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New York | 2h 15m | Already closed

After the Blast

From 21 critic and 76 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Clever

About the show

Lincoln Center Theater presents the world premiere of Zoe Kazan's drama about a couple who hopes to have a child in a post-apocalyptic world. More…

'After the Blast' is set in the wake of total environmental disaster, when the human population has retreated underground. Experience is simulated. Fertility is regulated. And Anna and Oliver have one last chance to have a baby.

2h 15m | Already closed | Claire Tow Theater (Upper W Side)

Theater Pizzazz

"Remarkably accomplished...At its heart, 'After the Blast' is a true domestic drama...All of this unfolds smoothly on Daniel Zimmerman’s minimalist sets under Lila Neubeurger’s expert direction, which makes the show’s 2 ½ hours feel far shorter...But Kazan deserves the ultimate praise for making us look deep into our souls and ask what we would do for love and what we would do to survive. I would hardly call 'After the Blast' a blast, but I would call it necessary theatrical viewing." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"Its heart — and its strength — is its examination of despair, the daily, deadening tug toward the dark...Under Neugebauer’s meticulous, confident hand, Harper and Milioti give mesmerizing performances: painfully raw without a trace of melodrama....Milioti’s interactions with her automated scene partner feel like tiny miracles...'After the Blast’s' brilliance lies in its use of science fiction’s black mirror to cast light on human betrayals both global and personal." Full Review

Front Row Center

“Everything about this production supports Kazan’s vision beautifully. First and foremost, the superb talents of Milioti and Harper as Anna and Oliver. Every interaction between the two of them was natural, believable and focused. It was a master class that every acting student should attend. Neugebauer directed with a deft and subtle hand, keeping the pace crisp, accentuating the humor, and playing against the stereotype of a dark underground world.” Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Kazan has managed to write the rare play that is enhanced by its genre elements. Rather than serving as mere adornments, the sci-fi elements suggest a level of introspection rarely seen in modern plays...Anchored by Milioti's absolutely luminous performance, 'After the Blast' is a profound meditation on the nature of the soul, our relationship to objects, and our fear of connecting to those who are closer to us." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"An intriguing, engaging, and laugh-laced philosophical discourse with heart...Arthur provides a cannister full of laughs, yes; but he serves as not only a canny expository device—with Anna filling him in with knowledge and backstory—but as an emotional center of the play as well...Milioti does wonderfully as the desperate housewife...The play has been smartly directed by Lila Neugebauer." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"It pulls off the bedazzling feat of taking a hyper-politicized topic and using it as the occasion for a taut, sermon-free drama whose true subject is the inability of men and women to see each other plain...Milioti brings a disciplined yet utterly natural intensity that makes it impossible for you to look at anyone else whenever she’s on stage...The true star of 'After the Blast,' however, is its creator. Kazan has emerged as a writer of real individuality." Full Review

Broadway & Me

“Kazan’s in impressive command of both the text, which is smart and witty, and the subtext, which is heartwarming and inspirational. But credit also must be shared with the sensitive staging by Neugebauer...And still even more praise must go to the excellent cast...’After the Blast’ has its longeurs but they're leavened by its humor and by the play's resolute conviction that the sacrifices we make today are necessary...but also so that we can make life worth living for the people we love now.” Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Deals with this tension between reality and chosen illusions in its own provoking way, with equitable humor, empathy, and pathos. Kazan exhibits a formidable talent for writing...Some of the most poignant exchanges are between Anna and the robot, Arthur...Kazan is sensitively navigating the murky, ethical waters of what it means to deceive ourselves and the ones we love when faced with stupefying adversity." Full Review

Time Out New York

"As designed by Noah Mease and voiced by Will Connolly, the robot dominates Zoe Kazan’s cautionary drama 'After the Blast'...It is palpably overlong, and there is some rather heavy-handed finger-wagging about the things we take for granted. But Milioti and Harper are excellent in the central roles, director Lila Neugebauer surrounds them with a top-drawer production and Arthur is downright merchandisable." Full Review


“'After the Blast' teeters disturbingly on the loomingly intrusive interplay between artificial intelligence and basic human instincts and emotions...Kazan has something bigger in mind and not futuristic at all...Under the keenly sensitive direction of Lila Neugebauer, ‘ After the Blast’ has been given a dream showcase, starting with the cast.” Full Review

Carey Purcell

"Kazan’s play piercingly probes gender dynamics, which have remained stagnant...Kazan’s carefully constructed script is peppered with delightful moments of comedy and social commentary. Passing mentions of the self-described Singles Compound and Anna’s weariness with writing clickbait puff-pieces add moments of levity and criticism. Seeing a complicated woman who is difficult to understand, both written and played with compassion, is a rare thrill." Full Review


"Arthur, while claiming no emotions, wins over Anna's affection, asking numerous questions about her world with a naïve warmth...And even with Kazan's text leaning heavily on the human side, it's to Milioti's credit that she's never upstaged by this loveable piece of stagecraft...What began as another cautionary dystopian tale, cleverly draws the audience into a touching story of trying to find something real while surrounded by life's artificial sweeteners." Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"Almost every scene runs on too long, particularly in the first act. The play eventually just runs out of steam and ends rather abruptly which is a shame because it contains much of interest. The premise is fascinating, the cast is appealing...Director Lila Neugebauer, who seems to work best with ensembles, doesn’t seem at the top of her form here." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"Perhaps the most surprising and daring element of 'After the Blast' is how natural this all feels...The play occasionally veers into melodrama in the second act...Kazan also waits too long to introduce the concrete specifics of earth’s fallout...At other times, though, she ties together strands of plot with surgical precision." Full Review

Daily Beast

"The stage is so close and their expressions so visible that the excellent, very natural performances of Milioti and Jackson Harper feel intensely intimate...The play feels beached between a dark portrait of post-apocalyptic life and a relationship on thin ice, and a comedy about a cute robot entering the domestic realm. It settles, far from detrimentally, for being all of those things and at a time when the possibility of the end of the world feels disconcertingly present." Full Review

New York Daily News

“Director Lila Neugebauer’s production is sleekly designed — sets and clothes hit subtle futuristic notes — and skillfully acted. Milioti is particularly fine at capturing Anna’s intense feelings. But at 2 1/2 hours, the play loses momentum and the play becomes more pedestrian. Bottom line: Hot jobs post-apocalypse include scientist, doctor, marriage counselor.” Full Review

Stage Left

"I applaud the decision to include a robot as a major character in a stage play, but the execution of this bot’s design and locomotion is lackluster...The clunky design prevents an emotional connection to Arthur, robbing the play of the dramatic impact it could hold...Kazan has a good ear for dialogue and an impressive skill for creating a universe and doling out exposition, but much of the plot in this play is predictable...However, the performances are exquisite." Full Review

The New York Times

"This overlapping of our responses to a seductive bot is the most ingenious and instructive aspect of 'Blast.' Otherwise, Kazan’s new play, although immaculately mounted and fluently acted, seldom fully grabs our feelings or stirs our thoughts...Characters often seem to have little existence beyond their functions as avatars of a new social order. The relationship between Oliver and Anna never acquires the heat to make us feel anxious when it’s in jeopardy." Full Review


"Full of sensitive insights and glimmers of horror, this domestic drama still moves at the sluggish pace of a recluse who refuses to change out of her pj's...Undoubtedly, that robot is the thing everyone will remember about 'After the Blast'...Milioti and the robot have the most natural chemistry of anyone in the cast...Kazan's play contains echoes of earlier (and more fully realized) science fiction...Director Lila Neugebauer realistically creates this sunless world." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Sluggishly paced and needlessly attenuated, the drama squanders its provocative ideas through self-indulgence...'After the Blast' delivers an imaginative, understated portrait of a futuristic society...But the writing also feels flabby and unfocused...Director Neugebauer's listless staging doesn't help, making the evening feel even longer than it actually is. She has, however, elicited superb performances from the lead actors." Full Review

The Huffington Post

“The scripted head butting of cuteness and cuteless might appeal to some but not to others...It’s clear that Kazan is after the miscommunications that can accrue between two people who love each other trying to solve problems, but she doesn’t quite get there—even though Milioti and Harper and the five other supporting players, directed by the busy Lila Neugebauer are fine. That there’s only the slim hint of a premature resolution also doesn’t help.” Full Review

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining

See it if You are concerned with our planet/ Appreciate creative staging/ Are sensitive and open to “what if the worst happens” scenario

Don't see it if You get depressed easily- Do not want anything to do With a play that creates life After the nucular fallout-and Destroys our planet.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Great writing

See it if You like dystopian stories, you like shows that make you think

Don't see it if You only like fluff pieces

Clever, Delightful, Intelligent, Must see, Resonant

See it if you love Zoe Kazan or Cristin Milioti. Impactful climate fiction theatre where Her meets City of Ember.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a woman bond with a robot and reconcile environmental struggles with mental ones.

Also Brilliant discussion of environmental collapse, depression, and relati... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Must see, Great writing

See it if You're a fan of dystopian fiction. You like Black Mirror, Bradbury, or Asimov. You want to see some truly impressive world-building.

Don't see it if You can't sit through a 2.5 hour + intermission show - but the time really does fly by.

Also The combination of an excellent script, strong acting, and incredible ... Read more Read less

Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You like a sort of black mirroresque theater experience, that is very smart, funny, and a reaction to our political times.

Don't see it if You don't want to see a futuristic type play featuring a robot.

Funny, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Must see, Entertaining

See it if you can get a ticket - this is a great show with excellent acting and a lot of fun

Don't see it if This is a must see show for everyone

Riveting, Great writing

See it if Like plays

Don't see it if Don't like plays

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

See it if you enjoy actors with great chemistry, you like stories that are thought-provoking and relatable, and you appreciate very natural language.

Don't see it if you want an elaborate set or a huge cast, you don't enjoy a futuristic, dystopian environment, or if you don't like robots.

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if You want to see a post-apocalyptic drama with heart, brought to vivid life through fine acting, direction and staging.

Don't see it if You don't like future-set post-apocalyptic themed plays.

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if you want to see something unlike you have ever seen before.

Don't see it if see it!

Also I LOVED this play!!! I had no idea what to expect and I was completely... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Resonant

See it if You're interested in the author's interpretation of how our future could look. A fascinating character study, extraordinarily well-acted.

Don't see it if You want an action packed story line. It moves slowly and isn't short at 2.5 hours, but I really enjoyed a glimpse of their lives.

Also It should be said that Cristin Milioti is superb. She does many scenes... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant

See it if you like The Good Place or Zoe Kazan. You like dystopian fiction.

Don't see it if you don't like dystopian fiction

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you want an exceptional heartfelt take on humanity after the apocalypse; great worldbuilding; intricate relationships; + an ADORABLE robot.

Don't see it if you don't like emotional maturity, complexity, great acting and staging, and a beautiful, funny script (seriously just see it, it's SO GOOD)

Intelligent, Must see, Quirky, Resonant, Great staging

See it if You want an inventive, searing portrayal of existential questions and human bonds set in the future, underground.

Don't see it if you disdain science fiction narratives or can't suspend your disbelief.

Also A wonderful play that made me wish we saw more scifi on stage. There i... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Edgy, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if You want a thought provoking night of theater

Don't see it if You feel that a dystopian drama might seem a bit too real right now

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you like obviously modern shows, or shows about the possible future, or shows that resemble a sort of cleanliness of television.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a show about a dystopian future, you don't like shows with small casts, or you want something with more visual action.

Funny, Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Profound

See it if You're interested in future/dystopian stories; you want to see nuanced and affecting performances (even by non-humans)

Don't see it if You don't like robots? Only complaint was that it could have been trimmed down a little, but really enjoyed it.

Funny, Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Refreshing

See it if you are interested in very new-feeling theater. You like black mirror, the giver, ready player one, etc.

Don't see it if You don't like fantasy/the future. You don't care about stories about marriage or depression.

Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see excellent acting and great writing about post-nuclear human survival.

Don't see it if I honestly can't think of a reason not to see this!

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Refreshing, Relevant

See it if You want to see some fabulous acting and the cutest robot ever!

Don't see it if you don't want to confront the reality of what our potential dystopian future could be.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you want to see two excellent lead performances in a deeply touching and moving play about relationships, humanity, and mental health.

Don't see it if You shy away from darker subjects or you prefer larger more outlandish production values.

Delightful, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you like cute robot companions; great acting; contemplation of intimacy and fatality

Don't see it if you want an action packed book

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

See it if You want to see fantastic acting in an engaging story. Very interesting and thought provoking throughout.

Don't see it if You don’t want to see a depiction life after a nuclear holocaust.

Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Great cast

See it if You like the cast (Chidi from The Good Place is amazing but also the others). You like dystopian shows.

Don't see it if You are not interested in seeing shows about a possible upsetting future. You are triggered by stories dealing with fertility issues.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you are interested in futuristic drama. Very deep thinking and view into the possibilities of the future. Must enjoy drama. if you like 1984

Don't see it if you prefer light and fluffy shows. this show deals with topics that may be frightful for some.

Cast & Creatives (15)