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From 51 critic and 497 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Great acting, Great singing, Clever

About the show

'Cagney' follows the actor from his humble beginnings through his rise as a vaudeville song-and-dance man, to his superstardom in Hollywood. More…

James Cagney could do it all – a dramatic new musical that follows the life of the legendary James Cagney from the streets of New York to his rise as one of the brightest stars of Hollywood, from a vaudeville song-and-dance man to the cinema's original tough guy. Broadway's Robert Creighton, in the role he was born to play, leads a cast of six who tap dance through a score that blends original music with classic George M. Cohan favorites, including "Give My Regards To Broadway," "Grand Old Flag," and "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

Front Row Center

"Robert Creighton is beyond brilliant in the title role. Do yourself a favor and hoof on over to the Westside Theatre and see this show. While the first act lags a little in its earnest attempt to document Cagney’s path, the second picks up the pace...Creighton not only nails the outward Cagney but manages to reveal the inner workings of a man who was an icon but not a human being to most of us...And his dancing is sublime." Full Review

W42st Magazine

"The story is beautifully created...The choreography recreates the magic of old Hollywood musicals. The style mirrors Cagney's and is astounding to watch...Robert Creighton as Cagney is unbelievable. There's not a moment in the production where you're not enthralled by his performance. He's mesmerizing and you truly believe you are watching James Cagney perform in front of you." Full Review

Center on the Aisle

"Robert Creighton is a revelation in this role. His performance sets the entire stage ablaze…I can’t think that there is anyone who could create a more earnest and loving portrayal than Creighton. Aiding in his performance, and certainly the show overall, is Bill Castellino’s masterful direction…The book by Peter Colley is smart and witty, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartbreakingly true…All the actors on the stage were extraordinary, creating complete and distinctly different characters." Full Review

Arts and Leisure News

"What a fun show I have for you, it’s a winner, ‘Cagney’ is a must. Robert Creighton playing Cagney couldn’t be better…In this insightful and surprising musical journey, a brand-new original score filled with show-stopping song and dancer numbers is augmented by George M. Cohan songs...The very talented Creighton leads a cast of six in this fantastic new musical...It is my choice for the best Off-Broadway performance." Full Review

Front Row Center

"A compact package bursting with a sparkle that nearly knocks you over...Creighton is such a smooth dancer that he makes it look easy...All of this would be just so much Hollywood legend without the dancing...What happens in these numbers is that Creighton turns on the magic machine, and we enter into a different time. We experience the gift that theatre is at its core...You end up in a wonderland that you can feel down to your toes. And THAT my friends, is showbiz magic." Full Review

Drama Queen NYC

"As energetic and optimistic as its subject, this bio-musical is fizzy fun with just enough seriousness to make it a satisfying tribute to the pugnacious movie star. The show is above all a vehicle for Robert Creighton, who shares Cagney’s charisma and fleeted-footed dancing ability…The choreography of Joshua Bergasse elevates the evening from fun to truly fabulous entertainment...The routines Bergasse gives the cast are truly riveting." Full Review

Motherhood Later

"An exhilarating and heartfelt Off-Broadway musical…A natural, athletic hoofer with a feisty personality, Cagney is a beloved icon, and Robert Creighton does him justice and then some…Director Bill Castellino keeps things moving, and choreography by Joshua Bergasse is inspired…What a pleasure to see an Off-Broadway show deliver a full-out ensemble dance number that brings down the house, when so many Broadway musicals these days are lacking in that arena." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Then there is the incredible Mr. Creighton giving an electrifying performance. With feet flying and a beautiful light Irish tenor voice Mr. Creighton captures the pugnacious spirit and open-heartedness of the little tough guy, James Cagney, endearing himself to the audience with his explosive energy and mega talent. 'Cagney' is not to be missed and you will be humming those songs as you leave the theater!" Full Review

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

"Who could play the 5’5” Cagney better than Cagney’s look-alike, sing-alike, dance-alike, and act-alike, Robert Creighton?...There’s a delightful vaudeville feel to the show. The cast of six characters morphs seamlessly into so many roles that it’s fun trying to pick out who is playing who…Choreographer Joshua Bergasse has the cast tapping their hearts out…You’ll be giving your regards to Broadway and on your feet, applauding." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"Creighton’s impression of Cagney’s singular, rapid-fire speaking style is inconsistent, but when he’s saying or singing material lifted directly from Cagney’s films, he nails it...To top it all off, this guy can tap dance...‘Cagney’ may be imperfect, but this low-concept, high-energy show has so much going for it..., especially its abundance of Hollywood nostalgia, a dynamic lead performance, and awesome tap dancing,.. that you’ll rise with the tide for the standing ovation when it’s over." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"It is amazing that a show that was mediocre can improve with time and experience. This is the case of 'Cagney'..Director Castellino has honed the dramatic moments and now the brilliant choreography shines...This is obviously a star vehicle for Creighton, who does make an impression...Bravo to the cast, crew and producers...For a good, old-fashioned, enjoyable time, 'Cagney' is a Yankee Doodle Dandy." Full Review

Says Me Says Mom

"I liked all the tap dancing...I thought it would be mostly about the kind of characters he played especially because he was shown holding a gun in the poster for the show. It wasn't like that at all. It was more about his whole life. It had a lot of funny parts. It had a lot of good songs too...The acting was good too. They all played a lot of different parts...I really enjoyed the show, and I would highly recommend it." Full Review

Theater Life

"A thoroughly entertaining evening of song and dance served by an outstanding ensemble of performers...Robert Creighton plays James Cagney, a role he was born to play...'Cagney' hits most of the highlights of the actor's ascent to stardom and his struggle with his image in an insightful musical journey with fancy choreography by Bergasse that features exciting tap numbers...Jeremy Benton has several dynamite tap numbers with Creighton that alone are worth the price of a ticket." Full Review

Epoch Times

“If you have not had the opportunity to learn more about James Cagney, the multitalented actor/singer/dancer, go to the Westside Theatre and see Robert Creighton, an Outer Critics award winner for Best Actor in an Off Broadway Musical. This is your chance...The actors other than Creighton all have multiple roles to play, but their shining moments are due to the tap choreography by Outer Critics award winner Joshua Bergasse.” Full Review


"'Cagney's' return to Off-Broadway, with the same cast, director and choreographer, is a slicker, fuller production that should send audiences out with big smiles...'Cagney' isn't crowded with plot, but it doesn't tell you much about the man either. Think of it as more of an entertaining salute...Creighton sings with gusto, dances with even more and is an extremely likable presence...While 'Cagney' isn't high art, it's peppy, sincere and a heck of a lot of fun." Full Review

Front Row Center

"Director Bill Castellino keeps things flowing so quickly that it’s impossible not to get drawn into the fun...Creighton handles it all with aplomb. Looking, sounding and dancing the part without ever stepping into caricature, he’s a dynamo in a star-spangled vest...The 'USO Medley' is an Act II show stopper where the company gets to sing and dance up a storm." Full Review

The Observer

"It doesn’t come close to telling the whole story, but an amazing star turn by Robert Creighton brings pieces of it to life with so much vibrancy and excitement...Full of vitality, swirling feet, crowd-pleasing songs and dances...There isn’t much breadth in the score or the staging of the numbers, which is mostly perfunctory, but when Creighton leaps and taps and soars his way through George M. Cohan classics you get the quickest lesson in how to stop a show since Joel Grey in 'George M.'" Full Review

Labor Press

"The rousing musical is full of song and tap dance which will excite audiences of all ages. Robert Creighton, who plays Cagney, also wrote the original music and lyrics along with Christopher McGovern, and is adeptly directed by Bill Castellino. Cagney could do it all; act, dance, sing and be the tough guy who portrays gangsters, sometimes with a heart. Creighton does an excellent job as Cagney." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

"Creighton plays Cagney and seems born for the role. A strong dancer and singer, he was a joy to watch...This cast of extremely strong dancers sure know how to work hard...Some of the strongest moments in 'Cagney' are the many dance numbers, with an emphasis on some really fun strong tap routines...This cast is truly in sync with the orchestra and has a seamless flow from song to song and scene to scene...If you like musical theater, film history and James Cagney, this is the show for you." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"The musical still needs some tweaking to bring it to its next and highest level. The cast is uniformly brilliant...Robert Creighton is simply splendid as James Cagney…Although the music is stronger than the lyrics, the lyrics remain serviceable and ring with honesty...Director Bill Castellino does what he can with Peter Colley’s tepid book that totters between a bio-musical and musical comedy...In its present form, 'Cagney' is highly entertaining and well worth a trip to the Westside Theatre." Full Review


"While the show itself is entertaining in an uninspired way, Creighton as Cagney is stupendous. He sings sublimely and, with the help of Joshua Bergasse’s savvy choreography, he brilliantly summons Cagney’s light-on–his-feet dance style...The five member supporting cast forms a fine ensemble...The book by Peter Colley is fairly standard issue and even with Bill Castellino's energetic direction, the show almost feels more like a revue...But Creighton as Cagney just kills it." Full Review

Manhattan Digest

"Creighton is a marvel. His energy and timing is unflagging...Joshua Bergasse should also take a bow for his high-energy choreography and Bill Castellino can join him for the show’s lean direction...A minor handicap that 'Cagney' possesses is its length and lack of dramatic tension...If it were to clock in at the now-typical theater block of 90 minutes, it would feel much tighter and more substantial." Full Review

Rock NYC

"'Cagney' gets many things very wrong, the book and the music and lyrics among them, but what it gets right more than makes up for it...A scene of Cagney and troupe performing for soldiers in a USO show in 1942 was so magical, it may have been the best moment in a musical this season...It justified the entire evening in a heavenly song and dance of epic proportions...Creighton has brought an excellent cast to perform with him." Full Review


"The show’s rudimentary book is a jumbled assemblage of true events, cloying clichés, compressed chronology and simplistic characterizations...Still, Mr. Colley has crafted several inspired episodes that are quite effective…The score is decent and has some pleasant and tuneful if not outstanding songs…Its good-natured tone and Robert Creighton’s colossal performance make 'Cagney' satisfying entertainment, especially for those familiar with the movie legend." Full Review

Critics at Large

"It’s not a great musical–Peter Colley’s book is serviceable and the new songs are mediocre. But it’s not bad. The modesty of the production works in its favor, and it does what few musicals manage to accomplish: it gets better as it goes along...Mostly it’s because of Robert Creighton, who can act as well as sing and dance, and whose fireplug frame and fireball presence make him ideal casting for the title role...He’s an excellent Cagney, and when he gets to dance...he’s a phenomenon." Full Review

Great tap dancing, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever

See it if Alot of tap dancing, Early age in Hollywood, everyone, have to sing, dance. Tells his story to Hollywood.

Don't see it if You did not like the early age Hollywood.

Great tapping, Must see, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you love tap dancing and an old fashioned show

Don't see it if no reason at all

Also this was one of the best shows I have seen which include all Broadway.... Read more Read less

Epic portrayal of cagney, Great singing & dancing!, Great staging, Masterful, Entertaining

See it if ..aching for a good old fashioned 100% entertaining traditional American musical with riveting story & performers that sing well & dance WOW

Don't see it if U don't like energetic musicals or bios. Do not know American icon actor James Cagney which would be hard to believe even if U are young.

Also Cagney is an impressive polished masterpiece that encompasses all the ... Read more Read less

Great dancing and structure., Riveting, Masterful, Delightful

See it if You remember Cagney, or even if you don't. You like great dancing and a little drama/comedy to go with it.

Don't see it if You don't like musicals.

Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if Loved the story the acting the star was amazing

Don't see it if You don't appreciate vaudville

Masterful, Great singing, Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You love singing and dancing. Entertaining from beginning to end.

Don't see it if No comment.

Enchanting, Great singing, Great acting, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if Great tap dancing. Acting was good....very likable characters.

Don't see it if Hmmmm. I think there is something for everyone to enjoy in this show.

Exquisite, Entertaining, Enchanting, Absorbing, Delightful

See it if Any person who remembers James Cagney will absolutely love this show. It really should be on Broadway, not off Broadway...simply fanrastic!

Don't see it if You don't like musicals!

Enchanting, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you love amazing tap dancing.Robert Creighton is James Cagney.I saw it three times and will probably go back again.

Don't see it if You don't like amazing tap dancing.

Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Masterful, Epic, Great dancing

See it if If you want see the best Off-Broadway show playing today, see this show. It has got it all! Great Singing & Acting; Dancing & Staging :~)

Don't see it if If you're NOT a fan of musicals; you DON'T like movies from the 1940's; you're NOT a fan of tap dancing; you're saying: Who is James Cagney?

Great singing, Relevant, Great acting, Funny, Delightful

See it if you love a great biography about a really good human being!

Don't see it if you you don't like a good musical

Entertaining, Delightful, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you're a sucker for an old-Hollywood story. This piece is a great production of Cagney's life & his influence on the entertainment industry.

Don't see it if you have James Cagney movies.

Ambitious, Great acting, Delightful, Entertaining, Clever

See it if Obviously of more interest to those who remember Cagney but it's not just nostalgic, it's an entertaining show for everyone.

Don't see it if If you don't enjoy a good story about movies, with terrific actors playing several parts, and don't care for tap dancing, then don't see it.

Also I recommended it to younger friends who were not that familiar with Ca... Read more Read less

Great staging, Great singing, Great acting, Funny, Delightful

See it if The Cagney Era

Don't see it if If you're under 21

Delightful, Great acting, Great singing, Entertaining, Clever



Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy a certain amount of nostalgia and some amazing dancing and song

Don't see it if You don't enjoy classic song and dance by a very talented group of actors

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You want to see a wonderful show filled with energy!

Don't see it if You don't want to attend one of the best shows ever.

Refreshing, Intelligent, Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if you like song and dance musicals that tell great stories. If you want to learn the wonderful story of Cagney from it's beginnings.

Don't see it if you don't like musicals or autobiographies or James Cagney.

Great acting, Great writing, Clever, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if If you are a fan of James Cagney, and love a great backstage story, and love tap dancing!

Don't see it if If you don't like musicals.

Great acting, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if You want to see a small cast do the work of 20. Extremely talented group and interesting biography piece on James Cagney & old Hollywood.

Don't see it if You don't like tap dancing gangsters.

Ambitious, Great acting, Delightful, Clever, Entertaining

See it if You want a great evening of excellent musical theater. If you are a fan of James Cagney or want to learn about him, see this show.

Don't see it if No reason not to see it. It was a delightful production with an excellent cast.

Entertaining, Enchanting

See it if Enjoy seeing Multi-talented people perform multiple parts. If you enjoy smaller venues.have to smile when you see tap dancing extraordinaire

Don't see it if You don't enjoy singing and dancing and smaller staged productions.

Great singing, Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you enjoy a biography with great acting, great songs, comedy, and tap dancing.

Don't see it if you're not interested in the biography of an actor from the days of black and white movies.

Entertaining, Must see, Great singing, Great staging, Delightful

See it if You enjoy good dancing and loved Jimmy Cagney

Don't see it if Don't like musicals


See it if Completely enjoyable! The music and the dancing was fabulous! The character who played Cagney looks just like him! Interesting history.

Don't see it if Don't like singing & dancing

Also This play tells Cagney's life but also the history of the US during th... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (18)