Already closed | 2h 0m | West Village

Charm

From 109 member reviews
Members say: Relevant, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Ambitious, Funny

About the show

MCC Theater presents a new play about a black, sexagenarian transwoman named Mama Darleena Andrews teaching an etiquette class at a Chicago LGBTQ community center. More…

Mama quickly finds that the idealistic teachings of Emily Post clash with the real-life challenges of identity, poverty, and prejudice faced by her students. Inspired by the true story of Miss Gloria Allen and her work at Chicago’s Center on Halsted, Philip Dawkins' 'Charm' asks, how do we lift each other up when the world wants to tear us down?


Member Reviews (109)

MEMBERS SAY:

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Ambitious, Funny
77
Avg Score

During previews
70
"to sir with love" in the lgbt world, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Uneven acting, Needs editing

See it if you want an old-fashioned show in a modern setting. Themes: Old can teach young. Everyone wants respect. Manners count. Everyone has secrets

Don't see it if you want perfection. Charm needs major editing. Some actors mumble. Ending is unearned. Mama gets wearing (all the "babies" and "beautiful")

Also Based on a true story, Charm has a lot of heart. It follows the tried-... Read more Read less

During previews
82
Charming, Thought-provoking, Frash, Great acting, Great writing

See it if Surprisingly realistic writing/performances. Touching story. Exciting. Thought-provoking.

Don't see it if you don't want to learn more about the plight of the transgender.

Also Writing/acting were so realistic that at points it feels more like a r... Read more Read less

During previews
80
Great acting, Entertaining, Funny, Realistic, Relevant

See it if You like comedic drama's with true to life characters. The performances are VERY real. Engaging story that is interesting & entertaining.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in stories with LGBT characters or open to learning more about their lives.

During previews
85
Great writing, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Surprising

See it if you want to see a show that is both satisfying plot-wise and compelling/thought-provoking in the things it has to say about the world.

Don't see it if you're looking for fun escapism. (There's plenty of fun. Definitely no escapism.)

During previews
80
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Quirky, Warm, Insightful

See it if Trans "Mama" mentors homeless younger trans people on caring, empathy and respect. Eye opening story based on real people.

Don't see it if Collection of character vignettes. Sentimental and lacking in intensity at times.

During previews
81
Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Slow

See it if Transgender/gender questioning community get their day to shine led by a radiant lead performance from Sarah Caldwell Will Davis' staging A+

Don't see it if Dawkins' play a bit episodic with characters drawn with brush strokes. But the humanity & general empathy shines through First rate ensemble

During previews
68
Indulgent, Entertaining, Confusing, Loud, Cliched

See it if are interested in seeing a play that portrays a variety of transgender people.

Don't see it if expect to learn much about transgender people and their problems.

Also This might fare better as a trimmed 90-minute play.

During previews
82
Big colorful characters

See it if you want to smile and root for all the fun characters on stage

Don't see it if you are bothered by people who are "different". Every character is "different"

Also This was a pleasant surprise. MCC has had some bad shows the last two ... Read more Read less

During previews
73
Entertaining, Ambitious, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Too upbeat for the subject matter

See it if an entertaining and offbeat take on sexuality and political correctness excites you.

Don't see it if feel good plays with quirky predictable characters bore you.

Also Sandra Caldwell's performance was great.

During previews
70
Insightful, Provocative, Disappointing second act, Stereotyped characters, Written with best intentions

See it if The hopefulness of dealing with life on the fringes of social respect is appealing. Great intentions, just nothing surprising other than...

Don't see it if the fact that the characters wrestling with a cruel world are lbgt. Some very good acting. Needs stronger resolution prior to opening night.

During previews
80
Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Absorbing, Full of heart

See it if you want emotionally- and socially-powerful and relevant theater. Superb acting, a story full of heart, & strong messages. Caldwell soars.

Don't see it if you're not open to LGBT-affirming work, particularly about homeless and racial minority trans and queer-identified youth. Strong language.

During previews
85
Funny, Charming, Touching, Relevant, Strong script

See it if You like character-driven shows.

Don't see it if Frank depictions of a range of sexual and gender identifications bother you.

Also Some acting still a little shaky in previews, particularly delivering ... Read more Read less

During previews
25
Cliched, Disappointing, Ambitious, Indulgent, Fluffy

See it if gender politics is your cup of tea (with a side order of SHADE!)

Don't see it if you are expecting a well written gender politics play tied up in a FABULOUS bow. [DISCLOSURE: It's a BAD play and there's no FABULOUS bow.

Also I had GREAT EXPECTATIONS for this play, however my expectations were q... Read more Read less

During previews
65
Disappointing, Excruciating, Loud, Stereotyping, Ambitious

See it if You have patience for new scripts. Have an interest in trans issues. Don't need a fully baked product.

Don't see it if Are easily frustrated by stereotypical writing and portrayals. Are easily offended by language and bothered by screaming dialogue.

During previews
75
Absorbing, Edgy, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you are interested in learning about different perspectives and issues facing a community that is rarely the center of a play.

Don't see it if you are intolerant of different types of people

During previews
80
Ambitious, Must see, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you love new voices, good writing, excellent actors, new talent, unsettling but important stories and issues, funny moments, great costumes.

Don't see it if questions perfectly answered and happy endings are a requirement; challenging the social norms and stereotypes is uncomfortable

Also This is a really special work - smart, funny, entertaining, disturbing... Read more Read less

During previews
87
Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Funny

See it if You want to see sexual identity and gender issues addressed in a thoughtful yet entertaining way.

Don't see it if You are don't like to see gay/trans themes explored on stage and are not interesting in expanding your horizons and understandings.

During previews
80
Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you like good acting in a play with relevant themes

Don't see it if plays about trans kids upset you. Otherwise you should enjoy this

During previews
81
Ambitious, Delightful, Indulgent, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if you have an open mind and don't mind learning when you are at the theater.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with trans issues or trans people. Also, if you aren't able to suspend disbelief.

During previews
70
Ambitious, Relevant, Indulgent, Funny

See it if You are interested in the story of Miss Gloria Allen. Standout performances from Marky Irene Diven and Hailie Sahar.

Don't see it if Treacly lecturing on gender and social conformity anger you.

During previews
84
Clever, Great acting, Profound, Relevant, Intense

See it if You love a take of how race and social economics play in transgender lifes.

Don't see it if You just want a big production to entertain you.

During previews
75
Ambitious, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you want to know about the transgender community.

Don't see it if It was a bit on the long side.

During previews
80
Clever, Entertaining, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You want to see a heartfelt play about issues confronted by the transgendered community.

Don't see it if You are not interested in seeing a play about transgendered teens.

Also Good performances by some very talented young people. A very enjoyable... Read more Read less

During previews
81
Charming, Ambitious, Smart, Funny, Great acting

See it if you want to see an amazingly talented and diverse cast of young people, which grapples with heavy issues and yet somehow still feels light.

Don't see it if you're expecting easy answers, if you want model minorities or if you're uncomfortable w/ the complexities/shifting sands of teen identities

Also this play takes your politics of respectability and sets them on fire.... Read more Read less

During previews
75
Entertaining, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if You want to see a play offering a lot to think about, but with a cast that does not articulate well

Don't see it if You are not interested in people who live complicated lives


September 18th, 2017
"However predictable their arcs, these characters are far more fascinating than the usual lifeboat crew...Whenever 'Charm' focuses on their lives outside of class it maintains at least a documentary interest. But within the class, the noisy action—all shade and byplay—is too often superficial. Th...
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September 18th, 2017
"Dawkins and director Will Davis juggle a colorful array of characters with skill, and the actors, several of whom are transgender, form a wonderfully harmonious ensemble, especially when creating cacophony...Although the play’s ending is somewhat pat, the last scene of its first act—a tense, rev...
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September 18th, 2017
"A truly outstanding company of performers...Davis knits them into a clearly cohesive and affectionate ensemble, while allowing each of them to shine...The intelligence of 'Charm' is that it’s actually structured around Mama's awakening, as much as it is around the the transformation of the Youth...
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September 18th, 2017
"A bona-fide charmer...Davis directs a terrific ensemble cast in this bittersweet fantasy of perfect comity within the LGBTQ community...The characters aren’t as stereotyped as they sound, and the uniformly excellent cast humanizes every last one of them...For all its soft satire and good-natured...
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