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Blue Ridge

From 28 critic and 141 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Disappointing, Intense, Confusing

About the show

Set in Southern Appalachia, Atlantic's world-premiere is a pitch-dark comedy about heartbreak, hell-raising, and healing. More…

In "Blue Ridge" a progressive high-school teacher with a rage problem retaliates against her unscrupulous boss and is sentenced to six months at a church-sponsored halfway house, where she attends to everyone's recovery but her own.

Theatre is Easy

“A brilliant new drama...performed flawlessly by a virtuoso ensemble...’Blue Ridge’ gives us a safe opportunity to get to know six deeply troubled characters...The love and connection between Rosebrock’s characters is the script’s most endearing quality...Rosebrock’s script is brilliant—understated without being vague, and volatile without being melodramatic...Magar’s direction is just as subtle and complex as Rosebrock’s writing...One of the great new plays of 2019.” Full Review


“In a time when many people have trouble dealing with their feelings, Abby Rosebrock's ‘Blue Ridge’ is a fascinating account of people attempting recovery from various emotional and physical problems. Some of the play must be taken on faith while other parts remain unclear. However, Taibi Magar's production for Atlantic Theater Company will not let you lose your concentration for a moment. Much of this is due to Marin Ireland's titanic performance, one you will not easily forget.” Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

"Beautifully articulated, extremely wise play...Rosebrock sets her plot going in an impressive blend of humor, pathos, theatrics, surprise and heady dramatic spice...Interpersonal eruptions unfold and mount in increasingly incendiary scenes that underline Rosebrock’s command of psychological complexities...Rosebrock’s script receives first-rate direction from Taibi Magar, whose cast members are uniformly flawless." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

“Rosebrock’s muscular, roiling new play...luminously acted...under the swift, sure hand of Magar...In its early stages, Rosebrock’s play nimbly balances on a knife edge between weird, excitingly uncomfortable comedy and deep, hideous pain...’Blue Ridge’ deals courageously in hard, sad human truths, the kind of metastasized stuff that might take a lifetime to heal. Rosebrock’s unsentimental insight and the ensemble’s raw fearlessness make it sting, and Ireland makes it stick." Full Review

Theater Reviews from my Seat

“What makes ‘Blue Ridge’ compelling theater is its flawed cast of characters...Everyone in this stellar cast adds critical layers of personality and feeling to the spoken words...This play is not filled with simple exposition...’Blue Ridge’ requires one to pause, to think, to observe, to question, to consider and to feel a wide range of emotions and thoughts. You will laugh along with this dark comedy. You will also be moved as to why and how difficult it is for some people to safely escape." Full Review


"Rosebrock intimately captures the fragile ecosystem of this group home...Rosebrock and director Taibi Magar also show how, even in this obsessively confessional place, the truth can easily be obscured...It all feels chillingly true to life...Rosebrock strings us along with fully formed characters, all given relatable and sensitive performances by this excellent cast." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“Magar brings an effortless grace to Rosebrock’s flowing script. Nothing seems forced or hurried...A quiet play, but it’s never dull. It has its occasional explosions, and its dialogue is peppered with literary allusions, humor, and unexpected personal details...Characters are well-etched. Firmly anchored by Marin’s tells a story that’s surprisingly satisfying in its lack of resolution and surprisingly engaging given its deceptively meandering pace.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"Ireland reveals another fine tuned character but with a far edgier layer...She fills the space...riding high on Rosebrock’s volatile story-telling...It’s spell-bounding theatre, watching a woman so full of pain and anger collide with souls who are just as lost and damaged as she...Alison is the centrifugal force of the play, the apparent action outwards that slaps and hits all that stands around...Ireland ‘Blue Ridge’ a power that is undeniable and without boundaries.” Full Review

New York Theater

"A comedy that morphs into an intensely acted drama...Ireland’s remarkable performance brings out the full range and force of Alison’s personality with every gesture and expression. And she is not alone. Rosebrock’s script feels flawed at times in two contrary ways — sometimes aimlessly meandering, sometimes abruptly implausible. But under the direction of Taibi Magar, the production serves as a stellar showcase for some riveting acting by all six members of the cast." Full Review

Theater Life

"Few actresses can wring as many variations on self-indulgent despair as Marin Ireland...Her interactions with her fellow participants and the group’s facilitators form the backbone of Rosebrock’s prickly and moving drama. The dialogue crackles with authentic flavor delivered with intense conviction by Ireland and the ensemble, directed with a feel for empathy by Taibi Magar...'Blue Ridge' delivers a satisfying insight into the irresistible paths of dysfunction." Full Review

Time Out New York

"A devastating examination of how even smart, strong women can be deformed by a society that raises them to please...Director Magar ably steers the show through various modes, from biting dark humor to emotional outbursts and quiet confessions. Although the script and the accents sometimes wander, Rosebrock beautifully fleshes out all the characters...Thanks to Ireland’s expertly modulated performance, you never turn on her; you just wish she’d find a way to start healing." Full Review

Off Off Online

“A character-driven drama...Even if ‘Blue Ridge’ is lacking razor-sharp wit and stunning surprises...Rosebrock succeeds in creating six well-rounded characters with believable flaws and inescapable fates. There are few explosions to be found here, but the simmering tensions brought to bear by a strong ensemble of actors under the tight direction of Taibi Magar provide a satisfying status quo; they are a happy indication of the playwright’s continuing growth." Full Review

Front Row Center

"The ensemble’s excellent characterizations in this production lift the piece to palatable...What I appreciated about Ms. Rosebrock’s work is that everything is not explained. After the obligatory exposition, there are historical facts and character traits in each person that exist without any explanation of what they mean or why they’re there. She’s not afraid to let her characters exist without apologizing for them." Full Review

Gotham Playgoer

"The first act builds slowly to a surprising climax that I did not see coming. The second act features a gripping emotional meltdown, but then spins its wheels and ends on an unsatisfying note...Director Magar shows an affinity for the material. For me the opportunity to see Ireland emote was reason enough to attend. The rest of the fine cast more than holds its own onstage with her. At its best moments, the play is quite gripping. It’s just good enough that one wishes it were even better." Full Review


"Brave. Raw. Truthful. Compelling. These adjectives have been applied with unusual consistency to the work of actress Marin Ireland for nearly 20 years, so it should be far from surprising that they prove, once again, to be absolutely fitting when describing her performance as Alison, a woman with serious issues of anger, self-esteem and narcissism, in Abby Rosebrock's ultimately harrowing drama 'Blue Ridge.'" Full Review

The Wrap

"The remarkable actor Marin Ireland delivers a big, inventive, overwrought performance that might even be more devastating if it were cut in half...One of the real pleasures of Rosebrock’s writing is that, while Ireland’s Alison has more Appalachian twang than a half-dozen hillbillies, she’s one of the smartest characters on the stage...What is perfectly developed are Alison’s razor-precise and spot-on attacks on the pervasive male patriarchy surrounding her, and smothering her." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“Rosebrock introduces an interesting mélange of broken characters in her new play...As multidimensional and multi-leveled as these characters are, the playwright never allows them to develop fully...Rosebrock chooses to tackle a myriad of relevant and important themes...Although not one of these themes receives an exhaustive exploration...Magar directs with acute care allowing each actor to explore their character’s conflicts and the resolution of those conflicts." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“Although the group's meetings often seem more like coffee klatches than therapy...Rosebrock's characters are an engaging lot...Magar's direction neatly exposes each of the undercurrents flowing underneath the group's apparent harmony...Ireland is one of the few unmissable leading ladies in NY, and her efforts go a long way toward making Alison into a fascinating, troubling creature. But ‘Blue Ridge’ often rambles...In this case, the action is dogged by too many nagging questions.” Full Review


“‘Blue Ridge' is at its best when focused on Alison and her issues...Despite a fine ensemble, the other characters aren't as interesting. Neither is the plot concerning Alison putting herself in the middle of a situation she perceives as a woman being taken advantage of by a man in power...‘Blue Ridge’s’ well-written central character, and the actor who is brilliantly portraying her, deserve a richer drama.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“You don’t have to be familiar with the dynamics of a half way house or the protocols of a Twelve Step program, but it helps to comprehend fully Rosebrock’s, sometimes confusing, ‘Blue Ridge’...Magar’s direction of the rapid-fire dialogue is so un-modulated that narrative key points get de-emphasized...As staged, character prevails rather than story...Marin Ireland is pitch-perfect...’Blue Ridge’ captures aspects of residential recovery programs with remarkable verisimilitude.” Full Review

The New York Times

"Ms. Ireland pours such mesmerizing energy and inventiveness into Alison’s wrecking-ball antics that you almost forget that this charming, dangerous woman doesn’t quite track as a credibly motivated character. And as the show’s tone veers from anxious comedy into psychodrama, with each of the characters erupting into set-rattling implosion, it becomes increasingly hard to suspend disbelief...None of the cast members oversell the attendant conflicts and confrontations." Full Review


"Even with Ireland and the stellar ensemble on board, ‘Blue Ridge’ fails to live up to its dramatic potential. Despite some powerful and occasional comic scenes, the parts don't add up to a really satisfying whole...While the characters are all interesting their stories are not fully enough explored since they're basically satellites to Ireland's Alison...Numerous questions about their backgrounds and interactions remain as frustrating loose ends.” Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Economically directed with the steady hand of Taibi Magar and performed by a superb cast led by the incandescent Marin Ireland...It's easy to recommend 'Blue Ridge' because the performances, particularly Ireland's, are so strong. And it's easy to imagine more forgiving audiences overlooking the lapses in common sense Rosebrock either neglects to recognize or chooses to ignore in her writing...In 'Blue Ridge' the theatricality is unearned. " Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"Can a play feature superb acting, well-judged dialogue, exceptional production values, and a compelling point of view and still fail to catch fire? I found myself asking that question often during 'Blue Ridge'...Director Magar has trouble setting a consistent tone...The pacing frequently turns molasses-slow, only to speed up at moments of increasingly predictable revelation....Rosebrock could spend some more time figuring out exactly what story she wants to tell.” Full Review

Broadway Blog

"'Blue Ridge' shares with its predecessors several thematic concerns…as well as an offbeat female lead. However, it mostly flounders in a haze of thickly authentic hillbilly accents, tediously laconic characters, tenuously amusing repartee, and thinly contrived plotting…Alison is another of the edgy, emotionally vulnerable, volatile women that have made Marin a…critics' favorite…Taibi Magar…is unable to invest this material with life, or to make organically credible its more 'dramatic' scenes." Full Review

Absorbing, Edgy, Intense, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if You love excellent unexpected writing and are looking for fresh, new female voices in directing and writing. It’s so honest and unforgiving.

Don't see it if Overly bombastic acting isn’t your thing, or you don’t like quiet shows with slow builds and gently ambiguous endings.

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

See it if you enjoy heartfelt dramas about mental illness. You like seeing real people onstage.

Don't see it if you want just entertainment. This is realism at its finest.

Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Intense

See it if you believe Marin Ireland is walking in the footsteps of Meryl Streep. You like tight ensemble acting & intelligent, emotional scripts.

Don't see it if rapid-fire, overlapping & charged dialogue, 12-step process, single set dramedy at the ever reliable Atlantic is just not enough for you?

Also Soooooo satisfying. Just say "Marin Ireland" & I am there. Her charact... Read more Read less

Intense, Riveting, Must see, Real, Emotional

See it if Great actors depicting heartwrenching characters dealing with trauma, purpose, and the ties that bind

Don't see it if You want a happy play (although there are plenty of laughs), a traditional narrative, or want to avoid themes of abuse (in many forms).

Also This play felt emotionally raw, honest, and powerful. Ireland was rive... Read more Read less

Great acting, Absorbing, Edgy, Entertaining, Riveting

See it if Fresh smart writing and GREAT acting that refuses to do the expected and cliched.

Don't see it if you need a perfect script.

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

See it if you like well-written, well-acted play about people going through rehab, but laced with humor as well as interpersonal conflict

Don't see it if you are out off by language or behavior or if you want a neat, fully upbeat conclusion

Enchanting, Great acting, Hilarious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy theater that explores deeply fraught themes with humor and empathy, and an incredible performance by Marin Ireland.

Don't see it if you have no interest in themes of mental illness.

Good performances, Wordless moments, Fast-paced, Rooted, Human

See it if you wanna see a group of characters struggling to challenge, better themselves in a structured, communal environment. #yesselfcare

Don't see it if People displaying self-injurious, explosive behavior triggers you/ if you soley deal in rainbows and butterflies

Relevant, Intense, Great acting, Edgy, Raunchy

See it if You enjoy a deep theatrical story with a current thought provoking topic (mental health), intense acting, diverse cast, intimate moments.

Don't see it if You're not into old theatre references, dark stories, sexual scenes, Bible or church references, introspection or sadness.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Hilarious

See it if u wanna see a play that's not city-centric, liberal-centric or the people you may expect to see/hear on stage in whole-hearted performances

Don't see it if u're not into intense dramas centering female stories, dealing with violence, white privilege, + sexism or you don't like when ppl talk fast

Absorbing, Clever, Refreshing, Great acting

See it if witty thoughtful dramas.

Don't see it if recovery issues are triggers for you.

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Masterful, Riveting

See it if an interesting play about interesting characters makes you want to venture out to experience live theater.

Don't see it if riveting performances by theater veterans just doesn't interest you into journeying to a theater.

Also OMG! Marin Ireland's BLEW ME AWAY with her performance as the characte... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy great ensemble acting. Although the play contained both humor and rage, the acting elevated the script

Don't see it if Plays about rage or addiction will bother you. Or if Ireland isn't starring.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if Clever writing, interesting and unexpected plot, great acting, uncomfortable subject but surprising twists.

Don't see it if The subject​ matter is complicated--if you have issues with addiction and trust, this may be hard on you.

Well observed, Humorous, Intriguing

See it if You like dramedy and the challenge of troubled individuals working to be less troubled

Don't see it if Intimate dramas of human struggle, both intrapersonal and interpersonal, does not appeal to you

Also It does feel like I liked this work more than a lot of people. I think... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Edgy

See it if Great acting from a well balanced Cast and good writing appeal to you

Don't see it if You have no sympathy for people fighting their own personal demons

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

See it if you are interested in seeing people struggling to better themselves. Surprisingly funny moments. Touching. Great acting.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy single set plays that have a single dominant theme of rehab that runs strongly throughout.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if Holds your interest with believable characters. If you have any interest in mental illness this play explores many of theissues

Don't see it if You have a hearing problem; many lines got swallowed & lost. Theendingisconfusng

Great acting, Intense, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if You like complex plots about people in recovery where grasping the underlying meanings of things are not always clear. Acting is superb.

Don't see it if You like straightforward plots with clearly drawn characters. But you will miss a great turn by Marin Ireland.

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

See it if you want a play about people in pain that subtly challenges what you think about feminism and racism without beating you up with dogma

Don't see it if you don't like sad, intense plays; you prefer perfect political correctness

Great first act

See it if you are a Marin Ireland fan (I am). Another brilliant performance.

Don't see it if you prefer that the entire play hangs together and is consistent. Pretty soon into the second act, the play falls apart.

Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Flawed

See it if you want to see yet another great performance by Marin Ireland, as well as a terrific cast. The characters are well-drawn.

Don't see it if you don't want a play that attempts to take a deep dive into mental health issues, but concludes in a seemingly tacked-on, unsatisfying way.

Absorbing, Funny, Confusing

See it if A brilliant performance by Marin Ireland. Fast paced show that explores gender roles.

Don't see it if If offended by sexual talk, swearing.

Also At intermission I was so pumped and thought this was a terrific show. ... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy a good story told well by an excellent cast.

Don't see it if you are looking for a lavish production.

Also I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and found the accents very well ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Confusing

See it if YOu like Marin Ireland, this is a showcase for her incredible acting. Also, great interplay of character dialogue. Lots of issues raised.

Don't see it if YOu want a clear understanding of the characters and their choices. Or if you need to have a clear message from the playwright.

Cast & Creatives (12)