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.

... Read more

Four women. Forty years of friendship. One afternoon that could end it all. And a bond that connects these women who meet once a year to have their pictures taken in a ritual that chronicles their changing (and aging) selves as they navigate through love, careers, children, and the complications of history. But, when these private photographs have the potential to go public, relationships are strained, forcing the women to confront who they are, what they’ve become, and how they’ll deal with whatever lies ahead.

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through 1/28


$49 Orchestra


Offer valid for performances through 01/28/18. This offer cannot be combined with any other discount and is not applicable to previously purchased tickets. Limit 8 tickets per order. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability. A facility fee as well as normal phone and internet service charges may apply. Not all seats are discounted. Cast and schedule subject to change. Blackout dates may apply. Offer may be modified or revoked at any time without notice.

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through 1/28


$49 (Reg. $79) Orchestra Seats


Offer valid for performances through 01/28/18. This offer cannot be combined with any other discount and is not applicable to previously purchased tickets. Limit 8 tickets per order. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability. A facility fee as well as normal phone and internet service charges may apply. Not all seats are discounted. Cast and schedule subject to change. Blackout dates may apply. Offer may be modified or revoked at any time without notice.

through 1/28


Orchestra Seats: $49 (reg. $79)


Offer valid for performances through 01/28/18. This offer cannot be combined with any other discount and is not applicable to previously purchased tickets. Limit 8 tickets per order. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability. A facility fee as well as normal phone and internet service charges may apply. Not all seats are discounted. Cast and schedule subject to change. Blackout dates may apply. Offer may be modified or revoked at any time without notice.

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews


"'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." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"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." Full Review

The New York Times

"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." Full Review

Front Row Center

"This is a well-intentioned play, focusing on a subject that is rarely seen in the theatre. Nevertheless the storyline is so contrived that it nearly doubles back on itself and in the process loses its hold on the point of the tale...The writing swirls around these women like so much chiffon yardage. There is no 'there' there. The actors try valiantly, but these characters are not firing on all cylinders, so there is little they can do other than be valiant. Ditto the direction by Emily Mann." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“There's really not much here to chew on. The conversation, which occasionally stirs a ripple of polite laughter, has a biteless artificiality, the characters lack dimensionality, and dramatic tension is notably absent. Some of the dialogue…sounds more academic than natural; at any rate, it's hard to buy. And, like many playwrights, Miller has difficulty finding convincing reasons to get characters offstage so that others can be left alone to speak privately.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Emily Mann directs as best she can. The cast—four top-notch actors are the friends—attempt to give life to a drama that, since it deals with women of a certain age confronting their past and present, is a strong premise that falls far short of achieving the power it should." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"These women have survived life and along the way protest marches, women’s they are trying to hurdle the road map of getting older...The direction by Emily Mann and the acting of these five fierce females, allows this discussion to take place...Miller dialogue is authentic and piercing, if not a little too talky, and with the addition of Danny’s mother and son, it seems as if there are too many subjects being discussed at once." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"The interaction of the four friends could easily have provided enough material to hold our interest. The level of the writing is uneven, incisive one moment and clunky the next...The topic of feelings of invisibility and obsolescence for mature women is one worthy of our attention. The treatment it gets from Ms. Miller is just good enough that I was left wishing it had been better. The actors work well together." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"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." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Playwright Susan Miller has the pulse of women at a certain age. Her characters are well drawn and not so obviously diverse that they feel like clichés. Humor is as spot on as insidious fears. We know these people...Director Emily Mann stages with comfortable naturalism. A few too many exits when things get prickly, however, seem like a way not to have to handle unspeaking characters. Timing is realistic. Physical characteristics fit personalities." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"Reflects women in the face of how they are unjustly regarded in society. The portraits are effective, as the cast members are all excellent in their delineation of what is happening in their lives. The writing is crisp, and yet there is insufficient drama to make the work more dynamic. But what there is impresses, and one comes away with more awareness of what women go through and how they are affected by a society that prizes youth and beauty and instills fear of becoming over the hill." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"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." Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

“Playwright Miller and director Emily Mann pace the storytelling with the deliberate pause-and-reflect rhythm of a daytime serial...More a calibrated pastiche than a decisively constructed dramatic ride. There is little suspense, scarcely a story to unfold. We’re left with the charm of the characters to entertain us...The stakes and life events are very present, but the mode Miller relies on is sequential monologues, not crafted dialogue...It’s watching characters report, not relate.” Full Review

Motherhood Later

"How heartening to witness the love and backbone, and neuroses, among these complex women, reinforcing the vitalness of female bonds...Once we are in the company of these gals, we get immersed in their camaraderie and at times, clever and insightful banter...All the actors more than hold their own, and Emily Mann directs with a sensitive hand...An earnest and at times painful, yet comedic take on aging and lives lived fully with intent." Full Review

Off Off Online

"The mood of the piece is easy if somewhat loaded; the conversations are clipped and swift, touching on but not touching down on anything too deeply or for too long...Theatrically, that is a lot of pressure on the final reveal of these images...It’s no surprise when Danny’s photographs don’t live up to such pressure...Although the fast-paced rhythm might be intentional, it is distracting...A slick, smart script that’s being given an enjoyable ensemble production." Full Review

New York Theatre Wire

"Charmingly played by Kathryn Grody, 'Gabby' is everyone's best friend and soulful listener...However it's Ellen Parker who breathes reality into this play...Director Emily Mann brilliantly moves these women through a night of pleasure, camaraderie and pain. '20th Century Blues' is very good theater. Warning: It's not television's 'Golden Girls' our mothers loved so much. Instead it's real women not afraid to live their lives in our ever-changing society. I hoped they would succeed." Full Review


"Compelling new play...Marked by all the rhythms of conversations of women who have known one another for a very long time...While there is no mounting crescendo in this play, playwright and director have devised and highlighted a series of subtle explosions...If you have been in love with an idea, had a parent with dementia, or ever noted the quantum nature of relationships, then you will resonate like a Tibetan singing bowl, as this play thrums with surface and depth." Full Review

Curve Magazine

"Miller's artful dialogue, embedded with witticisms and sharp observations, flows naturally as directed by Emily Mann. The action circuitously but beautifully delivers different levels of intimacy and conflict between women, who love each other in a unique way. There is never a dull moment...It’s fun and compelling viewing. Miller’s script is clever and wise, bursting with great lines and naked truths...'20th Century Blues' offers reflections of female existence that are usually denied us." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You can relate to having life long BFFs, you want to see a cast that works well together, you want night out with an engaging show.

Don't see it if Millennials might not get it. If you can't relate to the idiosyncrasies of lifelong BFFs, this show is not for you.

Banal, Disappointing, Cliched, Overrated, Slow

See it if you want to see many stereotypes of older women presented with no new insights

Don't see it if you would like to see a well-written, thoughtful play

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You're interested in aging and memory.

Don't see it if You don't like shows about a bunch of older women.

Also Despite being a man in my 30s, I enjoyed the show.

Well acted, predictable production, many worse things to do on a rainy sunday.

See it if You are interested in watching 3 women who are friends, no drama, no one upmanship. A demented mother and adopted son seeking bio mom.

Don't see it if Well, no drama. There doesn't seem to be any risk, nothing much uncovered, but well done.

Funny, Cliched, Entertaining, Fluffy, Sit-com

See it if you're an UWS Boomer & can laugh without irony at stereotypes & all those predictable milestones in this play

Don't see it if you're either too young or too old to wallow in this benign pity-party over inevitable aging; find other things are more important

Indulgent, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you’re fine with a show that has no emotional or reactional realism around little things like old age, senility and death.

Don't see it if you’re not interested in seeing a group of older women act ditzy and engage in silly conversations.

Also didn’t laugh once and couldn’t wait for the show to end, but there wer... Read more Read less

Relevant, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you are interested in women issues. Good acting and relevant ideas but not fully developed. Too much exposition and not enough drama.

Don't see it if you need theater to have conflict and fully formed ideas.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You like anything Broadway or off-Broadway

Don't see it if You want to see a fluffy musical or mindless comedy

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You are of a certain age. This is a play about friendship and aging.

Don't see it if You are looking for mindless entertainment. You don’t want to think or feel.

Also This play has a great many themes and ideas, perhaps too many. But it ... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Refreshing, Resonant

See it if you enjoy productions about women in their 60s; you like relationship plays

Don't see it if you don't care about women's relationships over the years

Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, 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.

Disappointing, Cliched, Slow

See it if you're fascinated by the concept of a 40-year friendship interwoven with sociological and feminist themes.

Don't see it if you're looking for a believable plot.

Also There is some good acting onstage, but I just couldn't completely acce... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Banal, Cliched, Shallow, Talky

See it if Glut of female baby boomer topics (aging parents/menopause/forced retirement/loss of youth & looks) covered w/o any depth. Talky, cliched.

Don't see it if I'm the target demographic & wanted to identify, but found it shallow & disappointing. I didn't feel any connection between the women.

Indulgent, Banal, Excruciating, Cliched, Insipid

See it if you enjoy a plastic cliche story of who women are. Play rite is trying to tick every box without any insight.

Don't see it if you want something real and not canned.

Funny, Great acting, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy a view into the bonds of friendship over 40 years with 4 excellent female actors.

Don't see it if You don’t like shows about the lives of women.

Banal, Disappointing, Cliched, Slow, Dated

See it if you are interested in seeing some excellent design work by Beowulf Boritt &Jeff Croiter. Otherwise there is nothing to recommend.

Don't see it if you have other options.

Also What is the "subplot" involving Danny's mother and son doing in this p... Read more Read less

Relevant, Banal, Disappointing, Cliched, Slow

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

Ambitious, Great acting, Relevant

See it if Wish to see woman of a certain age act well in an encapsulation of women over the last 40 years.

Don't see it if Expected more in-depth. Too many "issues" brought up but never discussed.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you like off b'way drama,esp if you a re a boomer and female thinking (worrying) and talking to friends about growing old!

Don't see it if you don't like off b'way dramas or aren't interested in stories about women's friendships as they grow older.

Cliched, Well-acted, Contrived, Mildly entertaining, Edgeless

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..

Clever, Intelligent, Relevant, Entertaining

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.

Ambitious, Relevant, Indulgent, Well acted

See it if you'd like a drama, easy to follow, and not too deep.

Don't see it if you'd like to leave the theatre having learned something.

Great acting, Banal, Cliched, Dated

See it if you’re under 50 and trying to “find yourself”, or figure out what life’s all about. Good ensemble acting, Polly Draper is especially winning

Don't see it if your not interested in seeing stock figures deal with stereotypical problems of life. Oh so predictable! Basic premise was unbelievable.

Funny, Absorbing, Relevant, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if stories of friendships through the ages told in a Real setting is of interest. Very real, very touching and very enjoyable.

Don't see it if You aren’t interested in stories of friendship

Funny, Delightful, Resonant

See it if you would enjoy a feel good play about friendship, and the joys and sorrows of old friends who reunite annually to catch up and take a photo

Don't see it if you are not a fan of shows about friendship and how the conflicts of such can affect them.

Cast & Creatives (12)