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New York | 2h 15m | Already closed

Time and the Conways

From 54 critic and 386 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Slow, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Dated

About the show

Roundabout Theatre Company brings this post WWI-set drama back to Broadway for the first time in a production directed by Tony winner Rebecca Taichman ('Indecent'), and starring Elizabeth McGovern ('Downton Abbey'). More…

In 1919 Britain, Mrs. Conway is full of optimism during her daughter’s lavish twenty-first birthday celebration. The Great War is over, wealth is in the air, and the family’s dreams bubble over like champagne. Jump nineteen years into the future, though, and the Conways’ lives have transformed unimaginably. This time-traveling play by J.B. Priestley ('An Inspector Calls') takes place at the crossroads of today and tomorrow—challenging our notions of choice, chance, and destiny.

2h 15m | Already closed | American Airlines Theatre (Midtown W)


“Thanks to Taichman's overseeing of the production, ‘Time and the Conways’ is most successful as both an old-fashioned play and as a philosophical investigation of life and time, as the title suggests. It's about living in the present, which is where we should all aspire to be but rarely are, thinking of or living in the past and the future instead. Priestley's genius was for putting his story in all time frames simultaneously, as it were.” Full Review

What Should We Do?

"Priestley’s melancholy but hopeful meditation on change glows handsomely in this well-acted and craftily designed revival...The piece may strike some viewers as old-fashioned in its tweedy, melancholy Britishness, but there’s a core of cosmic wonder and plucky humanism to the affair...Taichman doesn’t try to outsmart the material, handling it with the intelligence and clarity it deserves...There must be a special shout special shout-out to Boyer, who nearly steals the show." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“A retelling of the important 1937 play that transforms Priestley’s important discussions…from an intellectual exercise to a deeply spiritual quest that raises several deep, rich, and enduring questions…Neil Patel’s set supports Rebecca Taichman’s inventive staging…This adds a welcomed magical realism to J. B. Priestley’s already metaphysical themes…A sensitive and courageous exploration of how time the possibility of alternate universes.” Full Review


"McGovern finally gets to sink her teeth into someone more shady, and to use that British accent she’s picked up along the way. She hits it out of the park on both counts...This is, first and foremost, a beautifully structured play about a family, their dreams, longings, fears, and devastations. The cast is uniformly excellent...But a special shout out must go to Neil Patel’s marvelous design...And, of course, to recent Tony-winner Taichman who directs the complex action with a sure hand." Full Review

Drama Queen NYC

"'Time and the Conways' is rich with political thoughts that range from the most idealistic socialism to the most mercenary capitalism, which speaks loudly to the anxieties of 2017 America. Taichman is an ideal match for this thoughtful material...She creates several coups de théâtre that express Priestley’s ideas in breathtakingly simple theatrical moments...The outstanding performance is Gabriel Ebert as the quietly thoughtful and stoically content Alan." Full Review

More Than The Play Blog

"Director Rebecca Taichman masterfully creates distinctive atmospheres in the three scenes of the play by varying the tone and pace...In Act I the over-the-top optimism of the first scene is powerfully juxtaposed by the transparent harshness of the second...It is a poignant period piece with a valuable message. The performances are strong. The production is poetic." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"This forgotten gem of a play pushes the boundaries of its well-heeled drawing room setting into a metaphysical dream world...As deftly handled by director Rebecca Taichman, Priestley’s metaphysics are poignant where, in less able hands, they could come off as annoyingly mystical. And while its 'Downton' connection might fill seats, 'The Conways', despite some superficial period similarities, reveals its own complex pleasures — just give it time." Full Review

The Playfixer

“Priestley’s ‘Time and the Conways’, last seen on Broadway in the late 1930s, is being given a splendid revival by Roundabout, directed by Taichman, starring McGovern as the matriarch of a well-to-do British family. Priestley employed what was then a novel structure. The first act takes place in 1919 at a birthday party...The second act takes place 19 years later, and nobody’s life has turned out well...Taichman’s cast is superb. This one is a don’t-miss.” Full Review

Broadway Blog

“Although they can't avoid the taint of staginess…, the actors generally achieve the privileged British air suitable for the drawing room environment…It's wonderful to see the elegantly slim Elizabeth McGovern as the disagreeable Mrs. Conway, a role superficially similar to her Cora Crawley on ‘Downton Abbey,’ but far richer in dramatic colors…’Time and the Conways’ is as beautiful to look at as it's pleasing to hear. Priestley's gem…has its flaws but is still worth the time spent gazing at it.” Full Review

Broadway News

"A stirring, spiffily cast revival...Priestley draws his fracturing family portrait in delicate, compassionate and occasionally funny strokes, and the excellent cast, led by the director, Rebecca Taichman, draws us into their lives with a natural warmth and ease...For the most part 'Time and the Conways,' presented here with impressive polish, has weathered the years with impressive grace. Time can be cruel to people, but on occasion it can at least be kind to works of art." Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

"Many elements of director Rebecca Taichman’s production help to establish the playwright’s reassuring conviction...Most of the cast, especially as Taichman directs them in act one, pushes hard to sound as cheerfully British as possible. Later, they prove their mettle. Parry, Boyer, Bloom, and Baryshnikov are special standouts...Time has had its way with 'Time and the Conways'. Yet if this is what time has wrought, then this much we can confirm: Priestley’s heartfelt play is timeless." Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"It’s an unconventional structure that has an emotional payoff even though it leaves some of our questions unanswered...The cast is uniformly strong, although I do wish Ms. Camp smiled less...Director Taichman negotiates the play’s complexities smoothly. I felt that the production was probably better than the play deserved, that when you strip away the play’s gimmicks, there isn’t enough substance there. Nevertheless, I was grateful for the opportunity to see it in this splendid production." Full Review


"A beautifully realized production...Its bittersweet message bridges 8 decades with a profound and timely resonance...By Act 3, returning to 1919 we see these flawed characters through a magnified lens; effectively creating a mirror for the rest of us to see ourselves...Each of the actors delivers highly nuanced portraits with individual moments to shine...A deeply personal work baring the universal theme that there is no joy without the woe." Full Review

Show Showdown

"Throw in the passage of years, a little jumping around in time, a soupçon of metaphysical philosophy, smart and insightful writing, wonderful design elements, smooth direction (Rebecca Taichman) and a largely first-class ensemble, and you have an excellent and surprisingly contemporary evening in the theater. One thing: Elizabeth McGovern should not have gotten a solo bow. Not only is 'Time and the Conways' an ensemble piece, but McGovern is far from the best thing in it." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"The characters, themes, and subject matter of 'Time and the Conways' are involving enough that the play would no doubt be worthy even without its shifting chronology, but that element makes it an extraordinary work...Any production of this play rises or falls on the ability of the artists involved to make the audience fully believe we are seeing slices of the Conways lives in two different eras 18 years apart. Taichman and her exceptionally talented cast deftly create the illusion." Full Review


"If those late 1930s audiences only knew, as audiences at Taichman's graceful and visually surprising Roundabout production now know, the even greater horrors that would lie ahead. The playwright plays with time in a manner that pulls at emotions...Taichman offers the audience entrancing glimpses of how human existence can transcend time...Plays like 'Time and the Conways' offer warnings from the past about the possibilities for the future." Full Review


"Be patient with 'Time and the Conways,' because it takes a little while to get going. You will be happy you stuck around, though...Priestley’s carefully constructed play muses on the nature of time while painting a subtle, affecting portrait of the crushed aspirations of a certain English upper middle class. And the Roundabout stepped up to the plate with a sterling, subtly acted production...No matter your definition of time, the one spent at this show is well spent indeed." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"Parry is wonderful...I was also impressed by Boyer and Ebert, both playing against type and landing solid and mesmerizing performances. McGovern may be the star of this production, but I felt her performance was the weakest, lacking in demonstrative actions that would make us understand just how manipulative this woman is. I did love Taichman’s direction, which I found layered on so many levels...Simplistically beautiful and I appreciated what it was trying to impart." Full Review


"While 'Time and the Conways' has a lot going for it...Despite a slow to gain altitude first act, the current production is a good fit for the Roundabout and its audiences' love affair with elegantly staged British dramas...Patel's brilliant visual coup literally takes us to two virtually alike yet oh so different scenes...That bit of theatrical magic makes the play shed its dated feeling and come alive. It also brings out the best in most of the actors." Full Review

Theater News Online

"Under recent Tony Award winner Rebecca Taichman’s nuanced yet unfussy direction, the play’s many other themes all come to in sharp focus through the work’s three lengthy scenes...Taichman proves herself to an expert in putting together an ensemble...Indeed, you may feel for some of the first act that you’ve been asked to evaluate a glittering cubic zirconium, but rest assured, this long-neglected play is a multi-faceted diamond." Full Review

The Wrap

"Taichman reshapes the drama enough to give it an emotional resonance that’s not on the page...And that diversion is greatly enhanced by Patel’s set design, which turns time travel into a visually stunning trip...Just as Priestly is unsubtle in establishing each of his characters in act one, he is just as blunt when it comes to dishing up their respective failures. Taichman works magic with Priestley’s white-and-black approach...McGovern leads a marvelous ensemble under her direction." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"The entire cast is exceedingly good...The production indulges in some less effective devices. This cuts uncomfortably into the realism that defines the rest of the play. However, those excursions are not enough to derail the overall effectiveness of the author’s incisive look into the situation in England...It is a welcome example of Priestley’s writing, and director Taichman has done a sharp job of staging that results in an impressive production of a play that merits a revival." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

"Taichman’s direction is tight and measured, though she does allow some of the cast to limn their upper-crust cluelessness a bit too broadly...The bulwark of this production is Charlotte Parry’s conflicted Kay...She intensely charts Kay’s struggle to comprehend the vagaries of life and her final moments of attempting to reconcile youthful optimism with mature reality are heartbreaking...Though the ironic storyline is predictable, this is 'Time' well spent." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"'Time and the Conways' has some flaws, it's being done very well...Equal parts a family drama, a comedy of manners, and a metaphysical meditation...The play's underlying themes of dashed dreams and the compromises that life demands remain relevant...Director Taichman doesn't shy away from the sentimentality of what happens but she and—accents aside—her top-flight cast give each storyline a poignant clarity...The true star of this production is Patel's set.” Full Review

City Cabaret

“Depsite hesitant direction by Rebecca Taichman, the play features a fine ensemble of players...The tedious first act flails about with its highpoint introducing characters who are not fully detailed but defined in perfunctory sketches...This staging is the most evocative display of Priestley’s experimentation with J.W. Dunne’s philosophical theories of time and its non-linear continuum.” Full Review

Clever, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if you enjoy family dynamics

Don't see it if you only believe what you can see

Absorbing, Enchanting, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You love a show that makes you think — and leads you to reminisce about your own life and the paths you chose, right or wrong.

Don't see it if A period piece that requires a good deal of thought is not something you want to do.

Also I rarely see a show twice, but I did with Conways. It helped the secon... Read more Read less

Clever, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Profound, Entertaining

See it if you're like major twists over the course of a play

Don't see it if you need to be engaged right away. It is slow in the first act, but then picks up later in a major way.

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent

See it if You like period pieces and shows about relationships

Don't see it if You do not like period pieces, shows about relationships all conversation, and English accents

Also After giving it some thought I believe that Priestly may have written ... Read more Read less

Great acting, Masterful, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you enjoy a classic British drama by the brilliant Priestley and staged magnificently by Rebecca Taichman. Time waits for no one.

Don't see it if you don't like plays that are set in upper-class British households. The play​ takes a bit to warm up but second act it's terrific.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if you like drama, great acting and thought provoking theater

Don't see it if you prefer fluff

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Slow, Great staging

See it if are willing to slow your 2017 pace to accommodate another world and to really listen to what is being said. Splendid production.

Don't see it if you only like fast-paced plays with a lot of drama and are unable to adjust yourself to a different sensibility.

Also Brilliant set!

Beautiful, Great acting, Resonant, Great staging, Elegiac

See it if you'd like an elevated take on an older play that would seem stuffy under the wrong hands.

Don't see it if too much talking without a lot of action might bother you.

Despite flaws, entertaining, provocative, intelligent, worthwhile,

See it if You are willing to overlook shrill British accents, and spotty acting for an interesting combo of drawing room drama and exploration of Time

Don't see it if Not interested in either family drama, upper-class Brits, dated material, or metaphysics despite some excellent acting particularly Boyers.

Also Wow! The reviews here are all over the map. I was enchanted by the pro... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Great staging

See it if You like time period pieces with a message. You like good acting by a talented cast.

Don't see it if You prefer musicals. Play is somewhat slow to build but is nonetheless gripping.

Enchanting, Refreshing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy a classic, well-structured play that unfolds quite slowly, but it totally worth the wait.

Don't see it if you want action or anything lavish. It’s a very talky piece and the themes are deep and universal.

Also The first scene change and the final stage image were completely worth... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you like period pieces that aren't exactly what they seem. Excellent direction, impressed show that's nearly 100 years old surprised me

Don't see it if you don't like shows about class systems and money.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like British period plays, and you would enjoy watching Elizabeth McGovern in a drama, with an English accent no less.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy British accents, or period pieces.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Dated, Intriguing, Effective use of set to aid storytelling

See it if you are fascinated by the concept of time and its manipulation or want to see solid acting by the ensemble cast.

Don't see it if you are looking for a light show that doesn't require you to think or need a fast-paced story to hold your interest.

Also I was intrigued by the concept of the show when I first read about it ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Masterful, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if Your a fan of discussion puff family, place/time, and even the butterfly effect.

Don't see it if You detest melodrama. The majority of the play utilizes a stereotypical English pastiche (though there's a good reason).

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great staging

See it if You want to see a play that is relevant to today

Don't see it if You need a quick. Happy play

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if like thought-provoking productions, inside look into family politics, excellent acting

Don't see it if don't like time jumps, unanswered questions, Downton Abbey-esque family drama

Enchanting, Great acting, Cliched, Slow, Dated

See it if You haven’t yet seen this rarely-produced period piece by one of the UK’s favorite playwrights

Don't see it if You don’t have patience for old drawing room dramas. This is slow, repetitive, talky, and conservative — at points like a parody of a play

Also Every performance in the show was terrific. The actors did everything ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Resonant, Uneven

See it if You are an Anglophile who likes intelligent old plays.

Don't see it if You didn't like "An Inspector Calls" (Priestley's more famous play) of several years ago.

Also The production is uneven. The cast initially struggles somewhat with t... Read more Read less

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

See it if you want to see a beautifully staged and acted production of a relatively obscure but fascinating play

Don't see it if you have no patience for the old-fashioned three-act structure (one intermission here) or for listening to people discuss ideas

Also The set change literally brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes it's so e... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intense, Slow, Dated

See it if If historic family dramas in a masterpiece Theatre way are of Interest to you. the writing a bit dry and directing pleasent but not riveting

Don't see it if If you hate British dramas like Downton Abbey . It's a bit too long as well. Editing the party scene would have been helpful.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want to see a great play that shows how the lives of the members of a family can be poisoned by the matriarch.

Don't see it if you want to see a light play that doesn't make you think.

Also I thought that the first part of the play went on too long. However, I... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Intelligent, Dated

See it if you want to see Elizabeth McGovern on stage; you like family dramas; you enjoy seeing what happens to characters 17 years in the future

Don't see it if you don't like revivals of dated plays; you are confused by the thought of events that happen years apart also exist at the same time

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you are in the middle of your life and experiencing struggles and unhappiness. The play will echo with your soul.

Don't see it if you are looking for a funny story or a novel theme.

Sad, Exquisite, Intelligent, Resonant, Disturbing

See it if When the future brings decline of a family, is the passage of time just cruel or is there any solace? Intricate character dynamics.

Don't see it if You are not interested in slowly developed characters set in Britain 1919-37. You don’t want to reflect on time, hopes and disappointments.

Also I think Priestly gave the characters the outcomes he did in order to m... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (17)