Torch Song (NYC)
Closed 2h 40m
Torch Song (NYC)
88

Torch Song (NYC) NYC Reviews and Tickets

88%
(413 Reviews)
Positive
98%
Mixed
2%
Negative
0%
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.

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Member Reviews (413)

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94
Must see, Profound, Resonant, Great acting, Touched my heart

See it if You saw the off Broadway show it’s actually gotten better! If you missed it DO NOT MISS THIS! Heart achingly real and super funny-like life.

Don't see it if You’re homophobic.

86
Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if living life and looking for love. Its funny and sad.

Don't see it if if gay theme bother you. No open mind. Read more

Critic Reviews (34)

The New York Times
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
November 2nd, 2018

“’There’s something mechanical about the production’s particular brand of glossy camp...I kept wanting ‘Torch Song’s’ flow of winks and witticisms to feel a little less automated, a little more undergirded with real stakes, anguish, and risk...Without more ferocity and friction under the facade, the play’s hijinks start to feel less like a statement about how gay men find and protect their power and more like a series of hat tips to an audience who’s come looking for a laugh.”
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The Hollywood Reporter
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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Entertainment Weekly
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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Variety
November 1st, 2018

“An affectionate if ill-considered revival…As imperfectly directed here by Moises Kaufman, Urie has made little attempt to make the role of Arnold his own…The trimmed-down show has kept its basic storyline but lost some of its grace notes…Arnold’s story is as sweet as ever…Does this history piece hold up? Yes, in the sense that the show is kind to its characters and true to its dated sensibilities. No, in the sense that the characters are unbelievably sweet and its sensibilities are dated.”
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The Wall Street Journal
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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Deadline
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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Chicago Tribune
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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AM New York
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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NY1
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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Theatermania
November 1st, 2018

"Directed with minimal flair by Moisés Kaufman, it will likely interest the nostalgic and few others. This is unfortunate because Fierstein has written a piece that peers deep into the gay soul...A director can tie these clashing pieces together with a bold vision, but that is exactly what is missing from Kaufman's good-enough staging...If those well-crafted performances were in a riskier production, this revival of 'Torch Song' might really grab hold of our collars."
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BroadwayWorld
November 1st, 2018

“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.”
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Talkin' Broadway
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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New York Stage Review
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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New York Stage Review
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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Theater News Online
November 2nd, 2018

“Uneven but ultimately moving...A visit from Arnold’s widowed mother leads to the confrontation that is the heart of the play...Until that showdown, 'Torch Song' is a good-hearted misfire...Urie is way more over-the-top in the flamboyance game than Fierstein was. More problematic, Fierstein wrote the role with his voice as natural punctuation; Urie’s seems like imitation goods...And yet both Urie and Ruehl deliver the goods in their big my-grief-is-better-than-your-grief confrontation.”
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Broadway News
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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CurtainUp
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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Front Row Center
November 5th, 2018

"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."
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T
November 1st, 2018

"Michael Urie tenderly and authentically portrays these stages in Arnold’s quest for acceptance and meaningful relationships...The ending of the play, despite Arnold’s pressing all that sustains (and challenges) him against his chest, provides less than a satisfying catharsis. Under Kaufman’s careful direction, the members of cast deliver believable performances despite the stereotypical traits of each character."
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Broadway Blog
November 4th, 2018

"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."
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C
November 2nd, 2018

"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."
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DC Theatre Scene
November 5th, 2018

"It’s just an entertainment now, unthreatening and largely unchallenging, directed competently but with no stunning vision by Moises Kaufman. But if 'Torch Song' suffers in comparison to the spate of first-rate gay plays over the last few decades, there’s no denying how witty and well-meaning it is. Many in the barrage of one-liners are still quite funny, and the strong performances of Urie and Ruehl in particular help make more palatable the artificial feel to many of the scenes."
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Newsday
November 1st, 2018

"The two actors make for a terrific combination in the show’s second half. Unfortunately, Urie and Ruehl’s face-off does not take up all that much of the evening...This safe production suggests but never fully summons the ache behind the wisecracks, or the dangers and the loneliness gay people had to endure in the 1970s...The likable Urie is a gifted physical comedian...As for Ruehl, she lets us see the cracks under Beckoff’s Florida matron mask. It’s a long haul until this payoff, though."
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The Wrap
November 1st, 2018

“It’s 45 minutes shorter than the original…That’s the good news. Late in this comedy, the lead character references those soapy Susan Hayward movies of the late 1940s and ’50s, and it must have been the thought of all those black-and-white glam tears that inspired director Moises Kaufman’s weepy staging...Making Arnold a first-class sufferer doesn’t ennoble him; it merely makes him pathetic…Ruehl’s delivery is marvelous...Urie knows how to land a line, but often prefers to detonate it.”
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The Stage (UK)
November 2nd, 2018

“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."
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Stage Left
November 26th, 2018

“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.”
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Towleroad
November 2nd, 2018

“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.”
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O
November 5th, 2018

“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.”
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StageZine
November 5th, 2018

"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."
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Off Script with Dan Dwyer
November 2nd, 2018

“From a cultural and political POV, the revival of Fierstein’s ‘Torch Song’ is, as the French say, ‘plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose’...From a dramatic POV, this ‘Torch Song’ disappoints...Fierstein has shrewdly adapted the play and reduced it...but its narrative weaknesses get exposed and its shortened length seems endless...Kaufman’s casting complicates matters...Urie carries ‘Torch Song’ beginning to end...The first act...is his finest.”
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Medium
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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Philadelphia Inquirer
November 2nd, 2018

“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."
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M
November 1st, 2018

"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."
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