New York | 2h 40m | Already closed

Torch Song (NYC)

From 34 critic and 405 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Funny, Absorbing, Entertaining, Great writing

About the show

After a hit run Off-Broadway, the revival of Harvey Fierstein's Tony-winning comedy heads to Broadway. Starring Drama Desk Award winner Michael Urie and Oscar and Tony winner Mercedes Ruehl. More…

Equal parts comic and heart-wrenching, 'Torch Song' follows Arnold Beckoff's odyssey to find happiness in New York. All he wants is a husband, a child and a pair of bunny slippers that fit, but a visit from his overbearing mother reminds him that he needs one thing more: respect. Join Arnold on this all too human journey about the families we're born into, the families we choose and the battles to bring them all home. Directed by Tony nominee Moisés Kaufman ("The Laramie Project," "I Am My Own Wife").

2h 40m | Already closed | Helen Hayes Theatre (Midtown W)


"It’s even bigger and better than last year’s off-Broadway production...The entire six member cast has returned and they’ve each deepened their performances...'Torch Song' is guaranteed to touch a nerve and certainly it'll be cathartic for anyone who's ever had to explain their sexual orientation. But for those on the other side who still don't have it in their hearts to find acceptance, 'Torch Song' is essential viewing." Full Review


“This triumphant and beautifully imagined revival proves that ‘Torch Song’ remains both prophetic and timeless...Urie makes the role unmistakably his own...That ‘Torch Song’ takes Arnold’s journey toward love and acceptance with all seriousness is what made it so groundbreaking more than three decades ago. Of course, the play is also funny as all hell. The cast lands punch lines and navigates nuanced emotional turns with equally exquisite rhythm, thanks to Kaufman’s finely calibrated direction.” Full Review

On and Off Broadway

“Urie is lighting up the stage with his virtuoso performance...It’s a towering performance that is so filled with surprises...Beautifully directed...and powerfully acted by a cast that offers the sort of support that supplies theatrical fireworks...Fierstein’s ‘Torch Song’ is an early work that showed great promise and has now become a promise gloriously fulfilled. In this production Urie and Ruehl memorably personify its two central characters.” Full Review

The Stage (UK)

“A stirring revival...The play’s defiant and universal humanity shines through with a burning intensity in Kaufman’s beautifully modulated production. It is galvanised by the fierce combination of unsentimental vulnerability and independent dignity that Urie brings to the character of Arnold, while Ruehl errs just the right side of dramatic cliche in her performance as his overbearing Jewish mum. There’s also sympathetic support from Horton and Hope." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"In the exquisite new Broadway revival, Michael Urie establishes himself as a fearless and compelling leading man — delivering a master-class in physical comedy and dramatic authenticity that, in the play’s most gripping scenes, brings laughter and tears nearly simultaneously...Some of those cuts are missed, though 'Torch Song‘s' flame still burns bright. This fresh production, skillfully directed by Kaufman, shows that Fierstein’s words are as poignant now as they were then." Full Review

Front Row Center

"If you don’t have a strong, charismatic, vulnerable, glorious Arnold, well really, what’s the point? Luckily, Michael Urie is all that and more...Urie makes the role his own from the opening monologue where he lays out Arnold’s wishes, hopes and dreams in a self-deprecating but unapologetically honest but guarded manor, to the last scene where he is a vulnerable wreck. And Urie alone is worth the price of admission." Full Review

The New York Times

"As embodied by Michael Urie in the happy revival of Harvey Fierstein’s 'Torch Song,' Arnold is just the guy and gal to pull you out of your election-season weariness...Mr. Kaufman’s staging now feels smoother and quicker on its feet. It also feels, well, bigger...That’s Ms. Ruehl’s part, which she walks, not runs, with and nearly steals the show in an expertly coiled performance." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"The folks at Second Stage have very successfully moved the 2017 revival from their 43rd Street off-Broadway theater to the Helen Hayes...Fierstein’s 'Torch Song' has its flaws. The four-way, seated-upright-lying-down Fugue in a Nursery operates on a cute conceit, but its cleverness palls after an extended while...At a time when a standing ovation is accorded just about anything in which the cast gets to the end of the play breathing, 'Torch Song' absolutely earns this one." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

"On Broadway, the heart always has sold the most tickets and this show has all the right feels...Under-appreciated for years, Urie is a fantastic physical actor — an atypically precise and detailed master farceur as adept at physical shtick as at making you care about his eminently lovable character...Miscast Jack DiFalco, who does not come off even remotely as a teenager...But even this unfathomably bizarre choice does not change the play’s poignancy." Full Review

Stage Left

“Fierstein’s landmark gay play ‘Torch Song’ is back on Broadway with an abridged text and title, but its heart and humanity intact. On second viewing, this production feels more muted and a bit too comfortable, but the performances are richer and better, and the subject matter as timely as ever. An uproarious comedy with a suite of characters you come to love, ‘Torch Song’ is a must-see of the fall (or any) season.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

"Directed with profound tenderness and rigorous wit by Moisés Kaufman, has as its leading man Michael Urie, one of the most comedically dexterous, effortlessly charming and frankly adorable stage performers to emerge in the past decade. But Kaufman and Urie’s triumph is not simply in making Arnold funny and lovable, foibles and all...Fierstein’s breakthrough work remains an uplifting study of a highly imperfect world, and thus as relevant and timely as ever." Full Review

Broadway News

"Urie triumphs in this play, primarily through the brilliance of his physical comedy, which adds another layer to the play’s fast and funny dialogue...It falls to director Moisés Kaufman to keep the one-liners aloft, and he does so adroitly, at a pace that means neither we nor the actors have time to catch our collective breath between laughs. But under all the verbal jousting is the sense that people, no matter how flawed or extreme, are reaching toward each other and a shared humanity." Full Review


"The show’s themes are as timely now as ever...Throughout all parts, Urie does an exceedingly stellar job at inviting viewers into his thoughts, drawing them in with measured looks and sly glances. It's never over-the-top, merely an ability to keep an audience hooked moment to moment...It transcends merely being a history play and remains instead a lively and funny show that features a new high from the always-likeable Urie." Full Review


“Fierstein has shaved an hour from the play's original running time...but still clocks in at close to 3 hours. You probably won't feel it, as the realistically clever banter seamless blends into moments of passion, disillusion and heartache in...Kaufman's brisk and energetic production. At the center of it all is the engaging Urie...Graceful and perky, he masks the shyness that he reveals to the audience with a fluttery energy that draws you in, mixed with intriguing moments of intense wisdom.” Full Review


"In navigating this monster of a role -- which was originated by Fierstein -- Urie (who is on stage almost every second of the three-hour running time) works harder than you can imagine: cracking jokes with razor-sharp timing, imbuing certain throw-away moments with peerless physical abandon, and, above all, piercing the heart time and again as he limns Arnold's confusion, happiness, and despair." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Perhaps there's something liberating about being back within these historically significant walls that has coaxed Michael Urie out from behind the author's shadow to seize ownership of the heart-on-his-sleeve protagonist in a virtuoso turn... Not only does he now feel more like a flesh-and-blood person, but the staging has acquired greater fluidity and emotional richness...Kaufman and his cast hit every note of humor and heartache in a durable work." Full Review


"Upon second viewing what stands out the most is how pertinent and relevant the subject matter is now, even more so than it was in 1982. Back then, it had a certain voyeurism to gay culture and was titillating to see gay life explored so openly...Michael Urie has made the role of Arnold Beckoff his own. He has placed his own stamp and his own original contemporary take on Arnold...'Torch Song' still holds up more than 36 years later as an epic of LGBTQ life." Full Review


"The piece still works, it feels fresh and revolutionary all over again. It speaks to the gay experience powerfully and emotionally...Although the direction of the piece may at times seem a bit too minimal, the script edits sometimes don’t work, and the supporting cast is imperfect, none of it seems to matter because it is a joy to watch Michael Urie in this role...You will start the night laughing and end the night with some tears, but it is all worth it." Full Review

Philadelphia Inquirer

“A very funny sit-com rather than a daring expose of painful truths...But unlike most sit-coms, ‘Torch Song’ contains genuine drama: characters are fully drawn and solidly portrayed; it has serious and moving moments as well as hilarious bits, and the show refuses to resolve everything too tidily...The excellent and revealing sets...tellingly providing a platform for some terrific acting under the solid direction of Kaufman." Full Review


"A classy and distinctly modern production...The best thing about revisiting the timeless theme of unconditional, committed love that's the underpinning of all three acts is Fierstein's rapid-fire dialogue that mixes the snappy one liners enriched with moving revelations. Fortunately, the ensemble is up to landing the zingers and inhabiting their roles convincingly...Falls short of the socially relevant depth of Kushner's epic 'Angels in America.' But it's smartly staged and trimmed." Full Review

AM New York

"Urie masterfully combines his nimble comic abilities with an exposed vulnerability. His combative scenes with Ruehl make for compelling family drama...While 'Torch Song' lacks the brilliance of 'Angels in America' and the bite of 'The Boys in the Band,' it is well worth a second look. And though at times it can be rather clunky and schmaltzy, Kaufman’s production contains some genuinely beautiful moments and excellent performances all around." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"Urie presents a nearly impossible task in the opening monologue...How can the rest of the play be as brilliantly honest, vulnerable, funny and poignant than those first few moments with Arnold Beckoff? Urie is equal parts flair, flamboyant, and fractured...The characters unleash years of pent-up resentment...The night I was in attendance, gasps and tears reverberated through the audience, such was the impact of this verbal fisticuffs." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"Mr. Fierstein’s play might not have been quite so radical as it once seemed...‘Torch Song’ is looking more like a commercial comedy about a nice Jewish boy and his impossible mother—and a pretty good one, too...The only thing wrong with Second Stage’s off-Broadway revival of ‘Torch Song,’ which has been very effectively directed by Moisés Kaufman, is Mr. Urie, a fine actor who is miscast as Mr. Fierstein." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"What I see is a deft trilogy that humanizes a protagonist some small-minded audience members from the hinterlands might have resented, and offers vivid opportunities to its six actors. But awkward moments remain...We all love Mercedes Ruehl, don't we, but her Mrs. Beckoff has a distracting star-turn quality...Fierstein navigates expertly between comedy and drama here, but his determination to send us out on a hopeful note creates more than one unlikelihood." Full Review


"Director Moisés Kaufman and Fierstein have streamlined things, not ideally but smoothly enough. The play’s connective tissue was always more spirit than plot anyway. And even with the cuts, 'Torch Song' seems like the pal you haven’t seen in ages, forgotten charms resurrecting themselves before your eyes...The creeping feeling that 'Torch Song' is more dated than we’d hoped takes hold...As if to confront and wrestle down any datedness head-on, Kaufman and his cast go broad." Full Review

Relevant, Profound, Hilarious, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You’re interested in LGBT history or love michael Urie

Don't see it if you don’t like stories that are funny and also make you cry

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Riveting, Must see, Hilarious

See it if You love drag queens or anything about being gay. If you’re ready to laugh and cry and everything in between. Must-see!!!!

Don't see it if You are easily triggered by talking about violence or the struggles of being gay or If you can’t sit through plays.

Gorgeous story-telling you won’t soon forget, Intelligent and sharply-funny, Well-acted by the entire cast, The show everyone should see more than once, Meaningful to anyone with a pulse

See it if a profoundly-sensitive, intelligent, humorous, sometimes-bawdy show by Harvey Fierstein, brought to life by a perfect ensemble, excites you.

Don't see it if you dislike stories about homosexuality or that have moments of quite frank talk; need a neat-and-tidy resolution; can’t commit to 3 hours.

Also If you can’t find a piece of yourself somewhere in this play, you’re n... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Must see, Clever

See it if MIchael Urie's performance is superbly funny and gut wrenchingly moving. A must see before it closes.

Don't see it if You don't like plays about gay men and their relationships.

Exquisite, Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful

See it if you love great writing and performances!

Don't see it if dont like good writing and good performances

Absorbing, Masterful, Relevant, Must see, Amazing acting

See it if you want to see a wonderfully moving play about love and family, and what it means to gain/lose a loved one. All actors are sensational!!

Don't see it if you don't care for LGBTQ or family. You might care after all, though, after somebody brings you to this play and you realize you love it.

Also Simply one of the best Broadway shows I have ever seen!! I wish it wou... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant

See it if This is one of the best shows I have seen in a while. Michael Urie and the rest of the cast are amazing. This show is just so so good.

Don't see it if Just see it. With a friend. With your significant other. With your mom. Anyone can relate to this show.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Funny, Great writing, Must see

See it if Harvey Fierstein remakes his trilogy into a beautiful cohesive show that is just as resonant today as when he first wrote it

Don't see it if If you don't like revivals or alternative life styles

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if You love Michael Urie and the great ensemble surrounding him; Uries portrays a drag queen’s various facades, all deeply moving.

Don't see it if You’ll be offended by LGBTQ elements

Delightful, Great acting, Funny, Relevant

See it if you love great theater, great writing and acting.

Don't see it if you don't like gay themes.

Also a very entertaining, relevant show with fine acting from all. Michael ... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Exquisite, Great acting, Relevant

See it if A brilliant revival. Michael Urie is amazing as is Mercedes and the ensemble.

Don't see it if Don't see this if you don't like good theater!

Funny, Great acting, Edgy, Resonant

See it if You want to see a play that is going to tug at the heartstrings while still entertaining you.

Don't see it if You aren't a fan of long plays (even though it didn't feel very long) or profanity. Another issue could be the breaking of the fourth wall.

Relevant, Resonant, Hilarious, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you love a great well written truthful play about love, family, loss, loneliness, identity and valuing one’s self.

Don't see it if you do not like very frank and honest portrayals of LGBTQ. your loss though.

Also An absolutely magnificent play. Please do yourself a favor and go see ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Profound

See it if I can not stress enough how close to perfection this piece of theater is. Every moment of this show is though provoking and beautiful.

Don't see it if You don't like the breaking of the fourth wall, are not a fan of farces and don't allow yourself to be lost in a piece of work.

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting

See it if You want to see a play that is going to touch your heart and make you think about your own family relationships

Don't see it if You aren’t a fan of swearing or “long” plays - even though it did not feel long at all.

Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Resonant, Masterful

See it if Anyone who’s ever had to come out to a parent should see this show. It’s a fun exploration of identity and love.

Don't see it if Don’t see it if you don’t have a heart.

Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Must see, Profound

See it if You want to see an incredible production. Michael Urie is AMAZING in this! You will laugh, you will cry and you will love it.

Don't see it if You are homophobic or dont want to sit through a nearly 3 hour play (you don't feel it though! it's worth it!)

Funny, Great singing, Great writing, Must see, Relevant

See it if You want to see a show with great acting and writing. Michael Urie is a miracle in the role of Arnold. Mercedes Ruhle wonderful as well.

Don't see it if You don’t want to see a show with a gay theme. Otherwise go! It’s NOT dated. I saw it in 1981 and loved it as much now.

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Riveting

See it if You want a funny story with an amazing Michael Urie. His physical humor alone is worth the ticket. Mercedes is the consummate Jewish mom!

Don't see it if You do not like LGBT stories -but you’d be missing out on a great time and an amazing cast.

Also I saw this last season off-Bway during its Kiser run. I loved it then ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great writing, Masterful, Must see, Relevant

See it if You want to see a timeless play, amazing acting,brillant lines that makes you question so many things;family, values, fatherhood, gay issues

Don't see it if If you are homophobic, have no respect to lgbt community, bothered with family drama

Also Not only the lead actor but the entire cast was phonomenal. They bring... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Clever

See it if Great play with characters that all blend together. Strong performances by everyone.

Don't see it if If you are below the age of 16. Adult situations.

Also If Michael Urie is not nominated for a best actor in a play something ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Hilarious, Great acting, Masterful, Must see

See it if you want to be thoroughly entertained. The entire cast is superb with a special shout out to Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl

Don't see it if I can't think of any reason not to see it. I hope to see it again.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Riveting, Profound

See it if You enjoy wonderfully written and staged plays that tell a serious story in a witty way with wonderful actors.

Don't see it if You aren't sensitive to LBGTQ issues or have already seen the movie and didn't like it.

Great acting, Relevant, Masterful, Poignant, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see brilliant performances by the entire cast, led by Urie and Ruehl. Though dated in time, the story remains relevant.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in LGBTQ issues or history

Also Saw the off-Broadway production and loved it, but the Broadway product... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Profound, Must see

See it if you want to be entertained. I loved it. It was funny, sad & so much more.

Don't see it if you do not like gay theme stories.

Also -Seating at the Hayes Theater was tight. We have normal length limbs, ... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (13)