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Curse of the Starving Class

From 185 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Great staging, Thought-provoking

About the show

Last produced in NYC by Signature more than 20 years ago, this new production of "Curse of the Starving Class" honors Pulitzer Prize-winning Legacy Playwright Sam Shepard, who passed away in 2017.  More…

Living a stagnant, unhappy existence in rural California, the struggling Tate family is desperate for change, but every family member has a different way of trying to improve their station in life.

Member Reviews (185)


Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Great staging, Thought-provoking
Avg Score

Slow, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You want to see a pretty good community theater production, an expensive set, a real sheep onstage

Don't see it if It felt un-directed: the ensemble struggles, indicates, and over/underplays their way through scenes of disconnected shouting

Over the top, Quirky, Cliched, Great acting, Great set

See it if You want to see a truly awesome set, or are a fan of Shepard's work or a classic dysfunctional family story

Don't see it if If you want something dramatically new or different with surprises.

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Like Sam Shepherd. A masterful production on one of his greatest plays. Absurd and astute at the same time. Beautifully executed and acted.

Don't see it if You are not a fan of absurd and sometimes violent actions. Can be disturbing.

Relevant, Intense, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if like Sam Shepard

Don't see it if are not interested in class

Intense, Resonant, Great acting, Edgy, Dated

See it if you want to see one of Shepard's earliest plays and the origins of his family dramas

Don't see it if you don't want to see family discord and violence

Raw, Visceral, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Bleak

See it if You enjoy a real glimpse into others’ struggles. You like a bit of shock factor.

Don't see it if You are not ok with male nudity or live animals pooping on stage. You’re looking for a light date night show.

Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if If you like the theater experience to provoke you Into thinking and feeling other people’s struggles,.

Don't see it if If you are looking to relax and have lighthearted fun or if you do not like nudity on stage

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intense, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy classic American theater, and are willing to engage with the show

Don't see it if You don’t like Sam Shepard and his style


See it if You like Maggie Siff and anything by Sam Shepard. Some of the acting is good.

Don't see it if A lot of it didn't really work.

Unique, Edgy, Dated, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Terrific acting and set. Typical Sam S. - dysfunctional family.

Don't see it if Can be painful at times. Male urinates on stage and runs nake. Live lamb does his business on stage.

Clever, Excruciating, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You enjoy seeing a dysfunctional family struggle to achieve a better life doomed to fail.

Don't see it if You find the premise beyond realistic.

Disappointing, Excruciating, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You want 2/3 of a great play.

Don't see it if You can’t stand the final 1/3

During previews
Overly long, Slow, Great staging, Interesting, Great acting

See it if interesting play with great plot twists. Great set gimmick. Solid acting.

Don't see it if some of the storytelling elements really distract from the story and only arcanely relate to the plot. Unsatisfactory conclusion.

During previews
Slow, Overly long, Great acting

See it if You enjoy flawed and quirky characters.

Don't see it if I enjoyed the characters and story however I felt it dragged on for too long. Would have liked it better if it were condensed.

During previews
Intelligent, Relevant, Disappointing, Cliched, Slow

See it if You want to see a thought provoking show & don’t mind it’s full of (bogged down with?) metaphors and takes its time getting to the point.

Don't see it if If you want a clear storyline or message or something fun and fluffy.

Also Moments of genius wrapped inside a LOT of hot air.

During previews
Riveting, Profound, Masterful, Ambitious

See it if If you like sam Shepards writing. Good acting and direction in this play about a dysfunctional family and there relationships with one anoth

Don't see it if 2/12 hours long and some long diatribes are not your thing.

During previews
Intelligent, Edgy, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Fan of Sam Shepard or Maggie Schiff, enjoy family dramas with a hint of the absurd, cruelty or violent, enjoy noisy family confrontations

Don't see it if Don’t like slightly twisted family relationships or plays where the message is not specifically clear or absurd situations, lamb on stage

During previews
Dated, Quirky, Intelligent, Relevant, Great staging

See it if You want a classic play that, while of its time, has something to say about today. You like absurdism. You want great staging & performances

Don't see it if You want a contemporary play. You dislike absurdism. You don't like extended monologues. You don't have the patience for a 2 & 1/2 hr play.

During previews
Slow, Quirky, Intense, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if Everyone in this family is dysfunctional, and it real show thru the whole play.

Don't see it if 2 1/2 long, if you dislike Sam Shepard style of his plays.

Also The opening of the play with the stage set breaking is excellent. Sam ... Read more Read less

During previews
First act too long, Lots of screaming, Quirky, Maybe this is a good production of this play, but i really did not enjoy the play, Great staging

See it if You want to see this Sam Shepard play if you never have, which is why I went to see it. I was very disappointed. Interesting set.

Don't see it if If you want a pleasant time. There is so much screaming, the characters are so strange that you really cannot care about them.

Also Such a long first act. I see that it is a three act play. In this prod... Read more Read less

During previews
Edgy, Slow, Disappointing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You enjoy edgy dysfunctional family dramas that focus on the downtrodden as opposed to well-off.

Don't see it if You’re done with Shepard plays and can’t stand his slow, gnarly, character-driven/mostly plotless, heavy dramas.

During previews
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you like the plays of Sam Shepard. Great acting with characters not always likable but well developed.

Don't see it if you like a play that is very clear cut. The plot gets a little complicated and one scene is a little gross.

Also The set is used very cleverly. Shepard's characters are always interes... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting

See it if Outstanding opening set "destruction". Act II far better & shorter (35 min). Act II has full male nudity, huge food mess, car blown up.

Don't see it if Act I drags at 90+ minutes and has many lethargic talky scenes that could be sped up. Cast, however, is outstanding & professional.

During previews
Acting could be better, Slow, Great set, Too many monologues, Disturbing

See it if you love everything Shepard (as I usually do); exceptional set; interest in an impoverished family trying to survive.

Don't see it if Don't appreciate dark, grim humor; not interested in how poverty affects the spirit, stomach & pocket; 1st act is long & slow; uneven acting

Also Best acting is from the refrigerator which conveys everything without ... Read more Read less

During previews
Riveting, Quirky, Intense, Fantastic set and tech, Stellar acting

See it if An incredible production ! I was riveted from the very first surprise image of the crumbling house. It crumbled as we watched ! Black comedy

Don't see it if You are in a Mary Sunshine mood, this play will play havoc with any feelings of sunniness ! You don’t wish to see male nudity.

May 13th, 2019
"Watching the very entertaining first half of Mr. Kinney’s interpretation of 'Curse,' I wondered why it doesn’t come around more often. I had stopped wondering by the end. 'Curse' features some beautiful, signature Shepard writing, in which primal desperation becomes fervid poetry...The plot, tho...
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May 15th, 2019
“Kinney and his cast find memorable moments in Shepard’s darkly satirical play...Time has diminished some...shock value and the Signature’s production doesn’t dig deeply enough into the feeling the play seems to be after: It doesn’t pulse with the agony of stunted existence. But Shepard’s potent ...
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May 13th, 2019
"It should heave and churn with bitter discontent and sloppy ambition, delusion and shame. But it’s a tough, flawed nut, and it’s not profiting from Signature Theatre’s current revival, which mostly plays the unwieldy material straight down the middle. As a result, the play feels diffuse and almo...
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May 13th, 2019
"Shepard's plays are tricky balancing acts. They need to be staged by directors and actors in touch with the late playwright's distinctive, off-kilter vision. That's certainly the case with this production...Kinney could have picked up the pace faster, and the decision to condense the first two a...
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