New York | 1h 30m | Ends May 12

All Our Children

From 11 critic and 31 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Relevant

About the show

Stephen Unwin’s new play is set against a forgotten chapter of the Holocaust: the murder of disabled children and young people. More…

A terrible crime is taking place in a German clinic for disabled children. The perpetrators argue that it will help struggling parents and lift the financial burden on the mighty Third Reich. One brave voice is raised in objection. But will anyone listen?

The persecution, sterilization, and murder of hundreds of thousands of disabled people is one of the most overlooked chapters in the whole ghastly history of Nazi Germany. Between 1939 and 1945, it is estimated that well over 200,000 people with a wide range of disabilities were dismissed as Lebensunwertes Leben (‘lives unworthy of life’) and systematically killed in six converted psychiatric hospitals across Austria and Germany. Public opposition to the program was limited. The most striking intervention came from the Bishop of Münster, Clemens von Galen, who will be played by John Glover. 

Front Row Center

“Acted with care and vicious depth, I was glad I went to see ‘All Our Children’ witness the unfolding of this horrific story, and the love that rises up from it...The play reflects the fanaticism, the persecution of those not like us, that is happening right now in our own backyard. Horrifying to think we have the capacity for such hate and single-mindedness...This is not an easy play to watch as it will tear at your soul, but it is well, well worth the watch.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Manages to both impress, captivate, as well as entertain...Experienced playwright Stephen Unwin has smartly provided all of the characters with clear backgrounds and personal opinions which become clearly identified as the play progresses...Ethan McSweeny achieves remarkable results directing this production in the round. It creates a marvelous juxtaposition, a sense of both intimacy and appropriate uneasiness of the subject matter...This is an unflawed production in every way." Full Review


"In a concise 90-minutes Mr. Unwin’s masterful writing expertly blends exposition, documentary detail and drama...Director Ethan McSweeny's excellent work with the cast is matched by his accomplished physical staging on the four-sided playing area...'All Our Children' vividly dramatizes this chapter in history and subtly parallels the contemporary world scene with its depiction of a totalitarian mindset." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"Directed by Ethan McSweeny with a clear and steady hand, the tension grows and the sides are drawn, as truths are uncovered about the center and its mission, and the characters come to terms with their respective complicity and individual morals and conscience...A heartfelt tribute to the people who suffered and died, and to those who stood up, raised their voices, and bravely objected...'All Our Children' is a gripping reminder of the realities of the Holocaust." Full Review

The New York Times

“A powerfully performed production...Toward the end, ‘All Our Children’ loses its vital restraint and teeters into luridness, but until then it makes compelling, conventional drama. This is a play about the care that people, and nations, owe to the weakest among them. It is, at its core, about the sanctity of life. And while that may sound rooted in religion, the idea is far more basic.” Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

"Of the play’s various scenes — including the climactic one in which the Bishop of Münster, Clemens von Galen (powerful, pitch-perfect John Glover), confronts Dr. Franz — Lawrence's are the most nakedly and unreservedly emotional...It’s easy to understand why 'All Our Children,' which opened at Jermyn Street Theatre in London in 2017, has crossed to our shores. It’s timely and, at 90 minutes, written tautly." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"A drama that, unfortunately, is more valuable as a history lesson (…with contemporary relevance) than as consistently engrossing theater…As various horrendous facts are elicited, von Galen can do little but question the atheistic doctor's feelings, express his Christian empathy, note his disgust, and argue for the value of human life, all things that brook no dispute, regardless of one's religion. The result is a one-sided debate that, for all its implicit interest, barely catches emotive fi... Full Review

Reflections in the Light

"A glimpse at a little-known part of the Holocaust. Unwin includes all the various perspectives...The result is a thorough look at the situation...The script could use a rewrite. The first half hour drags and doesn't make clear what is happening...The topic of doctors making choices about who gets to live and die is relevant in the face of recent headlines." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

“Unwin’s modern-day morality play...It is Tasha Lawrence performance that is the heart and the soul of this piece...McSweeny's direction keeps the play moving, but it is really Savage’s set of piles of file cabinets that give us the clue of the numbers killed. I wished they had been used more. Unwin’s script brings our focus to this discrimination and persecution, but in my opinion not enough. I would have liked this play to tell me more.” Full Review

Off Off Online

"The play is well-staged and intermittently powerful, but overly schematic, as the characters too often feel like mouthpieces rather than fully realized individuals...A fundamental problem is is so one-sided that its emotional impact is stunted...’All Our Children’ captures the evil that can be done...and offers some riveting and chilling moments that are tempered, however, by issues laid bare instead of explored fully through character.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"It is careful, well thought out, and surprisingly false...Von Galen is a fascinating figure -- both heroic and morally blind -- and somebody ought to write a play about him. Here, he is a figure cut from good German cardboard. Ethan McSweeny's direction is efficient in terms of pace, but his handling of the actors is notably uneven...Ostensibly a disturbing, provocative drama, 'All Our Children' is a wooden, obvious piece of work." Full Review

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

See it if you want to see an outstanding play about one of the terrible atrocities of the Nazis: the murder of disabled children. Stellar acting!

Don't see it if you do not have the stomach to hear about these terrible atrocities against humanity. But: it is a reminder for today that all life counts!

Also This is an incredible play with outstanding acting which reminds us to... Read more Read less

Intense, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You’re interested in seeing a play that does deep into the human spirit. Investing the dark underbelly of our world

Don't see it if You want to see light and happy. Not for you

Riveting, Profound, Great writing, Great acting

See it if Broadway cast in highly compelling drama about a doctor at a clinic where children are being murdered during Nazi Germany. Raw emotions.

Don't see it if You're not in the mood for a 90 minute drama with superb acting. Highly watchable

Intense, Great staging, Great acting, Edgy, Absorbing

See it if Best use of "Theater in the Round" (my favorite) 5 great Actors with a slight edge to John Glover Lighting and set so good. ALSO

Don't see it if Not for the squeamish.

Also No poor viewing at all. Director Ethan McSWEENY deserves credit for th... Read more Read less

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

See it if you like fine acting and thought-provoking content

Don't see it if there is no reason NOT to see this.

Also Where was I in my high school history classes that I didn't learn that... Read more Read less

Discomfitting, Metaphorical, Great acting, Frighteningly intimate, Top notch

See it if superb acting & production values, ideas explored & listening are your areas of theatre interest, intimate staging that you can't avoid, GO!

Don't see it if you're a fan of fascism, don't like listening or theatre itself, define entertainment as not questioning or making U feel uncomfortable

Also Like Miller's "The Crucible", 'All Our Children" spotlights a current ... Read more Read less

Must see, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like to understand history from the human and moral point of view

Don't see it if if you like light plays and dont like to leave a theater with a somber feeling

Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if seeing a well-developed drama about an ugly part of history is of interest to you.

Don't see it if you tend to disavow man's inhumanity to man and therefore care not to see it in a play.

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

See it if You are a student of history and good drama.

Don't see it if You have no compassion. There is heartbreak here.

Well acted, Frighteningly timely, Powerful

See it if you want to see a powerful drama that is tightly written and staged.

Don't see it if you prefer to avoid theater portraying man's inhumanity to man - even if the portrayal is done very well.

Also A portrayal of The Holocaust, or any holocaust, reminds us of how frag... Read more Read less

Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You’re interested in WWII history, ethical issues, good acting.

Don't see it if You’re looking for entertainment

Slow, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if What the Nazis did to the children of Germany that did not fit in their plan.

Don't see it if subject is not a happy one.

Also You see a mother love no matter what for her son, bought tear to my ey... Read more Read less

Riveting, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You’re interested in a play that deals with man’s inhumanity to man this time the handicapped in a Nazi framework. Very intense!

Don't see it if You’re looking for light entertainment.

Intense, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if The level of the acting, writing and historical depiction is transcendent in its subject matter. Truly devastating in scope.

Don't see it if you are living in moral twilight and unconcerned what is going on in the world today.

Exceptional acting, well paced

See it if Serious drama and history are the reason you go to the theater.

Don't see it if You think the past is irrelevant. You only like happy endings.

Masterful, Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You are interested in history, the topic of Holocaust and the moral struggle between what makes sense logically and what's right morally.

Don't see it if If you don't like immersive, intimate plays that deal with heavy, difficult topics.

Intense, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You like seeing actors give it their all -dark drama

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with things related to Nazi Germany

Thought-provoking, Riveting, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if you like historically based drama. Very well acted and directed. Worth seeing

Don't see it if you don't like thought provoking drama.

Relevant, Profound, Absorbing, Riveting, Thought-provoking

See it if you like character-driven historical dramas

Don't see it if you are triggered by genocide, Nazis or Catholicism

Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You want to be challenges with the idea what makes a life important, you want to see some great performances up close.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with Nazi or religious themes, or very intimate in the round settings.

Historical, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Relevant

See it if You have an interest in a little-known chapter in the Nazi history and/or interest in human drama that feels relevant in today’s world.

Don't see it if You are looking for a light comedy or a large production. This is an intimate production well done with strong performances by talented cast

Also A well done and well acted (especially by John Glover) drama about the... Read more Read less

Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if Reminder that people can still be decent despite rich incentives to be otherwise. I admit, this never gets old. Spiritually nourishing.

Don't see it if want a crafty/edgy/slick show; uninterested in others affected by the quest for Aryan supremacy; bothered that script barely mentions Jews.

Also I usually associate McSweeny with classical theater so this was sort o... Read more Read less

Sad, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You appreciate great performances in theater, amazing work by the actors! You like plays based on history, specifically holocaust

Don't see it if You want to see something happy. This is a sad show, thought provoking and well done but no happy endings here.

Well done. good actors good story.

See it if You like a serious subject done well.

Don't see it if You don’t want to watch a play about an upsetting story.

Intelligent, Slow, Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if you want to see earnest, overall effective performances in a serious play. It is small scale, in a tiny theatre, but generally works.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a show about the Holocaust. Sometimes the script doesn't completely make sense. But the cast does their best.

Cast & Creatives (3)