Cardinal NYC Reviews and Tickets

(170 Ratings)
Members say
Disappointing, Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Second Stage's world premiere comic drama tells the story of what happens when a small-town girl decides, quite literally, to paint the town red.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (170)

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91 Reviews | 83 Followers
Funny, Edgy, Quirky, Dark, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to enjoy an interesting dramedy with an excellent cast - especially enjoyed the scenes with Becky Ann Baker and Alex Hurt.

Don't see it if you're offended by racist remarks. Read more

524 Reviews | 133 Followers
Relationships, racism, gentrification, disability explored in upstate town

See it if great ensemble cast tackles a host of issues in this dramedy. Perhaps overstuffed, but the dialogue is so clever and the actors so engaging

Don't see it if perceptive take on attitudes on gentrification fueled by anti-Asian racism. Nice set. Could have used an intermission

108 Reviews | 34 Followers
Absorbing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you like original, but not perfect work which is interesting and entertaining, well-acted and designed.

Don't see it if you don't like the color "cardinal."

67 Reviews | 15 Followers
Entertaining, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You are interested in seeing the millennial transformation of a town in the branding era. Very real and relevant.

Don't see it if You refuse to open your mind to racism underlying communities who fear change. Read more

677 Reviews | 126 Followers
Better than i thought

See it if You want to see a fresh new interesting and exciting play

Don't see it if You need your plays to have a clean ending where you have all the answers. Read more

114 Reviews | 12 Followers
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging, Ambitious, Clever

See it if If you are interested in social and political issues and even possible solution

Don't see it if Looking for great acting

108 Reviews | 30 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if you want to see an interesting idea and how it plays out

Don't see it if you rely on other reviews to guide you. I was surprised at all the negative reviews. Read more

240 Reviews | 41 Followers
Funny, Relevant, Ambitious, Cliched, Confusing

See it if you’re curious of play that deals w/ urban renewal, racial stereo-typing & politics in 90 mins, or want to see Asian representation on bway

Don't see it if you get confused w/ multiple subplots in a play or if you don’t enjoy diversity in actors or easily offended by foreign language spoken Read more

Critic Reviews (24)

The New York Times
January 30th, 2018

"It so outstrips its gears — trying almost anything to keep the story heading toward the author’s themes — that you may experience severe bumps if you stick around for the whole ride...Perhaps we should see 'Cardinal' a fable; that would certainly explain the way the characters have been painted in such bright, primary colors...Unfortunately, the production does nothing to advance that reading...'Cardinal' never achieves the gravity of its worthy aims."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
January 30th, 2018

"'Cardinal' is a bit like its own central character. Both are cute at the outset, both probably mean well despite cynical tendencies, and when you get down to it, both are pretty awful...The story’s dependence on stale devices betrays its would-be hopeful messaging...Pierce might have had noble goals, but he and Whoriskey have fallen into the trap of the play that purports to be making us think hard thoughts, when really it's letting us leave feeling easy feelings."
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January 30th, 2018

"A dark vein of cynicism churns Pierce’s blood that keeps pulling 'Cardinal' back from the edge of cutesiness...Whoriskey isn't as fully in control of the work as I expected. As likable as the two stars are, they swallow some of the best lines and haven't quite got the rhythm of the repartee...Above all, however, 'Cardinal' is a lot of fun until it wears out its welcome. That happens a good 20 minutes before an overwrought ending that lets all the air out of the show."
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New York Daily News
January 30th, 2018

"A farfetched and muddled play offering little reason to celebrate...Pierce writes witty dialogue, but he forsakes a cardinal rule of storytelling. There needs to be a shred of truth to characters and situations. Too much rings false as 'Cardinal' speeds ahead in sitcom-style fast-mo...The play's point turns ever murkier as subplots about racial stereotyping, love and sex, and generational expectations are briefly touched on...Actors are mostly in go-big-or-go-home mode."
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The Hollywood Reporter
January 30th, 2018

"Simultaneously attempts to be satire, drama and rom-com, failing dismally at all three...While its absurd plotline would seem to hold the promise for satirical humor...'Cardinal' instead goes in so many different and unfulfilling directions that it flounders aimlessly...Bouncing around from one plot strand and stylistic device to another, the play feels much, much longer than its 90 minutes. Director Kate Whoriskey...fails to provide coherence to the scattered proceedings."
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January 30th, 2018

“‘Cardinal’ amuses, confuses, and infuriates — often, all at once…Pierce's satire has all the subtlety of a flying two-by-four, but...sometimes we need a good smack upside the head...It's likely a lot of audiences will find Lydia repellant...Mostly, they'll dislike her because she holds a mirror up to their own worst impulses...Reminded me of the HBO series 'Veep' and 'Girls'…If you enjoy either of those shows, chances are you'll get a kick out of ‘Cardinal.’ Others may find Pierce's barbs cut too deep.”
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Lighting & Sound America
January 31st, 2018

"'Cardinal' is a notably unevocative piece of writing, and the playwright, Greg Pierce, gives us little sense of what the town was like in its heyday or why the way of life it once offered should be preserved...If we don't see enough of this nameless town, we see far too much of Lydia...It's puzzling how such a potentially sharp conflict yields such bland results...Kate Whoriskey's staging can't find any urgency in these rambling, unfocused proceedings, and her cast proceeds tentatively."
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Talkin' Broadway
January 30th, 2018

"A sketchbook of a play...It is about quirky characters having quirky interactions with one another, and not always in service to the threadbare plot...Pierce assuredly has a way with words and an ear for dialog that is intriguingly idiosyncratic...But despite the best efforts of the committed and talented cast, director Whoriskey's steadying hand, and McLane's cleverly designed set...'Cardinal' feels like it was rushed into production far too soon."
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