After their father’s death, two unhinged siblings reunite with Amy, their movie-loving sister who has Down syndrome. Hop in, buckle up, and hold on for dear life in this raucous family road trip. More…
Together, they careen down the Great American Long Island Expressway, navigating strip malls, traffic jams and some serious (and not-so-serious) family drama. An unexpected turn reveals the moment that changed their lives…and the fact that Amy may be the only one who knows her own mind. Written by Lindsey Ferrentino, who made her New York debut at Roundabout with the world premiere of 'Ugly Lies the Bone,' and directed by Scott Ellis ('The Elephant Man,' 'She Loves Me'), 'Amy and the Orphans' is a rollicking ride that proves it’s never too late to follow a new road.
"This show is a perfect collaboration of casting, script, and directing...Ferrentino’s writing reflects reality; we cannot be sure about the resolution of Amy’s painful past and we will have to live with it...My favorite kind of theatre. Something awful happens and somehow the characters find strength to reach out to one another and the courage to find joy again. The house fills with laughter over and over and we walk out feeling a little better. Truly lovely." Full Review
"Lindsey Ferrentino has written an extraordinary play about an ordinary American family. It packs all the elements of a Greek tragedy into just ninety minutes...Besides the very apt casting of Brewer and the terrific Monk and Blum in the leading roles, this tragicomedy is smartly structured...Amy's story will, like one of those ear-hugging tunes in a musical, stay with you long after you leave the theater." Full Review
"A smart and perceptive blend of a laugh-out-loud 'road trip' comedy and a serious examination of the well-intentioned but faulty and potentially harmful assumptions we make about individuals with disabilities...Entertaining, provocative, wonderfully acted play, which has been masterfully directed by Scott Ellis. It is a deeply layered work that provides a sobering lesson on how we as a society have too often failed to provide for the needs of individuals with disabilities." Full Review
"The play was terrific, very funny and sad and real, with sibling squabbles, shorthand and miscommunication. The acting was fantastic, all across the board, with a special shoutout to Jamie Brewer. She also has Down syndrome, and she is simply spectacular. She gives Amy such heart and humor, with a twinge of pain underneath...You can see a lifetime of being taken for granted in her performance, with no self-pity, and she is wonderful...Monk and Blum are just so effortlessly real." Full Review
"So loaded with stellar performances that it might be a little while before you notice what a cunning trap the playwright, Ferrentino, has laid...What this young couple has to do with Amy and her orphaned siblings is not clear for a long time...It raises new questions about their characters and their view of their collective past...A rather raucous, wisecracking comedy is turned into the poignant account of one family's unraveling...She is a writer with many more surprises in store." Full Review
"Alternately hilarious, heartbreaking and admittedly autobiographical dysfunctional family dramedy 'Amy and the Orphans,' now being given a sterling production under Scott Ellis’ expert direction...Ferrentino’s decision to end the show with both a bravura breaking-the-fourth wall speech for Brewer, followed by a misguided flashback, are both slight missteps in my opinion, but they do little to diminish one of the most sure-footed and crowd-pleasing plays in quite a long time." Full Review
"Monk and Blum mesh so well in their flamboyant display of Maggie and Jacob’s many shared neuroses that you can almost overlook Ferrentino’s easy laugh lines...Brewer grabs our interest by never begging for our sympathy. And Ferrentino achieves something equally remarkable. She has written a play about abuse in which there are only survivors and no obvious villains." Full Review
"Tightly focused and moving. Ferrentino’s darkly funny family drama centers on three siblings, each with coping issues...Amy is played by Brewer who also has Down’s Syndrome. She delivers an insightful and assured performance...Monk and Blum capture Jake and Maggie’s yearning resentment and need to be loved. Aspillaga is a fiery cannonball as the opinionated Kathy...Ellis’ direction skillfully balances Ferrentino’s bleak humor and compassionate pathos." Full Review
"Funny and thoughtful comedy-drama...The writer is savvy about building her characters. She cunningly inserts little traits shared by the parents and their offspring that credibly dovetail to touching effect...Smoothly paced by Scott Ellis...'Amy and the Orphans' proves to be an endearing new play that wisely reminds us of that all-important dictum: to treat others with as much respect and consideration as we’d like ourselves to be treated." Full Review
"Jacob and Maggie are forced to reckon with the mistakes of their parents, and Ferrentino gives the audience a leg up on that understanding through flashbacks to their mother and father at a couples-therapy retreat. These scenes carry the bulk of the play’s dramatic weight; otherwise, 'Amy' is slim...The main attraction is Brewer’s presence. It’s not just a gimmick; it’s the point of the play, a statement for visibility. The casting is the message, and Brewer makes it effective." Full Review
"Attempts a delicate balancing act in its audacious blending of pathos and humor. It sometimes falls off its high wire, veering too heavily into sitcom-style characterizations and one-liners. But the consistently powerful beating heart in the writing makes it easy to overlook its tonal inconsistency...Granted, there are times when the play's humor feels a bit too broad, lessening the effect of the dramatic elements...But these are minor quibbles with a play that boasts a rich, aching humanity." Full Review
"The nature of the topic makes it all the more surprising that the play is basically a comedy with serious overtones...I thought the scenes between Sarah and Bobby struck the best balance between humor and pathos...A lot rests on the title character. At my performance, that was Andy and Edward Barbanell played him superbly...Even though I had reservations about its flaws while watching it, I surrendered and allowed it to both entertain and move me." Full Review
"Carefully and skillfully penned by Ferrentino...A brave undertaking which reveals the fragile, yet selfish and broken elements of the human condition...The excellent cast delivers remarkable performances...The characters may seem too broad or stereotypical, but this is merely the armor they wear to protect from the slings and arrows of the truth...Not a perfectly scripted play but is able to use humor to provide a powerful and potent message." Full Review
"I would love to see a documentary about the history behind this play’s inspiration and creation as it might be more captivating than the play itself. It’s not a bad play, but it does need some structural refining work and a big shovel to dig a bit deeper into this fascinating terrain...Although the play as a whole is flawed and doesn’t dig deep enough into that box of familial memories laced with shame and guilt, the actress...shows us all the magnificence she is capable of." Full Review
"In presenting persons with Down syndrome and how their families deal with them, Lindsey Ferrentino's 'Amy and the Orphans' puts on stage a topic usually avoided by our theater. While the initial comic, vaudeville type scenes belie the serious intent of the play, it eventually packs quite a wallop as it gets to its real message: Down syndrome individuals are capable of being independent and productive members of society if they are given care and education in their formative years." Full Review
"This many times hilarious comedy moves in many directions...This production, lovingly and comically directed by Scott Ellis, verges on the edge of sitcom quality, one-liners heavily relied upon and most times brilliantly executed by the older sibling orphans...There are surprises aplenty, albeit you have to allow for many unrealistic situations during the 90 minutes, but you’ll leave the theater feeling you’ve witnessed a really worthwhile production." Full Review
"Insightful but uneven new play...Ms. Brewer’s presence lends a compelling center of gravity...The problem is much of what surrounds her...Despite eager performances from Mr. Blum and Ms. Monk, their characters feel cut from shiny, synthetic cloth...Wisely, Ms. Ferrentino allows Amy to have the last word in a monologue...While you’ve probably heard most of these words before, it’s unlikely they’ve ever had the defiant, heartbroken resonance they acquire here." Full Review
"Quotes some of the well-worn formulas of several comedy genres, but it doesn't make them fresh...The play has so many one-liners - some of which are funny, all of which fit a familiar Borscht Belt sitcom rhythm...Beneath the slick surface of 'Amy and the Orphans,' though, lies the same admirable impulse to make us see people normally rendered invisible, and disarm our uninformed assumptions about them in the process." Full Review
"The production is stylish and well-acted...Ferretino is a skilled playwright. She carefully weaves the details about each character into each part of the play...But she apparently wants to win her audience with humor more than she appears to want to inform or challenge them. There are certainly worse things than an entertaining 90 minutes, but there was so much more potential in this subject matter." Full Review
"There’s much to admire about Lindsey Ferrentino’s new play 'Amy and the Orphans' — and just as many nagging issues. Pluses include its big heart and fine-tuned ensemble...On the surface, the play is jammed with laughs and comic relief. But ugly truths lurk underneath. But not all of the jokes or dramatic revelations convince." Full Review
"Brewer is completely moving, impressively talented, and takes your heart in her hands...This play is actually hard to review because the material really needs to be fleshed out and it is not...Ferrentino has something here, it’s just not complete. Scott Ellis' direction does not help with keeping this play on track. Everything here just feels like it’s skimming the surface and is not truthful." Full Review
"The two timelines end up giving short shrift to both stories, and the parents, especially, are painted with such broad and one-dimensional strokes...The ending blares from the get-go like car horn in traffic on the Long Island Expressway. That said, Ms. Brewer, Mr. Blum, and Ms. Monk each give excellent performances...Ellis keeps the action moving at a good pace...Stunted and static in character and plot development. I sense the playwright is too close to the material." Full Review
"A lot doesn't add up...Blum and Monk, are sitcom-sized nervous wrecks, with trying-too-hard neuroses...The play has heart, and great performances, but it's trying too hard and veers from genuinely funny to comedy that misses its target to heartfelt confrontations that don't always feel legitimate-or moving. Is it a comedy? A family drama? A character-driven road trip? All three, and not quite anything. It just doesn't add up." Full Review
"Ferrentino pads out the plot by a variety of desperate comic strategies…Jacob and Maggie are written and played as farcically obnoxious New York Jews…They lack the credible humanity required for us to see them as flawed humans…The only thing worthwhile in this uncomfortable enterprise is the presence of Brewer, someone who actually has Down Syndrome…She carries it off with spunk and bravado, giving the production its most endearing and human performance." Full Review
"Almost everything about the production, directed by Scott Ellis with as many zigzags as a car that missed the exit, feels disappointingly inauthentic...We've seen this story since time immemorial, and considering how deep 'Amy and the Orphans' has the potential to be, her willingness to take the easy route is particularly disappointing. There's a much more stimulating play in here...It's not a total loss, though. There are two actors that keep us — and the play — going." Full Review
See it if you are interested in a show about a family, that celebrates those that are differently abled. Family dynamics and Down syndrome.
Don't see it if See it. It’s a powerful story about family and disability.,
See it if You want to see great acting, relevant play, bittersweet theme, talented actors with a disability. A play that you can relate to.
Don't see it if you don't want to cry and if you can't handle seeing an actor with a disability included in challenging role.
See it if You like a touching story that moves you a deeper understanding of the difficulties family's face together.
Don't see it if You are heartless and pride yourself on never shedding a tear.
See it if you want to see "normal sized" people on stage, an amazing actress/character with down syndrome, beautiful and human play.
Don't see it if you for some weird reason don't like Lindsey Ferrentino's plays. She's the best young playwright around.
See it if you're into 90 minute plays with no intermission and a message about the special needs community that has been ignored.
Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with a lot of cursing and stereotyping.
See it if You want to see a character with Down syndrome played by a fab actor with Down syndrome for a fascinating, funny, heartwarming show.
Don't see it if Everyone should see this.
See it if you enjoy smaller shows with a big impact, that touch on major issues and family dysfunction.
Don't see it if the idea of examining sensitive material and societal topics does not sound like your cup of tea.
Also The acting is phenomenal, especially breakout star Jamie Brewer!
See it if Want to see a play about a family including a Down Syndrome member. Edward Barbanell played the title role and he was magnificent.
Don't see it if like musical theater and not drama.
See it if you want to be enchanted by characters you care about, interesting and moving story and outrageously funny
Don't see it if you're looking for a lot of fluff and mindless entertainment.
See it if you enjoy shows that explore family relationships, especially difficult ones or if you want to see some light shed on Down syndrome
Don't see it if you like only light-hearted material or do not enjoy plays about people with disabilities
See it if you enjoy a talk about disabilities from someone who has them live on stage. Note, this play is not REALLY true to the synopses.
Don't see it if and more about the Trisomy 21 than the death of parents. don't see it if you aren't into this sort of play.
See it if You want to spend an evening absorbed by a familial and societal issue dealing with better understanding and accepting individuals who are
Don't see it if You’re expecting a teary-eyed drama.
See it if you like wonderful acting and staging and a serious subject treated with humor and pathos. Be prepared to laugh and cry
Don't see it if you are not able to handle difficult issues around Down's Syndrome people, but you will miss an acting treat.
See it if You want a well-written, realistic family drama that goes beyond the cliches. You want a look at the treatment of people w/Downs Syndrome.
Don't see it if You dislike family dramas. You prefer a 100% comedy or drama.
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