Apologia NYC Reviews and Tickets

77%
(229 Reviews)
Positive
78%
Mixed
19%
Negative
3%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Intense

About the Show

Direct from London, this new, biting play makes its New York debut with Stockard Channing as a woman facing the repercussions of her past.

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Member Reviews (229)

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89
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You like wordy character driven plot lines with lots of long monologues delivered by exceptional actors.

Don't see it if You’re looking for lots of action or a story that wraps everything up in a tidy little way for you at the end. This one makes you think.

66
Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Slow

See it if If you want a show that is slow, unmeaning full and banal. A badly directed play.

Don't see it if If you don't like a well written, consistent play that is poorly directed.

Critic Reviews (29)

The New York Times
October 16th, 2018

“Ms. Channing's performance in 'Apologia'...goes some distance in disguising the labored exposition of a work that never quite achieves a natural flow or moves you as much as it should...The layers of Channing’s interpretation, with its core of lacerating anguish, are more intriguing than the plot that builds to an anticlimactic reveal...The dialogue only rarely feels organic...But it is Ms. Channing’s complex, contradictory Kristin who keeps us thinking long after the play is over”
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Time Out New York
October 17th, 2018

"Channing manages to make a compellingly conflicted figure, but the play doesn’t give her a lot to work with. It creaks with contrivances and clunky, expositional dialogue...Aukin doesn’t seem to know how to handle the play’s schlock factor...The play means to examine the costs paid by women who open their own doors...But it’s not grounded deeply enough in reality to tell us much about those women—except to remind us of the pleasure we still seem to take in making them cry.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
October 16th, 2018

“With plays like ‘Apologia’, the temptation is to get into the weeds, enumerating every little thing about them that feels inauthentic, manipulative, half-baked, or clichéd — when in fact all those things are just cracks in the plaster. The thing is foundationally unsound. Its very premise betrays a kind of smug cluelessness. It’s less a drama of ideas than it is a collection of cheap, self-satisfied notions, in which several talented actors are being asked to invest their time."
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The Hollywood Reporter
October 16th, 2018

“Aukin has put together an elegant production with a uniformly fine cast, and the writing is laced with poignant Chekhovian shadings. But thematically, we've been down this road many times before, with more penetrating insights...Miller is a juicy role for the inimitably acerbic Channing. Or she would be if the complex character hadn't been shortchanged by the playwright...The writing makes it tough to care about her...This 10-year-old play still needs work.”
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The Observer
October 17th, 2018

“Dominated by Channing’s tremendous energy and well-acted by a gifted supporting cast, but directed with a somewhat uneasy focus...the play is ultimately about a woman with ideas, opinions and insights who established her independence before it was fashionable—and the high personal price she paid for doing so. The toll celebrity has taken on Kristin, who chose success in a male-dominated society over the needs of her own children, has a relevance today that stings.”
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Deadline
October 16th, 2018

“'Apologia' could use some bolstering...Channing is a fascination, even when she seems a bit out of step with the production’s staccato rhythms. Dancy plays identical blood relations...and gets away with it as much as anyone can in the gimmicky situation. If the doublemint ruse in ‘Apologia’ feels less than satisfying, it’s perhaps to do with a dinner party where one serving of mom-blame would have been plenty. Two feels a bit of a gorge.”
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Theatermania
October 16th, 2018

“Channing gives a powerful performance...Unfortunately, ‘Apologia’ doesn't reveal enough of its characters' lives for us to be invested...Aukin tries to ignite Campbell's sometimes stilted dialogue...but the action never really gets above a smolder...In the end, ‘Apologia’ has some tasty morsels to offer about the need to forgive ourselves rather than coming up with arguments to justify our shortcomings, but the play never gets warm enough to cook up a satisfying meal.”
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Lighting & Sound America
October 24th, 2018

“The disastrous first-act meal scene is slickly written; the dialogue is loaded with amusing barbs...But there's something a little calculated and mechanical about it, a sense that a series of opposing temperaments have been pitted too obviously against...But the cast, under Aukin's brisk, often acute direction, offers solid support...’Apologia’ sometimes seems assembled -- admittedly cleverly -- out of a kit of devices, but Kristin, especially in Channing's hands, is the real thing.”
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Talkin' Broadway
October 16th, 2018

"Let us heap accolades upon Stockard Channing, who finds a pulse and thrillingly breathes life into Alexi Kaye Campbell's 'Apologia,' a somewhat squishy play...While there is no getting around the weaknesses in the play's thin plot and characterizations, what a showcase ‘Apologia’ is for Channing, who gives as textured and layered a performance as you are likely to see for a very long time.”
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New York Stage Review
October 16th, 2018

“’Apologia’ is very much The Stockard Channing Show...Campbell seems so intent on creating a monster mother that there is no glimmer of an alternate view...All we can do is sit back and enjoy Stockard’s monstrous machinations...Stockard is razor-sharp and immensely entertaining...Let her plant her teeth in a juicy role, and she is likely to wipe away any complaints about dramatic flaws...She is ably supported by a cast of five...The play is not nearly up to the star.”
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New York Stage Review
October 16th, 2018

“As if we needed another reminder that women can’t have it all, along comes Alexi Kaye Campbell’s supremely frustrating family drama 'Apologia'...You’ll be tempted to sympathize with Kristin, but, my goodness, Campbell doesn’t make it easy...Kristin never gets a chance to really tell her story. She gives Peter what passes for an explanation.”
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TheaterScene.net
October 23rd, 2018

"'Apologia' must be seen for Stockard Channing's impressive and multilayered performance. But the stalwart actress, at the peak of her form, is far from the only reason for seeing this new, richly resonant play by Alexi Kaye Campbell, which first played in London last year."
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Theater Pizzazz
October 16th, 2018

"In Campbell's 'Apologia,' Stockard Channing reminds us how much we've missed witnessing her onstage since her last outing. Better still, that feeling never leaves us during our two-and-a-quarter hours at the Laura Pels. The arched eyebrow, the razor-sharp, martini-dry delivery of a barb, the barely concealed hurt traveling across her face, the deep emotional connection to a character: all of these qualities come to the fore in Channing's superb portrayal of Kristin Miller."
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CurtainUp
October 16th, 2018

“While we've certainly had our share of dysfunctional family dramas another London production gained traction...And it's that rather too neat and talky merger of political and family drama that's now in its NY premiere...Channing, who does imperious women with a streak of vulnerability extremely well, plays the feisty Miller...Though Channing unquestionably has the hostess with the mostest star power, the actors playing the five other party guests do excellent work.”
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Front Row Center
October 19th, 2018

"Stockard Channing. That’s why 'Apologia' is currently running here in the US, having just got off the boat from London’s West End. It’s a vehicle to showcase her talents, to show the world that at 74 (go girl!) she’s very viable as a person, as a woman, as an actress, as an artist, possessing depth, appeal, strength and power. She’s why I signed up to review. I’m glad I did."
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Front Mezz Junkies
October 22nd, 2018

“The clash between a mother’s duty and a woman’s passion and intellect is what is on that table...The battle for a better world is what matters to Kristin, and as portrayed by the always fierce and determined Channing, with rebuttal by the wonderfully diverse Darcy, the heart-wrenching exploration slams hard, shattering glass and thrusting the shards deep into everyone’s skin. The last few moments might not be the strongest residual, but the verdict is decidedly clear.”
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Exeunt Magazine
October 21st, 2018

"The play sets up a flimsy dichotomy between professional success and personal fulfillment...Though less than a decade old, 'Apologia' feels surprisingly dated and retrograde in its gender politics and its reliance on the trope of a distant, career-driven mother as a catch-all bogeyman...It’s a credit to Channing’s talent that she keeps Kristin from becoming the harridan the writing virtually demands...Channing keeps the audience squarely in her corner."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
October 20th, 2018

"Mildly entertaining if unexceptionally conventional…Primarily attractive for its memorable portrait (and Channing's performance) of Kristin…Structured around character revelations rather than plotting. Some of it seems familiar from other plays (especially the Seagull-like scene between Simon and Kristin as she tends to his hand), and not a little comes off as phony and cliched…It's never boring, has some worthwhile moments, and, when you get right down to it, Stockard Channing."
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DC Theatre Scene
October 16th, 2018

“In ‘Apologia’, the well-acted, finely directed...play, Channing portrays Kristin Miller, a long-time activist, American expatriate and noted art historian...Is Kristin’s idealism defensible; what are the personal costs of public idealism? That is a question that the playwright in effect asks in 'Apologia,' but in many ways it’s the least interesting aspect of his witty and engaging play...The contrast between past idealism and present-day reality is a well-trod subject on stage."
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Gotham Playgoer
November 18th, 2018

“If you are a Stockard Channing fan like me, you will enjoy this play...No one plays a smart, sharp-tongued woman of a certain age better than Channing...As a showcase for Channing’s prodigious talents, the play succeeds. If, however, you start to look at things too closely, there are many flaws...Channing in action definitely outweighs all these shortcomings for me. The other actors are fine as well...Aukin’s direction is unfussy.”
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
October 19th, 2018

“Family and personal issues are at the root of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s perceptive play...The problems encountered are expertly spotlighted by the fine cast...The direction by Daniel Aukin builds tension with cumulative effect...’Apologia’, for all of the humor it contains along with the outbursts, is a sad play marked by the impressive acting of a well-chosen cast, but it is Channing’s skillfully modulated performance that is especially affecting.”
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T
October 26th, 2018

"The template is a familiar one: a disconnected family reunites around a dinner table...Quieter confrontations, further revelations, and soul-searching occur after intermission with an ambiguous resolution for the final curtain...The characters are too predictable...Campell’s wry script and Daniel Aukin’s tidy production offer many pleasures such as tight, well-paced staging and crackling dialogue...But there are too many loopholes and cliches."
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Stage Left
October 22nd, 2018

"Channing smolders and terrifies in this moody, atmospheric production directed with haunting élan by Daniel Aukin. Overpowering Mr. Campbell’s sparring dialogue, though, are the stunning tableaus...The play doesn’t quite make the grander statement it purports to...Campbell paradoxically doubles down on a sexist trope, inviting the audience to judge Kristin’s parenting, or lack thereof...Channing does make a chilling and lasting impact in her performance.”
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Towleroad
October 18th, 2018

“An art historian played with cunning grace by Stockard Channing...Her defense of the Gothic artist...distills the insightful thrust of Campbell’s elegant and deceptively simple play. Everyone has their own concept of value...It’s different for every character on stage as it is for each member of the audience. Our individual conceptions of value reflexively dictate how we measure our own — drama is born in the discrepancies."
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City Cabaret
November 13th, 2018

“Channing becomes the focal point...And here she makes the most of her signature dry delivery...Even if the material she is given is not always worthy, Channing's depth and appeal gives it gravitas. 'Apologia' is basically a family drama, insightful but rambling and talky, yet it still has Channing to captivate the viewer plus a winning supporting cast...A play of self-explanations, complaints, provocations and no real conversation but plenty of spiked comments."
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T
November 11th, 2018

“Successful art historian and proud humanist Kristin makes no apologies for the choices she’s made...Channing is passionate and unrelenting as Kristin...She manages to keep the selfish, smug, and snarky writer from becoming too villainous or a mere relic from a different time...Dancy excels as both sons...Tillinger does his best with Hugh, a thankless part that merely serves as comic relief...Aukin guides the actors through some familiar, clichéd territory that is too straightforward.”
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O
October 20th, 2018

"In Kristin, Stockard Channing has found a role in which she can fascinate us with the complexities in the character who is the center of the play...Gripping and seasoned with surprise. There is some awkward exposition; and some of 'Apologia’'s conflicts involve incidents that should have been dealt with long before this cathartic celebration; but nevertheless we are intrigued...A powerful play, one in which ugly truths are confronted, and consequences are paid."
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StageZine
October 18th, 2018

“Channing is a force of nature to be reckoned with. Even when the material is sub-par and not to her level of expertise, she still captivates you. There are very few stage actresses left of Channing’s caliber who can dazzle you from the first moment to last...Unfortunately, Aukin doesn’t do much for the proceedings; he just lets the scenes ramble by themselves...You are left with an unfulfilling drama, and stock characters that are not fully developed."
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SusanGranger.com
October 23rd, 2018

"So – at this festive gathering, filled with crackling confrontations – is there a chance for a reconciliation? A solid emotional payoff? Not much...While director Daniel Aukin has imported most of London’s West End cast and (director) John Tiillinger returns to the stage as an actor, the focus is clearly on sharp-tongued, yet acutely vulnerable Stockard Channing, whose provocateur performance is riveting."
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