New York | 2h 30m | Already closed

Curse of the Starving Class

From 27 critic and 179 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.

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

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.

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

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, 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.

During previews
Masterful, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Anything showing at Signature is well worth it. This was great play at excellent venue. All characters/actors were exceptional. I loved it.

Don't see it if Many twists. Some humour. Staging may make it hard to focus. Some nudity.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to experience an intense drama written masterfully and acted superbly. Fantastic set design literally from start to finish.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with dramas dealing with family and societal dysfunction. Not for everyone. In your face violence and intimidation.

During previews
Funny, dark, moving, do not miss., Great writing, Great acting, Great staging, Must see

See it if you enjoy seriously funny, deep and dark theater

Don't see it if you are looking for light entertainment

Also Shepard was a genius taken from us too soon. This is a tribute to his ... Read more Read less

During previews
Great writing, Edgy, Great acting, Funny

See it if you enjoy edgy dark comedies. The work of Sam Shepard.

Don't see it if fluffy, light-hearted is only for you. Are bothered by nudity.

During previews
Intense, Dated, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you love Sam Shepard's work and you're prepared for an intense 2+ hours of grit.

Don't see it if you want something quick, light, funny, forgetable.

Also This is classic Shepard. Nobody is sweet. Nobody laughs much. There is... 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.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Profound, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You admire Sam Shepard & his writing & are open to his often distressing though sometimes funny story lines. This is a classic of his.

Don't see it if You prefer plays that don't haunt you after you leave and have happy endings.

Also It is very worth seeing, especially if you like a show that you contin... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Profound, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You admire Sam Shepard, serious modern tales laced with humor, and great acting and staging. It’s a first-rate production!

Don't see it if Tales of uniquely American sorrow and woe have no appeal,

During previews
Thought-provoking, Resonant, Quirky, Intense, Ambitious

See it if you are able to connect with flawed characters and can tolerate sometimes over-the-top behavior; or you appreciate commitment to an idea.

Don't see it if you are easily offended and like things tied up in a neat package.

Also The acting of the principals is excellent, and the set design inspired... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if You want to experience raw emotions through the lens of poverty and alcoholism. A classic reimagined.

Don't see it if You dislike melodrama and unhappy endings.

During previews
Brilliant production of a deeply disturbing play

See it if for a rarely produced early work by an exceptional writer; superb acting, amazing set; frighteningly relevant themes; disturbing, eloquent.

Don't see it if you want neatly tied up story lines, happy endings and Ozzie and Harriet families

During previews
Great writing, Resonant, Refreshing, Intense, Funny

See it if Enjoy Sam Shepard plays. There is amazing set pieces and lots of action and disfunction, but with a lot of humor too.

Don't see it if You don't like plays that deal with unpleasant topics like poverty, addiction, dysfunctional families, etc.

During previews
Great writing, Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy dark humor and classic "American" themes.

Don't see it if You're easily offended by someone peeing onstage and wont appreciate its symbolism.

During previews
Masterful, Profound, Intense, Absorbing

See it if Terry Kinney brings the Steppenwolf approach back to True West's big brother. Intelligent, vital production of a seminal 20th century play.

Don't see it if you lack patience and foresight. this is the American Cherry Orchard, after all.

During previews
Profound, Intelligent, Great writing, Funny

See it if You like wonderful writing and great acting with interesting staging. This zany play gives new meaning to the phrase dysfunctional family.

Don't see it if You don't like absurdist plays with screaming crazy characters.

During previews
Depressing, Excitingly-poetic and perfect set design, Provocative, Darkly-thrilling, Gritty & grim

See it if Sam Shepard’s cynical yet earnest portrait of a wasting-away America down on its luck (and in the mud and muck) appeals; you want to think.

Don't see it if too depressed by Shepard’s tendency to show (albeit beautifully-dark) the unraveling of a “starving” world through deconstructed families.

Also Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class may be over 40 years old but... Read more Read less

During previews
Edgy, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if You are a Sam Shepard fan and love his dramas about America. This is the ultimate dysfunctional family with no bright future. Maggie Siff

Don't see it if You dislike Sam Shepard’s take in life. It is a dark tramedy. Very long 2 1-2 hours.

Also Great set design. Live lamb on stage at times.

During previews
Shepard classic, Dark surrealistic comedy, Great cast and acting, Fantastic set

See it if Empty refrigerator symbolizes crash of American dream on irresponsible Tate family driving them into failure, financial ruin & desperation.

Don't see it if You don’t like Sam Shepard’s surrealism writing about professionals, businessmen, and lenders taking unfair advantage of the less fortunate.

During previews
Quirky, Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if you admire the tragicomedy of the f**ked families usually encountered in the plays of the late great Sam Shepard and great acting.

Don't see it if you go to the theatre to see ordinary people. These characters are weird and wild, but their conflicts are universal and timely.

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