Ends Jul 02

Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Masterful, Intelligent, Great writing
59 reviews
498 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.

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Reviews (557)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

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


"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


“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

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


"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


"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


"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


"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

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

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

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


"Powerful and chilling...The story is filled with delicious twists and turns up until the end. But the fun in this production is watching these two extraordinary and captivating actresses at play, no matter which role she's tackling. Each at the height of her game, the veteran performers were clearly given latitude to interpret their characters as they will...Both prove to be equally effective in either role — a sign of each actress' talent and the production's overall perfection." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

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

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

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

Thought-provoking, Riveting, Entertaining

See it if You like period pieces that still hold true - great sets, costumes and acting - of course seeing a Tony winner adds a lil sweetness

Don't see it if Women dominated plays - deep southern values - yes they say "niggra"

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if Brilliant revival of classic Hellmann play. Extraordinary performances by Laura , Cynthia and cast. A definite must see for theater lovers!

Don't see it if You don't like classic drams

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great staging

See it if you like a beautifully acted period piece relating dysfunctional family exploits in the deep south of 1940-ish. A great cast!!!

Don't see it if you don't like a dialogue-heavy, emotional piece. While sprinkled with humor, the majority of the piece is dramatic and dour

Also A wonderful ensemble cast brings The Little Foxes to life.... Read more Read less

Great acting, Masterful, Great writing

See it if You want to see one of Lillian Hellman's more important works brought to shining life by a superb cast of actors.

Don't see it if Intense family drama is not your thing.

Great acting, Dated

See it if For the acting. Really only for the acting. In addition to Linney and Nixon, Richard Thomas was superb.

Don't see it if You're turned off by over the top characters.

Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You appreciate a well-crafted period drama

Don't see it if You want a modern play

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Must see, Riveting

See it if You want a master class in acting. Linney & Nixon are extraordinary in both roles. Southern drama of how far a family will go for money.

Don't see it if Period pieces, Southern greed, and watching a family turn on themselves doesn't interest you. You prefer a lighter plot.

Also Having seen both casts, my preferred combo is Laura Linney as Regina a... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Must see

See it if you want a stellar cast and fast moving play. It kept me on the edge of my seat. Saw Laura as Regina - was blown away by both her & Cynthia.

Don't see it if you want a modern piece; it takes place in AL post Civil War. It also deals with the political issues of the time.

Also I would love to go back again and see Cynthia as Regina but I see how ... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Dated

See it if you want a masterclass in acting from the fabulous cast led by Laura Linney & Cynthia Nixon!

Don't see it if you are looking for anything "new". The classical approach to this production offers nothing we haven't seen before. Great acting, though.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Epic, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You would enjoy a good piece of theater with 100% outstanding acting; you enjoy plays with complications and an unpredictable ending

Don't see it if You have no tolerance for despicable characters who don't get their comeuppance

Disappointing, Insipid, Overrated, Slow, Dated

See it if You like dry, old plays about southern rich white people who are trying to get richer

Don't see it if you value depth or a thought provoking piece with twists and turns

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you want to see extraordinary performances by all cast members, but especially Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon. Intense, emotional, & great.

Don't see it if you do not enjoy thought-provoking drama and need a more fast-paced activity.

Clever, Great acting, Intense, Relevant, Great staging

See it if a domestic Chekhovian drama sets in America attracts you. Also, both Linney and Nixon are a good enough reason to see this play.

Don't see it if you're on an anti period drama phase

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Great staging

See it if you like great acting in a wonderful revival of a wonderful play. Great set and costumes, too.

Don't see it if you are in the mood for a brassy musical.

Powerful, Revelatory, Wonderful acting, Insidious

See it if The venality, selfishness & neediness of the characters are breathtaking, but the uncanny ability of the actors to bring to life the indi...

Don't see it if ...vidual depths to which each is willing to go is astonishing. Cynthia Nixon as Regina is chilling. Goodness is not always its own reward.

Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You want to enjoy a classic play performed by a terrific cast. Everyone gets an opportunity to shine and each actor succeeds beautifully

Don't see it if Classic play revivals are not of interest to you, or you prefer light,comedic plays.

Masterful, Entertaining

See it if you want to see great performances (Linney and Nixon switch parts on various nights) in an old but newly refreshed, interesting play.

Don't see it if you dislike 'period' Southern mannered plays.

Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Beautiful staging, Totally mesmerizing

See it if You can appreciate legendary theatre. A must see for theatre lovers!

Don't see it if You just like fluff.

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you want a great evening in the theater. You deserve the experience of seeing this classic of character driven passions and shifting power!

Don't see it if you are not interested in great theater. Perhaps you might want to avoid it if you are emotionally fragile. The climax is hard to watch

Absorbing, Great acting, Must see, Riveting, Great writing

See it if I just did a B'Way marathon of 16 plays..this was my fav! The acting was beyond masterful. Costuming superb.

Don't see it if You prefer fluff

Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if you enjoy dramas that address family relationships; if you like plots set in the past; if you enjoy strong character portrayals.

Don't see it if you want to see a modern play; if you prefer lots of humor in your plays.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Great staging

See it if you want to see a pitch-perfect version of this play

Don't see it if the subject matter, three-act structure, or slower nature of older plays are big turnoffs