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20th Century Blues

From 197 member  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. 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.

Member Reviews (197)


Relevant, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Absorbing
Avg Score

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..

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

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.

Also I confess: I am a guy who is about the age of the 4 core women charact... Read more Read less

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.

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

Also A group of female boomer friends reunite for an annual photo and just ... Read more Read less


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.

Sitcom-y, Unengaging, Pleasant, Toothless, Bad acting

See it if you want to feel like you're watching A Very Special Episode of a 90s sitcom.

Don't see it if you're frustrated by plays that should be essays--just a platform for the author's musings, at the expense of plot and character.

Cliched, Funny, Sweet, Indulgent, Boomer bait

See it if You want a play about women of a certain age discussing their lives & issues. You want a mix of humor & heart.

Don't see it if You want a play with something new to say about older women. You want womens' lives & issues dealt w/in depth:felt like a checklist.

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.

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.

Also When you try to say everything, you say nothing. That’s the first prob... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Banal, Beautiful set

See it if The acting was good although Polly Draper's character seemed very artificial and it was hard to see how she fit with the other women.

Don't see it if It's a play about women talking about their 40 years of friendship. If that doesn't appeal to you, don't see it!

Also 95 minutes with no intermission.... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if You'd enjoy hearing a good group of friends talk about their friendship, getting older, their deepest thoughts, and see them dance too!

Don't see it if You can't relate to the hopes & fears of everyday people.

Banal, Cliched, Dated, Disappointing, Slow

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

Cliched, Indulgent, Slow, Treacly, Disappointing

See it if You enjoy slow paced shows lamenting the earlier lives of a group of female friends.

Don't see it if You are looking for a fast paced witty contemporary comedy. There are humorous moments but the nostalgic feeling got boring after a short ti

Entertaining, Great acting, Refreshing, Nostalgic, Baby boomers

See it if You are a baby boomer who is nostalgic about long time friendships, and changing family dynamics. Anyone who has a heart and emotions.

Don't see it if You expect action-packed scenes. Dislike talky plays about women’s friendships. Cannot sit for 90 minutes.

Also As a female baby boomer, I thoroughly related to this play. The actors... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You’re interested in changes in life for three three generations.

Don't see it if If you’re looking for bright and breezy

Strong female cast, Cliched, Forced, Great set

See it if you like ensemble plays about women and relationships, with a great set, set in the right this minute.

Don't see it if you want a piece that packs an emotional punch or you have a problem with some rather artificial elements-the TED talk conceit doesn't work.

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.

Intelligent, Indulgent, Disappointing, Slow, Formulaic

See it if a show about a 40 year friendship between 4 women discussing relationships, aging, appearances & life in general. Good set.

Don't see it if you expect a fast moving piece. The talk, while at times intelligent, often drags.

Funny, Entertaining, Slow at times

See it if you are a woman of a certain age or would enjoy seeing different characters' experiences and how they handle it.

Don't see it if you have no interest in women issues, or ageism, or how a variety of women may handle the "after" years in their lives.


See it if You want good acting and a story about older women.

Don't see it if You want new territory. Nothing exciting. Author throws in a bit of everything...lesbian-transgender-adoption-Alzheimer's-newspaper decline

Also Covers too much so ends up not about much

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Resonant

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.

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Resonant, Must see

See it if you respect the journey and explore changing/contrasting perspectives and relationships of/among women who age & adjust to family/externals

Don't see it if you do not care about the perspectives and challenges of Baby Boomer women in their various relationships/circumstances or can't sit 180 min

Cliched, Disappointing, 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

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.

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...
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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...
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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 wit...
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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 spi...
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