New York | 1h 40m | Already closed

A Class Act

From 10 critic and 32 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Relevant, Intelligent, Slow, Clever

About the show

New World Stages presents a new drama about what transpires after a major chemical company is caught pouring cancer-causing waste into a municipal water supply. More…

A high-end law firm brings a class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of 'the little people' who were affected by the poisonous water. Who wins? Who loses? Who makes millions whether they win or lose? Who gets justice in the end? Seven lawyers fight it out in this timely play.


“Unlike such films as ‘Erin Brockovich’ and ‘A Civil Action’ which cover similar ground in stories of ecological pollution, this play takes place exclusively in executive conference rooms where the decisions are made. In the course of this taut 90 minute drama directed by Christopher Scott, we experience loyalty, integrity, greed, blackmail, betrayal and redemption. The cast of seven proves expert at playing these legal and corporate types.” Full Review

Act Three - The Reviews

“In a new work by Norman Shabel, we are treated to a legal gem. Well written such that the audience understands the way a class-action lawsuit works and well acted such that we believed the actors in their respective corners of the fight. Director Christopher Scott had much talent to work with...Mr. Scott channeled the talent of the fine actors to make his impression last...A great legal drama with a redeeming ending.” Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“Lawyers will appreciate the profanity-laced boardroom wrangling over huge payoffs, class actions vs. individual lawsuits, settlements vs. trials, and venal techniques...Shabel, wanting to make clear where his heart is...concludes with a melodramatic twist that taints the play's integrity…’A Class Act’ doesn't reach the heights of...Ibsen's ‘An Enemy of the People’ or the movie ‘Erin Brockovich’, but its examination of how lawyers operate entitles it to its day in court.” Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"A very decent legal drama…The dialogue bristles with legal authenticity, and enough wit and solid characterization...Director Christopher Scott does no harm, but he doesn’t especially enhance…He has directed his cast to operate at a pitch a few clicks higher than naturalism, which makes you more aware of watching a play than you’d care to be; but the style isn’t egregious...The cast, while not exceptional, is plenty good enough to carry it and engage your interest." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"The characters are of an ilk that gives lawyers a bad name...There are twists and turns in the plot—some believable, others not...Though the plot points are nothing new, they remain relevant, and raise significant questions about human motivations and corporate corruption...Director Christopher Scott holds our attention by keeping the actors moving around the stationary set and growing the tension between them, giving emphasis to their increasingly volatile confrontations." Full Review

Front Row Center

“In the end, however, in spite of Shabel’s sincere attempt, we care little about this story...The characters themselves are more iconic than specific...There are no real surprises as everything plays out...The connections leading up to the conclusion are never clearly established and the landing is bumpy in the extreme...This is a noble attempt to tell a smarmy tale. Shabel has the guts, and now he needs a dramaturge’s guidance to help him dig for the gold that is surely there.” Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"A boardroom drama that feels like ‘Erin Brockovich’ without the suspense or Julia Roberts…Though 'A Class Act' has a lot to offer, it plays like a law brief with the language stilted and long-winded, unless you are a lawyer. Even though the show is 100 minutes, it seems longer. We care about the unseen victims, not the characters onstage and that is never a good thing. Only the last 15 minutes really cut deep into the soul of the piece, but by then it just seems manipulated." Full Review


"A behind-the-scenes look at how and why class-action suits can drag on for years…No faulting the seven-member cast. They do a good job of individualizing all these high-powered legal types…Unfortunately the playwright resorts to using some really hoary tricks to move his plot forward…The production values are pretty bare bones, but they work. What doesn't work is the play being consistently engaging as well as a worthy dramatization of a serious societal issue." Full Review

Village Voice

“For all the bombast, though, we rarely hear what anyone feels. Lawyers jockey for position, but the dialogue isn't clever enough to make these verbal conflicts sizzle. Legal jargon drags; ethical quandaries get glossed over. The real issues, of environmental destruction and corporate profit at the expense of human beings, only crop up at the end of the story — way too late.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"It's certainly a juicy situation, one that a more experienced playwright could invest with plenty of crackle, but Shabel and his director aren't, theatrically speaking, ready to graduate from moot court…The double-dealing and horse-trading is often surprisingly limp…Neither the writing nor the direction conveys a sense of the stakes involved…The play is pretty much like its characters: It comes on strong and tough, but, in the clutch, proves to be surprisingly weak and disorganized." Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if If you care about what is happening on our planet and how it affects us all. Timely and really makes one think.

Don't see it if If you want something totally funny.

Absorbing, Great writing, Intelligent, Intense, Relevant

See it if You like a serious, relevant, timely piece of theatre. Finally, a show that lives up to its title! It can get dense--have coffee before!

Don't see it if You don't like intellectual banter on stage or if you're looking for a fun show. This ain't it, but what it is--is much better!

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if A legal case drama that's set in a high powered Manhattan law firm conference room. A relevant and realistic play is your choice.

Don't see it if You are looking for a light comedy or satire. The humor in this play is of the black variety ! Contemporary realism is not your thing.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you like a very well written drama about an important environmental issue. Nice twist at the end.

Don't see it if you like a lavish production or don't like hearing lots of court terms.

Also I just saw a one night only reading of this play. It starred Judge Nap... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Taut, Intriguiging

See it if you want to see an entertaining legal drama with tightly drawn characters, a fair amount of intrigue, and a realistic narrative.

Don't see it if you are averse to legal potboilers or you've overdosed on the countless TV legal dramas. This is a good play, but it's nothing terribly new.

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Well acted

See it if you like Law & Order or lawyer-centered storylines and the pursuit of justice.

Don't see it if you hate lawyers or shows involving litigation.

Great writing, Intelligent, Original, Thought-provoking

See it if you like good plotting-thoughtful contemporary plays. Or if you're interested in the legal profession, the environment, and moral dilemmas.

Don't see it if you are offended by obscenities, uneven occasionally hyperbolic acting, blackmail, or the use of sexual favors to achieve an end.

Ambitious, Funny, Clever, Good play-- back scenes look

See it if Interesting look at legal negotiation- but a bit too pc ending

Don't see it if Want real drama or entertainment

Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if If you enjoy Law & Order. I found it predictable but my friends didn't. I was presently surprised and actually really enjoyed it.

Don't see it if If "lawyer talk" isn't your thing or you don't like shows like Law & Order.

Disappointing, Ambitious, Talky, Cerebral, Unconvincing

See it if you are fascinated by lawyers. I found the arguments and strategies unconvincing. This is a punchline play which disappointed.

Don't see it if you want more than talking heads. The plot points didn't work, altho some class action talk was interesting (better done in A Civil Action).

Lawyers usually don't make great playwrights; this play is no exception

See it if you like to see how the sausage is made-how high powered litigators operate behind closed doors

Don't see it if /since problem with script: out-of-the-blue revenge plot/motivation emerges at end; too many operatic/unrealistic speeches; uneven acting

Slow, Dated, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a play that tries to make you think.

Don't see it if you have another show in mind

Ambitious, Relevant, Slow, Disappointing

See it if You like watching legal dramas that over use legal jargon to convey intensity. Good effort but missed the mark.

Don't see it if You're in the legal profession and/or prefer well written dramas that offer an element of surprise or make you care about the characters.

Intelligent, Slow, Intense

See it if you love courtroom dramas

Don't see it if if you don't like shows that are long and serious and are more talk than action.


See it if you don't mind bad language.

Don't see it if you want better plot and acting

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Delightful

See it if You enjoy the sophisticated wit of A R Gurney sand the wry view of academia.

Don't see it if you like in-your-face comedy

Absorbing, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if #10

Don't see it if You want to sleep.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense

See it if You like smart drama and good acting.

Don't see it if You don't like to think.

Disappointing, Slow

See it if You want to see some good acting/attractive actors.

Don't see it if You like plays with emotional resonance that say something besides: "the system sucks", plus everything the L&S review said.

Confusing, Disappointing, Slow, Boring, Poorly written

See it if You want a super long, live-action version of a bad Law and Order episode. The acting wasn't good, especially from the female lead.

Don't see it if You want something up beat and fast paced. This show was a drag and honestly needs to close. There wasn't anything entertaining about it.

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You like a show with no intermission and a great story line that moves along quickly

Don't see it if You aren't interested in seeing how corporate America and lawyers interact in dealing with cases

During previews

See it if you like to see how behind the scenes legal negotiations are done. Interesting plot that's well acted. A well paced show that never drags.

Don't see it if you want heavy action.

During previews
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Original, Intelligent

See it if I was surprised by this. Interesting characters with shifting allegiances, no fluff, good dialog, engaging-until the last 5 min vitiated it

Don't see it if you dont like legal dramas. you dont want to have the entire ethical legal construct turned upside down and undermined for "drama" .

During previews
Clever, Relevant, Resonant, Good storytelling, Technically accurate

See it if you like good storytelling; like legal stories; like lawyers; like a fast paced legal drama;

Don't see it if hate layers; hate legal stories; don't like legal mumbo jumbo; don't like stories about environmental pollution;

During previews
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if the pros and cons of any business. what our society is like. .It mirrored Ibsen's An Enemy Of The People & Arthur Miller's All My Sons.

Don't see it if My wife found it less provoking. I was not happy with the decision to have the actors project away from the Audience at times.

Cast & Creatives (14)