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A Bright Room Called Day

From 128 member  reviews
Members say: Disappointing, Great acting, Ambitious, Slow, Indulgent

About the show

A new version Tony Kushner's ("Caroline, Or Change"; "Angels in America") first play, a prescient 1985 drama suggesting the possibility of the Reagan counter-revolution eventually giving rise to American fascism. More…

From the show:

Agnes, an actress in Weimar Germany, and her cadre of passionate, progressive friends, are torn between protest, escape, and survival as the world they knew crumbles around them. Her story is interrupted by an American woman enraged by the cruelty of the Reagan administration, and a new character, grappling with the anxiety, distraction, hope, and hopelessness of an artist facing the once unthinkable rise of authoritarianism in modern America.

Funny, brilliant, and devastating, this new production of A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY revisits an epic work that takes a piercing look at the vulnerability of American democracy, and demands to know: when the devil takes up residence in your country… will you act?


Member Reviews (128)

MEMBERS SAY:

Disappointing, Great acting, Ambitious, Slow, Indulgent
67
Avg Score

75
Long, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Meta

See it if you like Kushner's work playing w theatrical tradns. 2 modern day commentators interrupt the 1930s action, w chilling epilogue. Talky, weird

Don't see it if you want a neat, trim work. ABR is a mess, but an impressive, enlightening one. Rise of fascism. Urie is a standout! Great special effects.

39
Excruciating, Disappointing, Dated, Cliched, Banal

See it if If you want a typical Kushner play raging against Reagan. If you like a communist themed play with little substance.

Don't see it if If you cant stand Tony Kushner's works, his twists on history even if it's not true. If you want a show with a meaningful plot.

70
Indulgent, Slow, Thought-provoking, Cliched, Ambitious

See it if Stalwart theatre actors - Urie, Esper, Emond, Hadary (as Kushner himself), et. al. fail to ignite this turgid "re-do" of his early drama

Don't see it if Despite a ravishing production, moments of typical Kushner intellectual brilliance are few & far between in this historical cautionary tale

70
Relevant, Indulgent, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if fan of Kushner & curious abut his first play, interest in Germany of '30's, follow development of Kushner style, see updates and rewrites

Don't see it if don't like playwrights inserting themselves into play, don't like HItler parallels or repetition of situation, frustrating main character

70
Should u see this early (reworked) play by the amazing tony kushner?; maybe but be forewarned this is no "angels in america," not even close

See it if thru plot centered on Berlin artists' ineffectual reaction 2 '30s rise of Hitler, raises deep ?s about artists' duty 2 deal w Trump

Don't see it if awkward/very meta; adding new scenes w/ a talky "Kushner" character 2 original drama turns this into meh drama w commentary bolted on

Also Here's what I think happened in the remounting of this play. After see... Read more Read less

63
This needed the rewrite

See it if You are interested in a play that focuses on Nazi Germany in the 1930s

Don't see it if You are bothered when actors break the fourth wall. A big part of this play is the character of the playwright who interrupts the play

Also I didn’t see the original so I don’t know this for sure but I’m assumi... Read more Read less

60
Clearly an early play by a playwright with too much to say and not yet knowing how to say it.

See it if You want to see anything Tony Kushner.

Don't see it if You want a well written play with something to say.

60
Looooooooong, Slow, Disappointing, Great acting

See it if You want to see some really talented actors perform a very mediocre play. You like interruptions from the playwright as a trope.

Don't see it if You have anything better to do with three hours of your time. So long, so pointless. It gets a so-so grade because the actors were great.

75
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Indulgent, Great writing, Ambitious

See it if You are a huge Kushner fan and don't mind nearly daily rewrites to accomplish ??? First play, roots of his style are bared, very political

Don't see it if a cut and dried piece about fascism, communism, and contemporary American politics is not entertaining to you

75
Uneven, Too wordy, Intelligent, Relevant, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy smart, intellectual discussions about art and politics. Lots of clever ideas and good acting.

Don't see it if you prefer story telling where the characters develop through their actions. This show is very wordy and did not need to be so long.

59
Didactic, Slow, Relevant, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if hist. drama (early 30s Germany - Weimar to rise of Nazis); scenes broken up by 'playwright' & interrupter to note modern day similarities

Don't see it if long, preachy & condescending; don't want 4th wall broken (by 'playwright' addressing audience)

Also Kushner's first play & it related rising fascism in Germany to the Rea... Read more Read less

49
Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow, Excruciating, Ambitious

See it if you want to attend a dry lecture on fascism disguised as a play.

Don't see it if you want there to be actual characters written, instead of just walking viewpoints.

Also I left this and went to Star Wars, and even with the plot holes and as... Read more Read less

69
Intelligent, Self-indulgent, Tony kushner is frightened & wants us to do the work

See it if A diatribe against breakdown of democratic society invoking different historical eras. Large cast of good actors.

Don't see it if You appreciate subtlety. Yes, times are scary & only if we act can things change but is Kushner so frustrated that harangue is only choice?

80
Sometimes-eye-opening, sometimes redundant and stale, Immersive, Slightly-disappointing, Well-acted and –staged, Unevenly-paced

See it if interested in an early, imperfect but still politically-engaged and pertinent early work by Tony Kushner that breaks theatrical conventions.

Don't see it if you want a focused, straight trajectory and clear-storytelling that does not constantly break the fourth-wall and the central narrative.

Also Not quite a frame-narrative and more a play within a play within the “... Read more Read less

74
Relevant

See it if How history teaches us how the political far right can tirade over society and rhymes with Nazis, Reagon, & now, but you must keep fighting!

Don't see it if Theory-filled political talk goes over your head. Breaking fourth wall with playwright and current times isn’t your thing. 3 hrs is long.

Also Diversity: protagonist is a Black female (she happens to be, not part ... Read more Read less

50
Slow, Excruciating, Tooo loong, Precious, but not in a good way, Self-indulgent

See it if you are a fan of Tony Kushner, or if you haven't had enough theatre that compares the President to Hitler, the Devil, or some other tyrant.

Don't see it if you have three hours to spare for a painful political diatribe reminiscent of the kind of protest theatre we suffered through in the 60s.

Also First, the good news: Michael Urie, who never fails to please, was ter... Read more Read less

50
Confusing, Excruciating, Slow, Great acting

See it if You want to see all of Tony Kushner’s plays. The acting is excellent, especially Michael Urie as Gregor Bazwald.

Don't see it if You want to see a play that makes any sense. Too many tangents and interruptions by Zillah and Xillah,

Also This was a confusing and frustrating experience. So many excellent act... Read more Read less

72
Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if A revision of Kushner's first play, charting Hitler's rise and recent presidential politics. Excellent cast of theater vets all excel.

Don't see it if The subject matter is not of interest.The play is close to 3 hours,with some scenes of singing and piano playing.

25
Talk some more, Interrupt interrupt interrupt, Talk talk talk talk

See it if You feel you must see all Kushner's work. You will get a sense of his extensive knowledge of historic and political history. And be BORED.

Don't see it if You have anything better to do with 3 hours.Much talking & Much decrying by new character who is Kushner. Don't bemoan it,Write a new play

89
Challenging & dogmatic, Historical lesson & fiction updated by kushner, Complex, historical, meandering, unconventional;, Terrific acting & design, Powerful & prescient

See it if You appreciate historical and political theatre. Like Kushner and watching a fine ensemble of actors.

Don't see it if You want to be unchallenged and comfortable. You need patience and close listening to appreciate this!

70
Overly long, Great acting, Great writing, Indulgent, Confusing

See it if you're a fan of Kusher's prose, especially when he leans into his more preachy/heady monologues.

Don't see it if you're expecting Angels or a masterpiece. it's clearly an early work full of big ideas w/ revisions that are really just him now lecturing

84
Relevant, Intelligent, Must see, Meta, Thought-provoking

See it if you're interested in playwriting, historicity, power, the purpose of theater, WWII, or what it means to act morally in the world.

Don't see it if You don't like breaking the fourth wall, supernatural plot elements, lots of talking, intellectualizing, or Tony Kushner.

Also This play made me realize how much I like Kushner. I would love to rea... Read more Read less

75
Overrated, Great acting

See it if the rise of Nazi Germany interests you as it relates to today, but wonder if the interruptions supposedly related to rewrites, was essential

Don't see it if You are expecting another Angels in America

Also The interruptions by Kushner & a talented actress were political, but ... Read more Read less

80
Resonant, Relevant, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Reworked first play by Kushner explores the conditions that led to rise of Nazis &straight line first to Reagan then Trump -and role of art

Don't see it if It is brilliant at times but a lesser work Angels in America ;explores same themes in gorgeous writing and explores role of art in suchtimes

71
Thought-provoking, Excruciating, Great acting, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if strongest ensemble cast in NYC with Estelle Parsons at 92 (mic drop) imaginative set and direction

Don't see it if remove all the production values and you have a yammering play that few will care to see despite the timeliness of the subject matter


November 25th, 2019
"The Playwright Enters the Play In retooling his first produced work, Tony Kushner himself appears as a character in this lumbering portrait of endangered artists in Nazi Berlin."
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December 6th, 2019
4 Stars. "This will not be welcome to the kind of people who scream 'Godwin’s Law!' at any whiff of comparison to the Third Reich...But it is a privilege to spend three hours in the company of such an invigorating, morally serious intellect.
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November 25th, 2019
"The Wild Invention of 'Fefu and Her Friends,' and the (Latest!) Rewrite of 'A Bright Room Called Day'"
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November 25th, 2019
"This first major NYC revival of the 1985 debut from Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Angels in America' author Tony Kushner is a revised version featuring a stand-in for the playwright commenting on the action."
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