Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Great acting, Clever, Great singing

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.

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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."

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews


"'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

"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

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

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

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

Talkin' Broadway

"Creighton is a constant source of energy and joy, plowing his way through scenes and songs that are corny but that demonstrate his triple-threat-plus skills to unbeatable advantage...When a performer is this good, you want everything around him to be, too. No dice...It's as cliché, lazy, and cynical as fourth-tier show-biz bios get...If the script and score have received any work in the last year, it's not evidenced by what's onstage." 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

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


"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


"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

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

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

Theater Pizzazz

"Robert Creighton is perfectly cast... 'Cagney' is a joy for people who love top-notch tap dancing...What’s missing in this musical interpretation of Cagney’s life is that incomparable bit of spark that made Cagney so exceptional. The orchestrations in 'Cagney' are sometimes bland and uninspired. Creighton’s performance was first-rate, and the book by Colley is quite solid, but perhaps, with livelier music, the show would have had more unwavering appeal." 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

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

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

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

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

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

Indianapolis Business Journal

"Lest you think all of Off-Broadway is bold new work, here’s a throwback: a straight-up show biz bio...There’s some fun tapping to be had and the cast is certainly game, but this musical tribute isn’t terribly interested in revealing anything more about the man than we know in the first few scenes." 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

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

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

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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Great tap dancing

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.


See it if You like tap dancing and lots of costume changes.

Don't see it if You want an entertaining story line. This one put me to sleep.

Indulgent, Insipid, Overrated, Slow, Great singing

See it if you know who was the famous Hollywood star actor James Cagney in the 1930's and 1940's.

Don't see it if you have better Broadway options.

Also The main actor is very talented, very good. There are five actors in a... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Exquisite, Intelligent, Refreshing, Great staging

See it if you like the actor. You learn a lot about him in the play.

Don't see it if you don't like his genre of movies.

Delightful, Cliched, Great choreography

See it if you are a fan of James Cagney, you want to see some great tap dancing and a talented cast.

Don't see it if you do not want to wait until the second act for the show stoppers, you do not like biopic musicals.

Delightful, Great acting, Must see, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if If you enjoy Cagney and singing and tap dancing.

Don't see it if If you don't enjoy old movies

Great acting, Must see, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you are looking for an old fashioned story about a true icon. This was by far one of the most entertaining shows i have seen off broadway

Don't see it if I do not know why you would not want to see this!

Also Robert Creighton is amazingly talented as Cagney and is just charming ... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Fun

See it if you want fun entertainment and to learn more about how impressive Cagney really was.

Don't see it if you don't like musicals or think they should have a grander setting.

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

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

Absorbing, Refreshing, Riveting, Entertaining

See it if you are a fan of any James Cagney movie and enjoy upbeat shows with great tap dancing.

Don't see it if you don't know who James Cagney is and you don't enjoy watching tap dancing.

Funny, Absorbing, Delightful, Great singing

See it if youre a James Cagney fan and want to see a fun take on how he became a dancing and singing movie star. AMAZING DANCING!

Don't see it if youre not an old hollywood fan, dont like musical biopics and have the audacity to dislike spectacular/incredible/joyful tap numbers

Clever, Delightful, Great dancing

See it if you want a good story with great dancing!

Don't see it if you aren't a fan of dance musicals

Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Wonderfully entertaining show about Cagney's life. Great singing and dancing. A must see if you enjoy fun musicals.

Don't see it if If you do not enjoy musicals.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if want to see a great talent in an entertaining role

Don't see it if you're dead

Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you want to enjoy a terrific off-Broadway musical comedy experience with a great leading man

Don't see it if you're looking for a big, splashy Broadway production

Absorbing, Intense, Entertaining, Great dancing, Informative

See it if biographies/real-life chronologies entertain you. Bit intense at times but if you enjoy anything James Cagney you'll overlook the melodrama.

Don't see it if old-school music & dance bug you. R Creighton was totally made for this role. His performance is iconic, a gift, & one for the record books.

Slow, Entertaining, Great dancing

See it if You want to learn a little something about Cagney AND see some stellar tap dancing from an incredible cast.

Don't see it if You are looking gif a big splashy spectacle. Some of the plot is boring, but overall it's a pretty solid evening of fun.

Ambitious, Delightful, Masterful, Hilarious, Great staging

See it if You want to see James Cagney reincarnated. Nothing this cast can't do. I totally underestimated this one. Great show.

Don't see it if You hate song and dance shows or anything even mildly patriotic.

Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if See it if you can appreciate the story of a very big personality.

Don't see it if Heavy drama is your thing.

Also Never cared much about the art of tap dancing but after this show I ce... Read more Read less

Slow, Great (tap) dancing

See it if you're a fan of Old Hollywood, biopics, and tap dancing.

Don't see it if you want to see something more modern and relevant to today's times.

Great cast, Great direction, Wonderful show!, Amazing tap dancing

See it if you like tap dancing musicals with an interesting story. Robert Creighton is amazing.

Don't see it if you're expecting a huge cast singing and dancing. Cast of 6, all incredibly talented. Wish the actor playing Bob Hope looked more like him

Entertaining, Good dancing good performances

See it if You like shows about Hollywood

Don't see it if If don't like bio shows

Absorbing, Ambitious, Delightful, Intense, Entertaining

See it if You like James Cagney and great dancing!

Don't see it if You have no interest in Old Hollywood.


See it if You have fond memories of the Cagney tough guy movies and want to learn the back story, or you saw it at the York.

Don't see it if You want a big musical

Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great dancing

See it if you want insight into the life and times of James Cagney and his masterful career. Robert Creighton is perfect in the part of Cagney.

Don't see it if you don't know who James Cagney is.

Cast & Creatives (18)