New York | 2h 30m | Ends Jun 02

Curse of the Starving Class

From 22 critic and 136 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great staging, Intense, 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.



75
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.

75
During previews
Classic sam shephard, Thought-provoking, Slow, Intense

See it if Epic downtrodden family saga--lots of misery, great acting and incredible​ sets.

Don't see it if Imbalance of misery and humor, loads of pathos, and a very long first act will turn you off.

Also This was the first in the saga of family plays Shephard wrote and won ... Read more Read less

73
During previews
Slow, Thought-provoking, Good acting, Long, Great staging

See it if you are a fan of Sam Shepard or his plays.

Don't see it if you don't like stories of dysfunctional families or Shepard's plays.

72
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.

72
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.

70
During previews
Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you need to complete the canon of Sam Shepard's work and want a great opening moment.

Don't see it if you are frustrated by unrealistic characters behaving in even more unrealistic manners. Also quite graphic and stomach turning.

70
During previews
Uneven, Intense, Intelligent, Profound, Great writing

See it if Shepard is the man, a playwright whose confrontation w/ American identity was a lifelong quest. Also, "Mad Men" fans: Maggie Siff slays.

Don't see it if you're upset by farm animals who clearly don't want to be onstage being onstage; you find expensive sets built around a single gag enraging.

Also Memorable Quote: "My poison scares you."

70
During previews
Great writing, Great staging

See it if you like all things Shepard, the world he explores, the power of his language.

Don't see it if You're just not interested in fucked-up people from fly-over country.

70
During previews
Squalor and ignorance

See it if The agony of ignorance and squalor is something you can bear. Brilliant set.

Don't see it if You find the damage done by an eternally adolescent, unsympathetic pater familias unwothy of your attention.

70
During previews
Relevant, Absorbing, Disappointing, Ambitious, Intense

See it if You want to see how Sam Shepard influenced so many playwrights, including (and especially) Martin McDonagh.

Don't see it if You want and expect realism at all turns.

Also Big mistake to not have an intermission between the first and second a... Read more Read less

70
During previews
Without humor, Of a different era, Dated, Slow, Good acting

See it if you appreciate Shepard dramas of despair with self-indulgent long-ass monologues and a hard-working cast without a pay-off.

Don't see it if you don't appreciate Shepard plays and his take on life as an existence of despair.

70
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.

69
During previews
Disappointing, Intense, Excruciating

See it if These characters were to me obnoxious.While their characters were truly defined or not is being left to the viewer?Too much dysfunction for

Don't see it if IF YOU WANT TO SEE A FUNCTIONAL FAMILY IN A LOVING SURROUNDING.

Also me to really enjoy this play,however,i felt that the acting itself was... Read more Read less

69
During previews
Slow, muddy, miscast, disappointing.

See it if You want to hear a script that captures the essence of America with the power of Greek tragedy.

Don't see it if This is your first and only exposure to Shepard.

69
During previews
Too long, I wasn't able to connect with these characters, Quite disgusting and hard to watch at times, Extraordinary scenic design

See it if You enjoy seeing characters self-destruct.

Don't see it if You don't have patience for crazy people doing crazy things.

Also After seeing True West earlier this year and now this, I've concluded ... Read more Read less

68
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

68
During previews
Really wanted to like this more

See it if you are a Sam Shepard completist and revel in dysfunctional family dynamics.

Don't see it if you are a Sam Shepard fan and are looking for cohesive style. For me the disparate acting choices were all over the map.

Also It just did not jell, which was a surprise coming from the estimable T... Read more Read less

68
During previews
Great set, Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow, Intense

See it if you like Sam Shepard's blend of dark humor, oversized emotions and heavy doses of metaphor and if you don't mind grossness and male nudity.

Don't see it if you only like plays with characters that are at least a tiny bit sympathetic and if you have a low tolerance for tedious monologues.

Also During the first minute, the wonderful set performs a transformation t... Read more Read less

66
During previews
Cliched, Ambitious, Slow, Quirky

See it if you are interested in the issues of the poor and the clash of the economic development with the rural classes.

Don't see it if if you are sensitive to alcoholism or abuse, or if you would not enjoy a play with unlikable characters.

66
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.

65
During previews
Diminishing returns, Could be trimmed by 1 hour, Repetitive & overwrought surrealism, Uneven cast, Set overpowers the play

See it if a powerful performance by G. Geary as the son. His transformation from Act 1 to 2 is very powerful and affecting. He's the best thing in it.

Don't see it if don't have patience for same metaphors being slammed into your face for a drawn out 2 1/2 hours. M. Siff & A. Rothenburg seem like amateurs.

65
During previews
Raunchy, Disappointing, Confusing, Dated, Great writing

See it if A little-seen Shepard. Funny writing. Thought-provoking. David Warshofsky gave a great performance.

Don't see it if Not one of his best. Maggie Siff was disappointing. The 2nd act was so gross, it was painful to watch.

65
During previews
Overrated, Indulgent

See it if Maybe it was cutting edge in its day but I found Starving Class to be full of unsubtle monologues and shock value excesses. Not for me.

Don't see it if Thought some of the acting was pretty awful and the direction not much better.

65
During previews
Interesting, Long, Great staging

See it if you're a fan of Sam Shepard's particular brand of family dynamics and drama.

Don't see it if you want a play with more nuance than people constantly screaming or are expecting more interesting acting.

65
During previews
“i saw myself infected with it. that’s how. i saw me carrying it around. his poison in my body.”

See it if Great staging of Shepard’s Pulitzer winning play. can you escape the starving class by starting over in Europe or Mexico?

Don't see it if dark lives of a dysfunctional American family... including many conversations around an empty fridge ;)

Also “Signature Theatre celebrates playwrights and gives them an artistic h... Read more Read less



Cast & Creatives (3)