Jesse Green

About:  Jesse Green is the co-chief theater critic for The New York Times, and the former theater critic for New York Magazine and its culture website, Vulture. You can follow him on Facebook (jesse.green.critic) or on Twitter (@jessekgreen).
Reviews (482)
The New York Times

"That was never the problem with Jane Wagner’s play; it bristles with barbed insights that have kept me nursing the beautiful bruises for 35 years. And the good news is that in the revival that opened at the Shed on Tuesday night, starring Cecily Strong and directed by Leigh Silverman, many of those barbs are as piercing as ever, breaking the skin of American optimism. Wagner’s existential one-liners amount to a Rosetta Stone of sardonic comedy, an overlooked source of stylings typically attr... Full Review

Company (Broadway)
Midtown W
The New York Times

"In that sense, this “Company” is perfectly in line with his intentions: It’s new. And truth be told, I was never less than riveted — if usually in the way Bobby is, eyeballing messy marriages. Nor is the chance to hear the great score live with a 14-piece orchestra to be taken lightly; is there a more exciting opening number than the title song? So I guess I’m sorry-grateful. Sorry for not liking this version of “Company” better — and grateful to Sondheim for providing the chance to find ... Full Review

Clyde's (Broadway)
Midtown W
The New York Times

"Critic's Pick!...Nottage’s delightful new play, “Clyde’s,” which opened at the Helen Hayes Theater on Tuesday, dares to flip the paradigm. Though it’s still about dark things, including prison, drugs, homelessness and poverty, it somehow turns them into bright comedy." Full Review

The New York Times

"But if you decide to write a musical about a real woman, known worldwide, who died tragically while still a young mother, something more rigorous is demanded. “Diana,” though, is lazy and thus neither entertaining nor insightful; though audiences talk back to it at will, it’s not even campy fun. It’s just exploitative, doing to the Princess of Wales pretty much what the tabloid press — let alone the monarchy — did to her in the first place." Full Review

The New York Times

"There is no lack of cheese, God knows, in musicals. Worthiness is also plentiful — and sometimes more off-putting. Still, until “Trevor” opened on Wednesday at Stage 42, I’d seldom encountered, outside of after-school specials, the cheesy-but-worthy combo, a seemingly impossible platter that’s almost as righteous in the world as it is wrong in the theater." Full Review

The New York Times

"NYTImes Critic's Pick! The wonder is that it is never less than thrilling to experience. This being a musical, the music is part of that; Tesori’s wondrous score is like the search function on a car radio, picking up snippets of every genre on the dial...Clarke, who won an Olivier award for her performance in the British production, adds hers. She makes of the maid an almost Shakespearean figure; even at the depths of the character’s despair." Full Review

The New York Times

"How does mind-numbing banality become heart-racing excitement?...a 65-minute verbatim transcript has now become the basis for one of the thrillingest thrillers ever to hit Broadway. “Is This a Room,” which opened on Monday at the Lyceum Theater, turns the ums and stutters and bizarre non sequiturs of recorded speech into astonishing — and astonishingly emotional — theater." Full Review

The New York Times

"If Anyanwu doesn’t provide us with keys to the allegory, except to hint rather broadly that it involves the repression of artists in a totalitarian state, an actor as excellent as Watts cannot help but fill in the blanks." Full Review

The New York Times

"Somehow Nwandu gives us the recognition of horror that has informed drama since the Greeks while also providing the relief of joy — however irrational — that calls to mind the ecstasies of gospel, splatter flicks and classic musicals, all of which are sampled." Full Review

The New York Times

"That both siblings are played by Dowd is a problem, and a plus. The plus is that Dowd is an endlessly and effortlessly compelling actor, apparently unafraid of any extreme of human depravity...Because Dowd is playing both, and because she is a tiny figure on Hildegard Bechtler’s giant catwalk of a stage as it branches out amid the tables, she must push both characterizations to extremes." Full Review

The Perplexed
Midtown W
The New York Times

"In ‘The Perplexed,’ Moral Gridlock on Fifth Avenue: Richard Greenberg’s overstuffed new play about family feuds and ethical choices turns a wedding comedy into a crisis." Full Review

The Headlands
Upper W Side
The New York Times

"‘The Headlands’ Nods to San Francisco Noir: A cold case. An amateur sleuth. A new clue. But sometimes the murder isn’t the real mystery." Full Review

Grand Horizons
Midtown W
The New York Times

"Marriage Is a Long-Running Farce Bess Wohl’s new play puts a Neil Simonesque spin on the story of a couple considering divorce after 50 years." Full Review

Timon of Athens
Brooklyn
The New York Times

"Shakespeare’s ‘Timon’ Gets an Occupy Athens Makeover: Kathryn Hunter stars as the fabulously rich Greek who understands the corrupting value of money only after she loses it." Full Review

The New York Times

"When Disability Isn’t a Special Need but a Special Skill: Two productions at the Under the Radar Festival ask if the theater is ready to embrace the artistry of autism and other once disqualifying conditions." Full Review

The New York Times

"Drawing on the Past, Living in the Present, Dreaming of the Future: A jazz memoirist, a Palestinian rocketeer and Mexican myths set to music kick off the Public Theater’s annual festival of adventurous work from across the globe." Full Review

Judgment Day
Upper E Side
The New York Times

"An Allegory of Blame, Goes Big: At the Park Avenue Armory, Odon von Horvath’s 1937 drama gets a rare and physically overwhelming staging." Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production CRITIC’S PICK "With ‘Jagged Little Pill,’ They Finally Fixed the Jukebox: Alanis Morissette’s 'ironic' fury finds a perfect Broadway musical setting in Diablo Cody’s fiery indictment of, well, everything." Full Review

The New York Times

CRITIC’S PICK ‘The Underlying Chris,’ You Are Who You Were" Will Eno’s new play about the many people each person contains is glib at first, but grows, like life, from trick to tragicomedy. Full Review

The New York Times

"Fleeing Home, but Not Homophobia: Two plays based on the autobiographical novels of Édouard Louis put the problem of violence against gay men in a larger social context." Full Review

Black Exhibition
Brooklyn
The New York Times

"Review: Playwright Exposes Himself in ‘Black Exhibition’: In a new work far from Broadway, Jeremy O. Harris, the author of 'Slave Play,' puts his body and soul on the line." Full Review

The New York Times

CRITIC’S PICK "Getting Intimate at ‘Dr. Ride’s American Beach House’: In a witty new play by Liza Birkenmeier, restless friends find themselves challenged by the first American woman in space." Full Review

Bella Bella
Midtown W
The New York Times

"Abzug and Fierstein, on the Same Ticket in ‘Bella Bella’: When the former Edna Turnblad plays the feminist firebrand of the 1970s, there’s no dress but it’s still a drag." Full Review

The New York Times

CRITIC’S PICK "Mary-Louise Parker in the Subliminal, Sublime ‘Sound Inside’: Adam Rapp’s play transfers to Broadway in a rivetingly dark and detailed production by David Cromer." Full Review

Soft Power
East Village
The New York Times

"In the Musical ‘Soft Power,’ China Whistles the Tune: A complex look at democracy from an Asian perspective turns 'The King and I' inside out." Full Review

The New York Times

"Though sometimes mesmerizing, “Flying Over Sunset,” the new musical about LSD that opened there on Monday, is mostly bewildering, and further proof that transcendence can’t be shared." Full Review

Kimberly Akimbo
Chelsea
The New York Times

"CRITIC’S PICK...And don’t let its pure enjoyability mislead you into thinking it’s not a tragicomedy. To see an old hand like Clark make sparks with a newcomer like Cooley is to feel how quickly the world spins forward. “No one gets a second time around,” they sing in the finale (though “Kimberly Akimbo” fortunately did). It may be an old-style “carpe diem” message — or a “mad recipe,” as Seth might have it — but in this case, leavened by exceptional craft, it makes a totally satisfying meal." Full Review

The New York Times

"Critic's Pick! What begins as a backstage satire of white cluelessness and Black ingratiation gradually broadens and darkens into something far more mysterious: a peculiarly American tale of lost opportunity." Full Review

The New York Times

"“Nollywood Dreams” is spirited and casual, with the knockabout rhythms and narrative shortcuts of Hollywood in its early years, before flickers became films...A play about the enjoyable makeshiftness of early Nollywood films therefore gets an enjoyably makeshift treatment: Form follows dysfunction. Ali’s direction emphasizes color and comfort over snap and discipline. (Dede Ayite’s costumes nail all four.)" Full Review

Morning Sun
Midtown W
The New York Times

"The play is no disaster, just strangely becalmed and unresponsive. Only rarely can you detect its pulse, let alone the feeling Stephens describes as “the sadness in your chest.”" Full Review

Dana H. (Broadway)
Midtown W
The New York Times

"NYTimes Critic's Pick!...“Dana H.” is not just the story of a woman brutalized by a psychopath; it is also the story of a mother abandoned by a son. What else would a playwright do to make reparations but write a play about just that, in the process returning to her what the world had stolen: her voice." Full Review

Sanctuary City
West Village
The New York Times

"I have rarely seen a play that so effectively embodies the way external forces — in this case, immigration policies in the United States — distort the inner lives of actual humans." Full Review

The New York Times

"If “What Happened?: The Michaels Abroad,"...did nothing more than offer us another chance to see Maryann Plunkett do nothing, it would have been enough. She remains the same wonder as ever." Full Review

The New York Times

"A big comedy when we really needed one after a small, grim year, yet also a play celebrating Black life in America, when we really needed that as well...an across-the-board excellent ensemble!" Full Review

Endlings
East Village
The New York Times

"In ‘Endlings,’ the Pain of Swimming Between Worlds: What do Korean divers and Manhattan playwrights have in common? A new play looks for the connection." Full Review

We're Gonna Die
Midtown W
The New York Times

"In ‘We’re Gonna Die,’ Pop Songs for the Reaper: Young Jean Lee offers upbeat tunes about downbeat lives and inevitable ends." Full Review

The New York Times

CRITIC’S PICK. "Camp and Compassion in 'The Confession of Lily Dare': Charles Busch’s mash-up of mother-love weepies finds both pathos and hilarity in the tough talk of Hollywood divas." Full Review

The New York Times

"In ‘A Soldier’s Play,’ an Endless War Against Black Men: The Broadway premiere of Charles Fuller’s 1981 drama finds premonitions of today in the story of a 1944 murder." Full Review

The New York Times

"Staging a Movie Melodrama in ‘The Conversationalists’: Music (and eventually emotion) cuts through the alienating layers of abstraction in this new work by the musician-storytellers James & Jerome." Full Review

The New York Times

"When Disability Isn’t a Special Need but a Special Skill: Two productions at the Under the Radar Festival ask if the theater is ready to embrace the artistry of autism and other once disqualifying conditions." Full Review

The Thin Place
Midtown W
The New York Times

CRITIC’S PICK. "Death Is a Two-Way Door in ‘The Thin Place’: Lucas Hnath’s cunning new ghost story, about a psychic and her client, is a twisty yarn that won’t unravel." Full Review

Greater Clements
Upper W Side
The New York Times

"‘Greater Clements,’ the Tragedy of a Town that Closed: Samuel D. Hunter’s creaky play about the downsizing of the American West features terrific performances by Judith Ivey and Edmund Donovan." Full Review

The New York Times

"The Many Unusual Stages of ‘Fefu and Her Friends’: Read and studied for decades, a key work of the American avant-garde finally returns in a major New York revival." Full Review

The End of Eddy
Brooklyn
The New York Times

"Fleeing Home, but Not Homophobia: Two plays based on the autobiographical novels of Édouard Louis put the problem of violence against gay men in a larger social context." Full Review

The New York Times

"An ‘Evita’ Newly Tailored for Our Time City Center’s gala production of the 1979 Broadway musical gives our favorite fascist enabler a feminist makeover." Full Review

The New York Times

"The ‘Tina’ Musical Is One Inch Deep, Mountain High: Tina Turner gets the bio-jukebox treatment, with all its lows (emaciated storytelling) and one of its peaks (a star-making performance from Adrienne Warren)." Full Review

Scotland, PA
Midtown W
The New York Times

CRITIC’S PICK "Double, Double, Burger and Trouble in ‘Scotland, PA’: When 'Macbeth' meets McDonald’s, a meaty new musical is born." Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production CRITICS’ PICK "'Forbidden Broadway' Sticks It to the Great Woke Way: Gerard Alessandrini’s franchise was looking as long in the tooth as the shows it aimed to skewer. A new edition brings it back to hilarious life." Full Review

The New York Times

"‘The Lightning Thief,’ a Far Cry From Olympus: A musical adaptation of the popular fantasy novel comes to Broadway and goes to Hades." Full Review

TERRA FIRMA
Gramercy
The New York Times

"In ‘Terra Firma,’ a Wee Wet Country on the Brink: This inaugural offering from the Coop squeezes whimsy, character comedy and ecological allegory into one crowded play." Full Review