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Bernie and Mikey's Trip to the Moon

From 9 critic and 51 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

About the show

This world premiere is a heart-wrenching comedy about one family's coming of age, as they reckon with what they're willing to sacrifice to protect one another—and what they won't. More…

Bernie and Mikey are perched on the edge of adulthood—a sister and brother trapped between the lives they crave and the circumstances they were born into. The children of a working class Italian family in 1990s Chicago, Mikey is torn between unrealized potential and loyalty to his sister, while Bernie, living with a cognitive disability, longs to find her voice but faces a world unwilling to listen.


"The production enjoys outstanding direction by Claire Karpen and a top-notch cast that brings Aiello's finely written story to life...These talented thespians are so authentic in their roles, you will think you are watching the scenes unfold in real time...'Bernie and Mikey's Trip to the Moon' is an inspirational human journey that is ideal for the holiday season." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"A highly nuanced look at the ways caring for a severely disabled family member impacts one working-class household...An intense and often hilarious family drama. Zingers fly as the scene shifts between the family’s home and Mike’s bar...Perfectly staged and emotionally complex, the story, however familiar, rings true...What’s more, the story's framing makes it easy to empathize with each character’s exhaustion, terror, and frustration." Full Review

Front Row Center

"A heartfelt piece about family, love, and how we take care of each other...The true strength of the story is in the relationship between brother Mikey and his sister, Bernie, and the story’s main journey towards Mikey’s realization that while he’d been trying to take care of his sister, he was the one who was relying on her care all along...I think Aiello’s characters are each crafted with love and invite the audience to fall in love with the Vincolo family." Full Review

Manhattan With a Twist

"'Bernie and Mikey’s Trip to the Moon' reminds us of the importance of letting actors with disabilities play disabled characters. Having Stephanie Gould play Bernie and Benjamin Rosloff (an actor on the autism spectrum) play Jeff, Bernie’s persistent suitor, leaves no room for caricature or stereotypes. The play, from the writing to the direction to the performances, treats people with disabilities respectfully without preaching from a pulpit...Important and moving show." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"A conventional, occasionally heartwarming, but sometimes unconvincing, kitchen-sink dramedy…'Bernie and Mikey' is not quite sure of how to focus its scattered moonbeams...Reminds us of the plethora of plays about people with cognitive or physical disabilities whose conditions create emotional and ethical dilemmas...'Bernie and Mikey's Trip to the Moon' is no 'Moonstruck' but it may shed just enough moonglow to light up your heart." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Scott Aiello’s play tells the story of an inadvertent step forward for Bernie triggering a purposeful one for Mikey. Writing is good, touching without being maudlin and periodically very original...Director Claire Karpen has so much feel for the world of her autistic characters, it’s easy to conjecture she’s reflecting personal experience. Kitchen sink directness brings the Vincolo family into fine focus." Full Review


"On paper, the dialogue between the characters of this play's American-Italian family is sometimes two-dimensional and prone to stereotype, but Claire Karpen's evocative direction, combined with the actors' superlative efforts to flesh out their characters produces a well-formed story filled with sincerity, love and earnestness. The play is at its best telling the overarching tale, carefully doling out exposition, not answering every question asked and not attempting to plumb every plot line." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"'Bernie and Mikey's Trip to the Moon' suffers from organizational problems. As Mikey's narrative comes to the fore, it leaves dangling...questions...Most of the time, however, the playwright doesn't pull his punches, especially in a sequence that makes clear how close to disaster the Vincolos reside. And he writes plenty of juicy scenes for his solid cast...Overall, Claire Karpen's smart, sensible direction keeps the action from straying into mawkishness or melodrama." Full Review

The New York Times

“Karpen’s production stays true to the play’s traditional approach. The cast eschews actorly fireworks...The writing is unshowy at best, but can veer into awkwardness...there is a thin line between classic and passé. More of a problem is that the show is content to flit from setback to crisis without dwelling on any of them...Still, ‘Bernie and Mikey’s Trip to the Moon’ does elicit good will, if nothing else for its stubborn refusal to follow theatrical fashion." Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if A touchy story about a family with a child with disabilities, that brings to light the sacrifices and the constant struggle to make

Don't see it if do not like play about children with disabilities

Also the child “happy.” It is an uplifting story that left me sad and happy... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Must see

See it if a well-acted, heart-warming comedy-drama about a family with a mentally challenged grown daughter, and how it strains the relationships,

Don't see it if if you are offended by lots of profanity, can't sit through a 2-hr show, want a very uplifting show with no stressful situations

Also This is a great show, showing how a family with a mentally challenged ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Amazing acting

See it if you are interested in a show about the daily joy and struggles of a family with an adult special needs daughter. Amazing acting all around!

Don't see it if you don't like shows about serious subjects or are not willing to listen to a lot of 4 letter words.

Also We have a special needs grandson and loved the show very much! It show... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Must see

See it if like family dramas with great acting that deals with real life problems, love, commitment, choices, etc.

Don't see it if you are not into heartfelt drama with great humor interspersed.

A trip worth taking.

See it if you like well-written, character-driven comedy-dramas.

Don't see it if you prefer a little more plot with your plays.

Also A comedy-drama about a blue-collar Chicago couple and their two kids--... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you would like to see a well written and well acted play about a real life issue. You enjoy intelligent humor

Don't see it if Do don't want to see a play about a serious issue. You don't want to hear profanity

Great acting, Touching, Absorbing

See it if you would enjoy a lively, touching yet humorous view of a family dealing with a cognitively impaired adult child.

Don't see it if you are not prepared to empathize with the limitations of such an adult child and the demands it places on a family

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

See it if Raw emotion throughout portrays a family dealing with a handicapped child who effects each member’s life’s journey in profound ways,

Don't see it if You find the issues of a struggling family with a handicapped child disturbing. Lots of profanity could make some uncomfortable.

Also Especially the sibling. The play deals with real issues facing the fam... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Resonant, Must see, Absorbing

See it if U like wonderful writing & performances. Deeply moving, funny true slice of life. Loved actors with disabilities playing disabled characters

Don't see it if You like fluffy comedies and fast moving plots.

Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense

See it if You like plays dealing with complex human issues. You like to be moved at the theatre. You want to see fine acting.

Don't see it if You object to four letter words. You don't like plays dealing with serious issues

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if The plot was absorbing and the acting was excellent. Very real. Felt like you were there. Music was a big hit!!!

Don't see it if You do not enjoy real drama or old music.

Great acting, Must see, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You like good drama about people with disabilities who are coming of age.

Don't see it if You like comedies.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Heartbreaking, Absorbing

See it if you want to see totally naturalistic acting depicting a touching, difficult situation. Ben Rosloff stands out in his debut.

Don't see it if you want something light, although there IS humor in the play. It is definitely entertaining.

Also This play brought to mind Amy and The Orphans which played at Roundabo... Read more Read less

Entertaining / highly-recommended, Very intimate theater / small stage (very clever set), Moving / palpable / thought-provoking / f-bomb fest, Well-written / humorous / intense (quite loud & raw), Strong cohesive fearless committed ensemble-cast

See it if you'd enjoy a lite-hearted AND intense glimpse into a Chicago family's struggles w/special-needs adult child, & how it affects all involved.

Don't see it if you don't like raw family dramas. There's a lot of over-the-top shouting, but a lot of very caring palpable love & physical comfort as well.

Also Bernie & Mikey's close bond is very moving.... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if the topic of inter-personal/familial relationships involving a person(s) with impairment interests you.

Don't see it if you are put off by or disinterested in how impairment affects the individual and the family.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you are sympathetic to families dealing with a child with different abilities.

Don't see it if You are prejudiced against special children.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Touching

See it if want to see a well-done, touching show about the relationships of a Chicago family with a daughter who has special needs.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with depictions of people with special needs.

Thought-provoking, Heartfelt sympathetic

See it if Emotionally complex story of mentally challenged , severely disabled family member and its affect and frustrating price caring for her.

Don't see it if do care to hear a lot of four letter words.

Absorbing, Intense, Ambitious, Touching, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a well-written, well-acted, heartfelt family drama peppered with funny moments—but don't expect We Live By the Sea greatness

Don't see it if No reason not to see it unless you are particularly sensitive to or triggered by depictions of kids with brain damage or other disabilities.

Also This was an enjoyable and also moving play, and even though its subjec... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Great acting, Important

See it if You'd appreciate a very personal and original play about a family living with their loves one's disabilities and coming of age.

Don't see it if you expect the play to be all about the person with the disabilities. The play is about the family as a whole, and how each person responds.

Funny, Great acting, Quirky

See it if a stellar ensemble cast - every one w/ a stunning resume - combined with lots of laughs and a healthy dose of heart gets your blood pumping

Don't see it if you fall asleep at dialogue-focused character-driven straight plays or enjoy only musicals.

Also FYI the playwright has primarily been an actor, and this play is an ac... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Resonant, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You liked Amy and the Orphans or We Live by the Sea and want to see another show like that. It's a good show, but it felt less original.

Don't see it if You are looking for something brand new.

Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in a family caring for a handicapped family member or want to see an interesting show with good acting.

Don't see it if You want to see something lighter.

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if gives a good insight into a family struggling with issues regarding a challenged person in the family

Don't see it if it is overly long and does not really give you any insights as to how to deal with this problem

Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you like family dramas.

Don't see it if you want to see something different from something like an American classic.

Cast & Creatives (11)