20th Century Blues
20th Century Blues

20th Century Blues NYC Reviews and Tickets

(197 Reviews)
Members say
Relevant, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Absorbing

About the Show

This new premiere tells the story a group of four women whose annual photo shoot ritual keeps them together, until it threatens to tear them apart.

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Member Reviews (197)

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716 Reviews | 157 Followers
Ambitious, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Cliched, Fluffy

See it if you're a boomer wondering where life went or what happened to societal change, enjoy reunion plots, the occasional joint and requisite dance

Don't see it if you're worried about the perils of aging, the loss of friends, expect plot and action, can't abide lengthy humorless stretches or PC moments Read more

655 Reviews | 129 Followers
Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Life

See it if I like this show, for it tells of four women who are friends for years. it about life. Subject about aging too.

Don't see it if Its as No singing, dance, just talking, about life.

677 Reviews | 190 Followers
Cliched, Contrived, Well-acted, Edgeless, Mildly entertaining

See it if you are woman of a certain age; you enjoy those "very special episodes" of network sitcoms.

Don't see it if you can't relate to the issues of aging women & can't tolerate cliched, self-indulgent & largely inconsequential conversation between them..

688 Reviews | 116 Followers
Cliched, Banal, Slow, Disappointing, Relevant

See it if Despite the valiant efforts of a talented cast, dramedy is a tedious retreat of later-day feminism Mann's lifeless direction doesn't help

Don't see it if Miller whips up every late 20th century women's issue only to leave each one unexplored & undeveloped Viewer is left frustrated and bored

670 Reviews | 156 Followers
Delightful, Great acting, Resonant, Intelligent, Touching

See it if you've hit retirement age, or would like a taste of the fears & joys of this generation, still feeling vital but knowing it can't last.

Don't see it if the thought of anything older than disco makes your skin crawl. Read more

506 Reviews | 1000 Followers
Clever, Entertaining, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you are of a certain age. The performance just hit home with us It looked back at many common threads in our life and was right on target

Don't see it if you only need TODAY.

505 Reviews | 729 Followers
Ambitious, Disappointing, Indulgent, Self-important

See it if you’ve never seen a play before. It will be to your benefit that you have nothing to compare this to.

Don't see it if you prefer a focused script and dynamic performances. Read more

567 Reviews | 147 Followers

See it if you like feminism or a fan of "THIRTYSOMETHING" from the eighties. Really wanted to like this. Alas.

Don't see it if you want the actors to connect with each other or mind actors onstage in their sixties.

Critic Reviews (21)

The New York Times
November 26th, 2017

"Does this smack of contrivance? It does. Though some contrivance is forgivable...These are fine actors, and if Miller’s dialogue is less than spontaneous, they speak it feelingly...'20th Century Blues' is genuinely sweet. But sometimes it is even sweeter than that, as though Ms. Miller has baked a chocolate cake and then frosted it with sugar cubes...Might be a better play if it were harsher, more naturalistic, its focus not so soft."
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November 27th, 2017

"The introduction of Danny’s addled mother (played by the wonderful Beth Dixon) and grown son adds unintended bathos. That this is familiar terrain, and Miller can lay it on thick, makes it no less timely, especially on the subject of invisibility as it applies to most female humans over, say, 30.... Miller has the grace to be empathic, something crucially and deeply felt in Emily Mann’s sensitive staging. I’m certain that’s why '20th Century Blues' grew on me, as it did."
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November 27th, 2017

"'20th Century Blues' is a warm play, but one that cares more about stating big ideas than theatricalizing them. It's a stage version of a think piece...Though the four protagonists are believable as friends, little about their performances are as real they need to be...Directed by Emily Mann with too leisurely a hand. The gentleness of the pacing, combined with the overall lack of discernible conflict in Miller's genial script, creates an evening that isn't particularly engaging."
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Lighting & Sound America
November 27th, 2017

"It offers a symposium dealing with issues of import for progressive women of a certain age...So much is brought up that, in a play running one hour and forty minutes, there's no time for anything to get more than the once-over-lightly treatment...Mann's direction can't really find a dramatic spine in all this girl talk...Miller's play seems mostly designed to make aging, disaffected liberals feel less alone...Everybody is so busy singing the blues that there is no time for drama."
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Talkin' Broadway
November 26th, 2017

"A smart, funny, and touching ode to friendship and aging...It's hard to imagine anyone who would be immune to the love that infuses this first-rate, terrifically-acted production...Perhaps '20th Century Blues' is a bit overstuffed with plot...Yet the writing and the performances under Emily Mann's warm direction are so strong that only a real curmudgeon would quibble. There simply is not a misstep in the entire evening, and you are likely to leave the theater deeply moved by the experience."
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November 30th, 2017

“There is nothing much very wrong with Susan Miller's ‘20th Century Blues’ that a few more revelations or dustups wouldn't solve. Beth Dixon, Franchelle Stewart Dorn, Polly Draper, Kathryn Grody and Ellen Parker play believable, recognizable women at a plateau in their lives when some taking stock is in order as they approach the age of being considered senior citizens. A pleasant evening in this form, but Miller's play gives an aftertaste that will leave you hungry for more.”
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Theater Pizzazz
November 26th, 2017

"The talk and banter doesn’t reveal anything new about women or aging but fortifies what’s been said on timeless occasions...However, there are abundant humorous lines to give it an easy conversational feeling and the audience some chuckles...There’s a lot of heart in Susan Miller’s writing, directed by Emily Mann, as the storyline picks up more emotion moving forward over the one hour, 40 minutes. But the theme is worn out and needs some new revelations."
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November 26th, 2017

"Engaging...One of its main assets is that it gives four women over age 60 a chance to show off their considerable talents...Mann has guided each actress to present a unique, fully dimensioned personality and make their at once loving and tense interactions real and believable...While Dixon and Socarides play their limited roles beautifully, their scenes don't fit in as seamlessly as they should...Fortunately, neither do they detract enough from the play's otherwise substantial pleasures."
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