from subtle, but, with such a fine production, it is very entertaining." Full Review

75
The Wrap

"On opening night, Linney played Regina and Nixon played Birdie, and they are excellent in those respective roles. Less wonderful is Nixon’s Regina and Linney’s Birdie...The rest of the cast alters their respective performances not one iota in responding to these very different interpretations from the two female leads...That minor objection aside, Sullivan delivers a triumvirate of consummate mendacity in the perfectly wedded performances of Goldstein and McKean." Full Review

85
CitiTour

"A remarkably well-structured work, full of complex characters, and fully stocked with a variety of themes that resonate today...Luckily, Sullivan’s exceedingly handsome and solid production captures this landmark work in most of its glory...Where the actresses differ most is in their portrayal of Birdie – Nixon wins hands-down in a performance that could earn her a Tony...Sullivan, long considered Broadway’s finest 'actor’s director,' mostly lives up to his reputation here." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
88
Avg Score

95
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if you want to see a brilliant and faithful production of this classic play. Linney (Regina) and Nixon (Birdie) are absolutely astonishing!

Don't see it if classic/southern plays don't appeal to you. This is a straightforward period piece that never feels dusty, or irrelevant.

90
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Exquisite, Great acting

See it if an amazing revival; brilliant acting; timeless classic; worth seeing the leading ladies swap roles!

Don't see it if Dense dialogue that requires you to pay close attention is too difficult for you to sit though

30
Confusing, Dated, Dull

See it if You enjoy watching talented actors handle one of the dullest scripts ever and try as they might it still feels three acts too long.

Don't see it if You like an engaging story that doesn't drag out forever.

90
Great acting, Intense, Must see

See it if you are a fan of this classic piece. This is a phenomenal family drama played by two extraordinary actors who give different takes on it.

Don't see it if family dramas are not for you. The show is very sad and intense.

90
Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you want to see an exceptionally well-acted, thought-provoking tale of greed that stays with you long after you leave the theater.

Don't see it if you want a story with likable characters and a happy ending.

87
Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Masterful, Riveting

See it if you want to see two stellar actresses take on incredibly difficult roles almost flawlessly

Don't see it if you are only interested in contemporary language; you care more about action than dialogue

83
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Dated

See it if you like good drama, it's a classic. Great to see CN and LL whichever role they play that night

Don't see it if you don't like the classical dramas, esp as it's a bit dated.

83
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you love classic theatre and our great actors

Don't see it if you're not interested in a different take on Regina; both actresses play it in new ways

Also I saw it both ways and think Nixon takes it in both roles, especially ... Read more Read less

81
Delightful, Great acting, Relevant

See it if Riveting performances by the entire cast. Top-notched costume, set, and stage directions. Strangely relevant subject matter.

Don't see it if Could be hard to hear at times from the mezzanine. Beautiful revival overall.

74
Funny, Great acting, Indulgent, Dated, Great staging

See it if You appreciate EXQUISITE acting by female leads. You enjoy early 1900's tales of family strife and intense relationships.

Don't see it if You are bored by plantation settings + their money-related problems. You prefer stories more relevant and resonant to contemporary concerns.

76
Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Slow, Pogniant

See it if you want to see masterful performances of female roles that demonstrate the complexities strength and frailty.

Don't see it if you don't like period pieces

Also Definitely one you may want to see twice to see Laura Linney and Cynth... Read more Read less

77
Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Masterful, Dated

See it if you love the actors involved, who are exceptional across the board. You like a stylish period piece.

Don't see it if you'll be bothered by the very dated play with its racism, misogyny and abuse.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Profound

See it if you want to see a truly refined piece of theatre with "A List" acting. Definitely one of the best revivals to date. Bravo to both headliners

Don't see it if you don't like to see dysfunctional family drama and people do evil deeds.

100
Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Must see, Great writing

See it if Just what the Broadway theatre is meant to be. Perfect. Of course, well written in the late 1930s and still relevant. Acting is outstanding

Don't see it if Today is the last day. Too bad you missed this one

92
Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Great writing, Great directing

See it if you buy the ticket for the stars but are treated to nuanced, masterful performances by all, you enjoy witty but dark family dynamics.

Don't see it if you are not engaged by Southern entitled rich folk behaving badly, you do not like period pieces or dark humor.

92
Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You want top-notch acting in a classic play that still holds up. You enjoy family dramas. You want beautiful costumes & sets.

Don't see it if You want a contemporary play. You dislike family dramas.

Also Don't fret over which cast to see. Laura Kinney & Cynthia Nixon shine ... Read more Read less

80
Funny, Exquisite, Great acting, Dated

See it if you want to see masterful performances from Laura Linney, Cynthia Nixon, and the rest of the terrific company, in a classic.

Don't see it if a story about rich white people behaving badly to each other doesn't interest you.

Also A terrific production of a "classic" that took me a while to get into,... Read more Read less

88
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Great writing

See it if you want to see masterful storytelling (by Hellman) in a worthy revival starring an all-star cast, all at their absolute best.

Don't see it if you can't abide a faithful revival of a "period piece". [Perhaps this type of theatre isn't for all, but I can't imagine not being rapt.]

Also BLUE Performance: I saw what I consider to be the "definitive" casting... Read more Read less

85
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if You enjoy a well acted drama.

Don't see it if You want something fluffy or light.

90
Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant, Riveting, Great writing

See it if you like bravura perfs by top actors (Laura Linney), classic plays that still speak to timely women's issues, plays set in the old South.

Don't see it if you don't like period pieces, Southern accents, strong female characters bucking societal trends of the day, Laura Linney or Cynthia Nixon.

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if Watching the foxes spoil the vines is why you attend the theater. Salve, the Reginas, who know how the earth must be eaten so you'll watch.

Don't see it if A well-written melodrama is two intermissions too many. It's a full night of good vs evil with memorable scenes and a set that gets applause

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Great staging, See it twice if you can

See it if you like classic dramas done exquisitely, and you'd enjoy the fascinating acting exercise of seeing Linney and Nixon alternate roles.

Don't see it if you dislike long dialogue driven plays set in 1900. I myself cannot wait to see it a second time with the alternate casting.

91
Great acting, Masterful, Relevant, Fast-paced

See it if you're looking for an entertaining play with great acting and a message that is still relevant in today's world.

Don't see it if you don't like period pieces. But keep in mind even though it's an older play set at the turn of the 20th century, it's still relevant today

Also Another notable thing this production is that Laura Linney and Cynthia... Read more Read less

87
Exquisite, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you want to see a brilliant cast take on a surprisingly relevant classic

Don't see it if you are not into period pieces

70
Relevant, Disappointing, Slow, Great staging

See it if you're interested in seeing a classic production of a classic play sans of any modern directorial choices.

Don't see it if a play about rich people arguing about their money bores you