Closed 1h 15m
Church & State
Midtown W
80

Church & State NYC Reviews and Tickets

80%
(212 Reviews)
Positive
91%
Mixed
6%
Negative
3%
Members say
Relevant, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Entertaining

About the Show

Emmy-nominated writer Jason Odell Williams' fast-paced comedy about faith, politics, and “The Twitter” makes its New York debut.

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Member Reviews (212)

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95
Must see, Profound, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy shows about topical subjects. This show should be required viewing for everyone!

Don't see it if You're afraid to think about common sense gun control laws.

78
Breakout performance by rob nagle as senator who sees the light on gun control

See it if Nagle moving/inspiring embodying Southern Senator who changes in response to mass shooting of children; completely owns the role

Don't see it if script oversimplifies complex politics of gun control debate, scenes of Senator w wife and those w campaign manager too writerly Read more

Critic Reviews (17)

March 29th, 2017

"Williams is adept at jacking up the tension, and he leavens potentially leaden debates with plenty of humor...When’s the last time you left a play complaining that it was too short? This one zips by so fast, you barely have time to catch your breath; its brevity may well be part of the message. Even if Williams's script ends up more as position paper than play, the writer-director, aided by a crack cast, has come up with an efficient delivery system for words that need to be said and heard."
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March 28th, 2017

“We wish some of the actors would go off-script after hearing the first several of Williams' groan-inducing jokes…Bowers gives a performance commensurate with the script, mugging and shouting her way through what feels like an endless 75 minutes…Director Markus Potter stages a zippy production that hits all the requisite comic beats, but that can only do so much to compensate for lousy source material…About as deep as a child's wading pool.”
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March 31st, 2017

"The author switches tone so abruptly you can practically hear the play's gears being stripped...'Church & State' never really outstays its welcome, thanks to Markus Potter's crisp, faultlessly timed direction, and a highly professional cast...Caught between sitcom gagging and deadly serious matters, 'Church & State' ends up a little bit stranded. Williams hasn't managed to fuse his disparate elements into a single striking whole. Even when his play is funny, it's no laughing matter."
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April 4th, 2017

“Initially a very light comedy, Jason Odell Williams' engrossing and entertaining ‘Church & State’ becomes deadly serious on the topic of gun control and religious beliefs in politics. While some of the characters are stereotypes, they change enough that this is more than a sitcom. As directed by Markus Potter, this is a fast-paced, clever and funny comedy with an important message. It is not afraid to take on big issues in a sitcom manner.”
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April 5th, 2017

“Williams doesn’t let us get away with living through this liberal fantasy unscathed…‘Church & State’ is the political equivalent of fan fiction, in which audience members (presumably left leaning) get to indulge a scenario that feels perfectly logical, and which, ideally, would bring a reasonable resolution to an incredibly complex and divisive issue. It certainly would be pretty to see it all wrapped up so tidily. And for just a moment we’re allowed to go there. It’s kinda nice.”
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March 30th, 2017

"A refreshing new play about faith, politics, and the power of social media. Witty, funny, and fast-paced, it unapologetically pours on the propaganda and places the moral compass at center stage...Though the shadow of gun violence hangs heavy over 'Church & State' the script is peppered with humor, wit, and deep compassion. Williams also creates three-dimensional characters that hold your attention and make you care about them...Sensitively directed by Markus Potter."
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March 28th, 2017

“Playwright Jason Odell Williams beats every comic moment out of the cultural differences of these disparate people, and lulls the audience into a comfortable complacency…‘Church & State’ slams you with import. You do not see it coming…Williams writes an unlikely hero, then someone casts a remarkable actor, Rob Nagle, who makes him breathe…’Church & State’ packs surprising philosophical punch, though dressed as a comedy.”
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April 9th, 2017

"I was not prepared for this crisp, well-written examination of god, guns, and government. It is true that it has moments of hilarity, but the bones of this play have something far more serious to say...Finely directed by Markus Potter with great atunement for the humor underneath the seriousness...The last few scenes are shockingly powerful and carry a strong sense of purpose. Possibly a bit on the convoluted side as it comes to an end, the message is clear and desperately needed."
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T
April 1st, 2017

"It is a midlife crisis on steroids and Rob Nagle portrays the Senator’s dilemma with extraordinary authenticity and strength. Mr. Nagle’s bravura performance is the fulcrum of Jason Odell Williams’s engaging play...Under Markus Potter’s even direction, 'Church & State' is a worthy examination of the values needed to be in the service of the public in America at this pivotal point in its history, and the play raises several significant enduring questions deserving answers."
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March 31st, 2017

“'Church & State,' a thoughtful but patchy political dramedy...teeters uncomfortably between broad comedy and grave issues, seeking every opportunity to garner laughs and argue politics and religion...For all the potential interest in 'Church & State's' polemics, everything is abridged for immediate gratification, with too many cheap jokes that create an air of superficiality and implausibility...Nagle gives the play ballast by making Whitmore believably sincere and emotionally vulnerable.”
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March 28th, 2017

"Witty, smart, timely...'Church & State' will leave you deeply entertained, but will stimulate your brain...Stealing the show is Nadia Bowers...Williams has written Sara some of the best lines I’ve ever heard...Director Markus Potter keeps the pace going and walks that fine line between comedy and drama. He brings out the best in his cast and makes this about the play and its words...This play is definitely on my list for one of the best plays of the year."
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March 30th, 2017

"Directed at a rapid-fire pace by Markus Potter, the play’s mood instantly shifts from ridiculous to sobering...Rob Nagle turns in a fine performance as the conflicted Senator...Unfortunately, throughout most of the show, the two female characters offer little more than the same old predictable stereotype of the domineering woman...The script treads on very familiar ground...But it does strike a resonant note about listening to the perspective of others."
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April 21st, 2017

“It spins it out vigorously, proffering some funny lines and jarring surprises in 75 tightly packed minutes. Thoughtful as it is, though, it’s also surfacey, and you exit wishing Williams had spent more time in the deep end…Markus Potter directs with his foot on the gas, encouraging the kind of overlapping conversations that make it impossible to hear what everybody’s saying. Too bad, because much of Williams’s dialog is diverting, and it’s a mostly crackerjack cast.”
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March 29th, 2017

"Grabs you and shakes you to the core...Mr. Williams' new play is a wonderful amalgamation of politics and religion. It may have a point of view, but it certainly treats all sides fairly...Make no mistake, the action unfolds in a deliberate manner to garner the highest dramatic effect—and by high i mean stratospheric...While impactful the play is never preachy or extremely biased. A great piece of theater at a very opportune time."
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April 4th, 2017

“Williams allows himself some stereotypes when writing about Christian characters…But the playwright also surprises by making the characters likable and not making them closed-minded…Director Markus Potter creates a nice balance between humor and serious material and keeps the audience engaged for the short 75-minute production. This is a great show to attend with people with whom you'd like to have a long discussion with after."
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March 29th, 2017

“‘Church & State’ tackles the thorny issues of religion and gun control in politics in the U.S. today…The election results are pleasantly surprising, but the ending of the play is disturbing and shocking. Rob Nagle is excellent as the conflicted senator. He’s sincere and convincing (I was ready to give him my vote)...Playwright Jason Odell Williams sends a powerful message, one that resonates long after the play ends.”
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Z
April 3rd, 2017

"'Church & State,' fittingly billed as a serious comedy, hits the mark...Jason Odell Williams, the playwright, adeptly uses his play and characters to tackle weighty issues. The 75-minute drama moves through several twists, and packs in a great deal of debate and emotion in a short period of time. Mr. Williams also frequently provides unforgettable laugh-out-loud lines...The four cast members are stellar."
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