Loosely inspired by a passage from 'The Great Gatsby,' Manhattan Theatre Club's timely new play probes the troubling relationship of finance to educational opportunity in American life today. More…
In a small Boston suburb, a single schoolteacher is struggling to get by when the wealthy father of one of her students surprises her with a financial proposal that could change her daughter’s life. Suddenly, their worlds collide in ways that open up the question: what truly separates the haves and the have nots? Is it wrong to seize an incredible chance, even if the circumstances seem questionable? Directed by Tony winner Doug Hughes ('The Father' and 'Doubt.')
“With a title taken from a subplot in ‘The Great Gatsby,’ ‘Dan Cody's Yacht’ is a smart, new, literate play by Anthony Giardina, with many other literary references that help tell the story. The play begins in a classroom, when Kevin O'Neill (played by Rick Holmes) is trying to bribe his son's high-school English teacher to raise his grade from an ‘F’ to a ‘D,’ for his paper on Gatsby. But the ‘incorruptible’ Cara (Kristen Bush) refuses the bribe and refuses to raise Conor's grade.” Full Review
"The title of this stimulating new play by Anthony Giardina now at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Stage I is a symbol of opportunity waiting to be seized lifted from 'The Great Gatsby'…The actors are uniformly strong…The play loses some of its energy toward the end as the playwright paints himself into a corner. For most of its length though, it is both engrossing and entertaining…Doug Hughes’ direction is smoothly unobtrusive." Full Review
“So well played and well written that it surprised the audience...Heavily expository...which is why the play takes a while to jell...Giardina skillfully keeps us entertained while laying the groundwork for the Act Two payoffs...Giardina's dialogue is both heightened and natural...In a cast without a weak link, Whyland's Angela stands out...Chalk it up to Hughes, whose direction, as usual, cultivates a wealth of character detail without being showy about it.” Full Review
"Doug Hughes has cast it impeccably, staged it fluidly with help from John Lee Beatty’s rapidly turning sets, and guided his ensemble so that all of the play’s points are clearly focused...It’s to the playwright’s credit that he manages to interest us in these two characters and their children and friends even though he has placed them in a situation that some might say is contrived...Here is a writer who can entertain us even as he forces us to pay attention." Full Review
"A biting look at privilege...Giardina builds his story by constantly raising the stakes and creating powerful conflicts between the characters. Hughes fires up the cast to develop genuine relationships and deliver visceral performances that leave you deep in thought...Holmes is slick and cunning...Bush portrays Russo as firm in her standards and resolute in her social beliefs...The timing between these two actors builds into a strong relationship that drives the action of the play forward." Full Review
"Artfully addresses the intersection of income inequality and educational opportunity in America...A talented ensemble cast...Much of this play’s most riveting action comes after intermission...Theatergoers in search of closure may be disappointed, but the play is to be commended for asking important questions of its audience. Debuting in the wake of school graduation season...the issues raised by 'Dan Cody’s Yacht' are especially timely." Full Review
"Director Hughes' sharply played mounting of Giardina's biting and discomforting social commentary...It's been said that privilege is the state of not being concerned about issues that don't directly affect you, and Giardina's observant, darkly comic piece debates the boundaries of such concerns, to the point where financially secure white liberals in the audience may find themselves squirming a bit." Full Review
"Giardina makes the drama sizzle with characters on opposite sides and with personal agendas...The plot becomes very involved as self-interest clashes burst out...All of this is an awful lot of goings-on, and the play gets overly talky and stuffed at points. But the issues raised are serious ones reflecting major problems in society, and the cast is excellent...Hughes keeps the various dramatic elements and often-impassioned dialogue humming." Full Review
"From a writing standpoint, 'Yacht' poses a question on finances similar to the one 'Spring Awakening' poses concerning sex: if we as a society treat the discussion of major life topics as taboo, aren't we destined to crash and burn?...Although it is worth pointing out that middle-class, white America is not the subject that needs the greatest voicing right now, 'Yacht' does present a wonderful appreciation for a parent's grit, and the sacrifices made in the name of capitalism." Full Review
“Plays with the simplicity of boulevard comedy, while addressing complex issues of education and class...While the plot is pretty obvious, Giardina manages to hold up the ambiguity of morality in a thoughtful, sophisticated way. It’s not about right and wrong...it’s about being true to oneself, and knowing how to get results...That the play moves so easily and quickly is, of course, a tribute to Hughes’ direction, as well as the very capable cast...Smooth, well-paced, and timely.” Full Review
"Entertaining but somewhat wrong-headed new play...The script hooks you in. In fact, it keeps you sufficiently interested and entertained that it's not until Mr. Giardina has wound up the inter-connected situations he's set up that the unfilled plot holes and inconsistencies start to niggle...A visually rich two hours of theater. The play's assets notwithstanding there are those plot holes and inconsistencies mentioned earlier." Full Review
"Giardina provides interesting characters, an interesting thesis, and always entertaining dialogue. Somehow, though, it doesn’t add up. There is a lack of focus in the argument, a lack of propulsion, and a surfeit of running time…We have seen more than a few recent plays about the unfairness of privileged students in the application process, ‘Dan Cody’s Yacht’ is well-intentioned and likable-enough, yes; but as a play, it isn’t quite ready for early admission." Full Review
“Slickly directed by Doug Hughes and acted by a worthy cast, the plot runs into questionable motives and fades with overblown moments…Whyland’s strong understanding of her character makes the show…John Kroft also draws a definitive picture of Conor…The dialogue is sharp, but the plot has sagging moments and questions about motivations…Getting into the right schools is currently a hot theater topic...Unfortunately, 'Dan Cody's Yacht' barely reaches a simmer." Full Review
“Interesting but problematic new play...Although the theme comes across intact, the structure and the contrivances sink the ship overall...The two children...are wonderfully crafted but nonchalantly used, more for plot conveniences than any sound...connection...The chemistry of most connections...feel like constructions of plot device need and convenience rather than organic and realistic...The last scene is particularly head scratching...Never made this swim seem quite so worthwhile.” Full Review
"An engaging if schematic and occasionally overwrought dramatization of the ethical dilemmas faced by a financially strapped mother seeking the best education for her gifted daughter…As typical, community colleges and public universities get the shaft, as if anything short of Ivy League level will forever hinder one's opportunities…The arguments tend to grow from teapot tempests into emotional hurricanes…'Yacht' navigates morally choppy waters, but too often with mildly queasy results." Full Review
“Timely, fast-paced and, alas, frustrating, the new play ‘Dan Cody’s Yacht’ sails into the choppy waters of American privilege...Is see-worthy, it’s not watertight. Or always plausible...There’s a nagging leak at the center of Hughes’ fluid and well-acted production...Since Rick’s behavior is the main plot, the fuzziness effectively beaches 'Dan Cody’s Yacht.'" Full Review
"Giardina cleverly tells a number of different stories and truths…Holmes is excellent at playing both smooth and slimy...Bush is at her best when she is allowed to let rip. But something rings a little hollow in how these characters end up. If the stakes were as high as the play has led us to believe, a denouement of comparative equanimity feels bogus." Full Review
"A smart and intriguing new play that ultimately does not satisfy despite its fine staging…An ambitious, thoughtful, literate work...Does not entirely fulfill the many themes, issues, and complications that involve its complex characters...The play ultimately does not register as an organic drama...Both tantalizingly deep and disappointingly shallow…the drama benefits from the direction of Hughes, who does his utmost to smooth out its uneven quality with a highly capable cast." Full Review
"One of the prime virtues of 'Yacht' is its recognition that not only the privileged are inclined to circle their wagons when faced with fundamental change...So much of the play is turned over to the endless back-and-forth between Kevin and Cara that he risks coming off as a nag and a bore...The devil should be more appealing than this; otherwise, what is the point of sinning? This is nothing against Holmes whose work here goes a long way toward giving Kevin some necessary shading." Full Review
"The plot line of Cara’s investments losing and her shock at that, as well as Kevin being gay, just doesn’t feel real, more like caricatures of real human beings. The actors do well and are charismatic and as likable as can be. Doug Hughes directs this with aplomb. John Lee Beaty’s sets and Catherine Zuber’s costumes keep this slick and well oiled." Full Review
"It has several extraordinarily well-written, well-directed (by Doug Hughes) and well-acted scenes. But just as often, it can be puzzling...Teenagers with commendable, well-grounded values is the best part of Giardina’s play. The dialogue in which Kevin talks to Conor about his love of 'The Great Gatsby' and its effect on him as a poor, non-Gatsby-like boy, may be the drama’s best scene...But when Giardina isn’t at his best, odd things occur." Full Review
"It’s a gripping premise and Giardina has added several factors to up the stakes...The theme of wealthy privilege versus idealist near-poverty is a worthy one, but Giardina adds too much freight to his boat and it sinks before the final fade-out. The main question of the school vote is resolved halfway through and more issues arise which are not fully developed...There are intense confrontations, but too many of the plot points are just not believable." Full Review
“Problematic new play...The complicated issues of inequities in the education system and the college selection process get lost in the play...Well acted — especially by Bush as the teacher, Holmes as the dad and Whyland, portraying the teacher's daughter with ambitions of attending Vassar — the play follows implausible roads that make little sense...‘Dan Cody's Yacht’ is adrift in misguided assumptions.” Full Review
"What separates the 'haves' from the 'have nots'?...It's not just Giardini's failure to provide an answer to his thesis tied up in a bow in a blue Tiffany box that makes the show so frustrating. It's also that the enigmatic motivations and mercurial personality of its main character, private equity manager Kevin O'Neill (Rick Holmes), which undercuts the show's effectiveness." Full Review
“A set of stakes that are never convincing enough to make us see his story as anything but a thought experiment in an overly controlled vacuum...Perhaps if these things were unequivocally true, we'd feel the pressure that the ‘Incorruptible Cara Russo’ feels to corrupt...Rather than a story about a moral bulwark manipulated by a flawed system, we get a story about a gullible woman manipulated by a domineering man. We've seen that story before, and I think we're ready for a new one.” Full Review
See it if You care about the "money is destiny" issue in America and enjoy a four star drama delivered by five star actors on a five star set.
Don't see it if You like corny, reality TV entertainment.
See it if for Broadway quality show. Time well spent in theater, easy & entertaining performance.
Don't see it if I don't understand the low scoring reviews. Me and my spouse both enjoyed the show. Don't see it you accept the bad reviews.
See it if you appreciate a play which is completely new, thought-provoking, and timely
Don't see it if you like to be entertained by something light at the theater, this play will make you think.
See it if Beautiful venue. Great AC. Rotating set a treat. Proven playwright scores again.
Don't see it if Cheaper shows in town will entertain for a fraction of MTC MSRP. Male lead's motivation incredibly vague, rendering exercise moot but cute.
See it if willing to think a bit deeply but also want to sit back and enjoy and deftly-acted production about parental sacrifices and responsibility.
Don't see it if seeking the unexpected; dislike linear dramas about prestige, privilege, and playing games with people; annoyed by pushy and elitist people.
See it if This show is riveting, a moral battle of the haves and have nots that is very timely. Excellent cast, gorgeous set, solid show.
Don't see it if Don't go if you don't want to think, or if you want some flash, or if you want a comedy. This show has a lot of meat and needs digestion.
See it if you are interested in the impact of money/privilege on success in the US today and how high school education determines 'everything'
Don't see it if you don't like timely, clever and thought provoking drama (light drama) about the what separates haves and have-nots in the US today
See it if You want to be up close to actors giving a great performance about a still current issue
Don't see it if You are addicted to fluff or big musicals or comedies, and want to be entertained without thinking about a topic that may never be resolved
See it if you like shows about social issues of class, education, individual betterment.Acting is mediocre.Main characters' actions are unbelievable
Don't see it if you want a coherent, believable story.Plot doesn't hold together, doesn't match characters as we know them.Set is interesting.
See it if You like complex stories and hearing great references from The Great Gatsby! Great cast!
Don't see it if You don't like plays or seeing characters dealing with life conflicts
See it if You like to think while you laugh. Interesting look at privilege and how getting a kid into college impacts a family. The "kids" are great!
Don't see it if If you only like a flawless show...good but not a 10. Worth it just for a few great lines, interesting premise and good solid acting.
See it if You are interested in a father's ambitions for his uninterested son and how he goes about trying to help him through influencing his teacher
Don't see it if you are not interested in parents ambitions for their children and how they try to influence their children's future.
See it if like plays that deal with class and equity, good dialogue, interesting characterizations, psychological dynamics and move quickly.
Don't see it if you don't like to be intellectually challenged to interpret current problems in our society but favor pure entertainment and/or comedy.
See it if you like a good cast; plays about education, privilege, inequality and morality
Don't see it if you have seen enough plays on this topic; you want to understand the motivation of the businessman toward the teacher and her daughter.
See it if you are interested in exploring issues of the haves and the have nots - and what separates the two. Solid performances. Engaging material.
Don't see it if you are looking for a passionate or more hotly dynamic topic or performance.
See it if you want to see a play about the problems that concern families. The play gives one a lot to think about and discuss.
Don't see it if you enjoy musicals and light entertainment.
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