Dead Poets Society
Closed 1h 40m
Dead Poets Society
79

Dead Poets Society NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(103 Reviews)
Positive
88%
Mixed
12%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent

About the Show

Classic Stage Company presents a stage adaptation of the Oscar-nominated movie, with Jason Sudeikis in Robin Williams' inspirational teacher role. Directed by Tony Award winner John Doyle.

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Member Reviews (103)

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90
Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Must see

See it if you can forget the movie version. A great job with some young talent to boot.

Don't see it if you are not open to thinking "outside the box' and can handle a thrust stage.

68
Disappointing, Great staging, Indulgent, Cliched, Banal

See it if you're a fan of the film or Jason Sudekis, like stories about boys' schools & coming of age tales or father-son relations

Don't see it if you expect deeper character development & more feel for a private school, don't like unresolved issues or rushed conclusions

Critic Reviews (33)

The New York Times
November 17th, 2016

"Mr. Sudeikis has a natural stage presence, a baritone voice, and he’s charming...But when he’s exhorting everyone to find their singular selves, he often looks as if he’s aching to send up his lines...If the students switched roles midway through, I doubt you’d notice...Doyle's habitually ingenious, less-is-more staging yields fewer dividends than usual.'Dead Poets Society' needs the cinematic distractions of sets and camera work. Stripped naked, it comes across as blunt and bland."
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Time Out New York
November 17th, 2016

"Let’s just say Classic Stage Company’s earnest but flat-footed adaptation inspires thoughts of Netflix streaming more than leaping up on one’s desk to cry, 'O Captain! My Captain!'...Tom Schulman has competently translated his screenplay to the stage, with scenes smoothly flowing in and out. And Doyle has assembled a solid ensemble of keen young actors as the boys...Sudeikis has a smooth, easygoing air...but he’s far too flip and contemporary to believe as a poetry-loving pedant circa 1959."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
November 17th, 2016

"The play, by Tom Schulman is mostly holes, except when it’s goo...No extreme is extreme enough, especially no extreme of obviousness or cliché...At least for the first two-thirds of the 90-minute play, Doyle is almost completely successful in keeping the actors from falling into the pit of sentimentality. The boys are great...But once the story goes into overdrive, Doyle loses control; it’s as if the play were insisting on being bad despite his attempts to tame it."
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The Hollywood Reporter
November 17th, 2016

"Doyle brings his customary stripped-down elegance to the production, and elicits sensitive performances from the young actors playing Keating's students. But Schulman's thin adaptation of his screenplay exposes its contrivances and sentimentality, failing to make a strong case for its stage translation...Despite the classy production's strengths, its insurmountable shortcoming is that this drama remains an imitation, stuck in the shadow of its source."
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Entertainment Weekly
November 17th, 2016

"Sudeikis doesn’t deliver the same whimsy that Robin Williams brought to the role but does manage to bring a confident charm all his own. Sudeikis plays the humor of the character as deftly as he does the more thoughtful, emotional moments...'Dead Poets Society' follows the same path as its cinematic predecessor perhaps too faithfully, and unfortunately doesn’t find the same level of poignancy...It all pales in comparison to its source material."
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Variety
November 17th, 2016

"Doyle’s clever, simple-truths staging beguiles audiences much in the same way English teacher John Keating, portrayed here by Sudeikis in a remarkable performance, leaves a mark on his impressionistic students...Despite the colorful personalities this ensemble of young performers bring to their roles, the characters are fundamentally written as adjectives...Schulman doesn’t take the opportunity to expand his screenplay, deepen the characters, or explore the complexities of his story."
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Deadline
November 18th, 2016

"Jason Sudeikis has enough mischief in his eyes to make John Keating a credible non-conformist hero in 'Dead Poets Society'...While there are some pleasures to be had in Sudeikis’ tweedy performance, they’re offset by the blandness of the others and some genuine weirdnesses in the script...The stage version has Sudeikis displaying his own charms, small-scale though they are. But no matter how many dead poets’ names are dragged in to class up the act, hokum is still hokum."
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New York Daily News
November 17th, 2016

"Unfortunately, promising potential doesn't materialize into much on stage, where the earnest play fails to get traction. Issues are drawn in such black and white terms — adults, bad; youth, good — there’s no room for tension or drama, just pushing your buttons. But it doesn't."
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AM New York
November 17th, 2016

"There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the new stage version of the classic film...It’s just completely unnecessary...Tom Schulman’s script is essentially a rehash of his original screenplay, and the sentimental and solemn tone remains the same, which means that this stage adaptation brings almost nothing new to the underlying property...Sudeikis has a chummy ease and subtle quirkiness, but he lacks the sadness and warmth that made Williams so unforgettable."
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Theatermania
November 17th, 2016

"Sudeikis impressively steps out of the long shadow of Robin Williams in his gutsy portrayal...Schulman has smartly condensed his original screenplay, reassigning scenes to a smaller cast of characters and eliminating others altogether...Despite Doyle's breezy production and solid performances from the cast, the show doesn't make a very good argument for its necessity onstage. You can get the exact same story on-screen, much of the dialogue word for word."
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BroadwayWorld
November 20th, 2016

"A crisp and engaging world premiere production...Jason Sudeikis is just terrific as John Keating...He plays the role with a winning combination of preppy playfulness and compassion....As with all rebellions, there are losses and tragedies, and 'Dead Poets Society' doesn't ignore the cost of nonconformity. Clocking in at a little over 90 minutes, the intimate production moves swiftly, aided by the sparse efficiency of designer Scott Pask's set."
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Lighting & Sound America
November 21st, 2016

"John Doyle has done a number of things right by 'Dead Poets Society'...Sudeikis' Keating is exactly the cheerful, trouble-making presence the script demands...The adaptation, by Tom Schulman (who wrote the screenplay), moves well, but, lacking the film's visual texture, is a thin and sentimental melodrama. There isn't a hint of character shading anywhere...Is this sort of warmed-over movie script really the best use of a major Off Broadway theatre?"
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Talkin' Broadway
November 17th, 2016

"As good a piece of writing as 'Dead Poets Society' is, it's not immune to this production's highly variable direction and acting…Jason Sudeikis is utterly believable as both a crazy and a conservative…William Hochman is outstanding as Knox…But except for Francesca Carpanini, no one else is remotely as good…One does wish Schulman had imparted the adults with as much depth as he did the kids…But Schulman does his level best to ensure that, with 'Dead Poets Society,' you get everything else."
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TheaterScene.net
November 22nd, 2016

"Masterful staging, impressive scenic design and pleasant performances aren’t enough to make this skillful stage adaptation of the classic film ‘Dead Poets Society’ more than a mildly entertaining 90 minutes…Mr. Schulman has adeptly reconfigured his film script for the theater…Though well-crafted and expertly presented, ‘Dead Poets Society’ with its quaint message and rehashed themes of the coming-of-age youth who must face painful truths, is amiably underwhelming."
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Theater Pizzazz
November 17th, 2016

"Tender, heartfelt adaptation...Sudeikis brings his own devilish charisma to the role...Director John Doyle brings his special signature to the adapted work by clearing the stage, allowing the story to tell itself...The chemistry between Sudeikis, the actors, and the audience is palpable, and his message to break the mold is inspiring for all...As always, Doyle graces his work with clarity and simplicity, allowing the story to resonate more powerfully on the stage than on the screen."
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CurtainUp
November 17th, 2016

"Unfortunately, my hopes that Doyle could bring his flair for fresh new takes to familiar theater pieces didn't materialize in this instance; Neither did my wish that in adapting his film script for the stage, that Schulman would have found a way to tone down the from the get-go predictability and perhaps ratchet up the role of the teacher...If only the poetry didn't come off here, as it did in the movie, well chosen but a well-intentioned but contrived device."
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Front Row Center
November 18th, 2016

"I am not a pushover. But this very fine production of ‘Dead Poets Society’ left me shattered and hopeful. In other words – a mess…This is a seamless production with every member of the cast inhabiting their characters with precision and grace...Every performance matches not only Sudeikis’ skill but the spirit of his character, John Keating, as well. It is a particularly poignant reminder that...the only hope is for us to remain vigilant and seize the day over and over again."
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Front Mezz Junkies
November 17th, 2016

"Heart-breaking, gorgeous stage adaptation...It’s a daring task he sets before himself, and in Keating’s words, Sudeikis does in fact ‘Seize the Day’ with all the gusto, power, and humor one could imagine...Each and every one of these young actors could be singled out for their delicate and intricate work, crafting unique portrayals of boys turning into men before our very eyes...The writing is poetic, not surprisingly, as is the direction (John Doyle) and the staging."
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Broadway Blog
November 17th, 2016

"Unfortunately, the stage version suffers by comparison...What Sudeikis lacks is the charisma and vulnerability that make his character’s story arc pack a punch...Most of the fault in the production lies not with the Sudeikis or the six actors cast to play Keating’s students, but with the script and its direction...The last third of the play is jumbled and confusing. Consequently the tragic climax of the story feels unmotivated and slightly empty."
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C
November 18th, 2016

"Penned by Schulman and directed with his trademark mixture of simplicity and ingenuity by Tony winner John Doyle...Sudeikis brings his rather unusual brand of gentle charisma and sharp-yet-loving sarcasm to the role. It’s a rather different take on Keating than his formidable screen predecessor Robin Williams, but it ultimately works quite well for Doyle’s lower-key, less sentimental interpretation."
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The Guardian (UK)
November 17th, 2016

"Sudeikis is superb – earnest and impish – but in the intervening decades, the substance of the piece now seems cheaply sentimental at best and morally suspect at worst...Keating’s ideology is not without its problems and the play’s argument for difference while erasing the experience of anyone who isn’t a middle- or upper-class man doesn’t sit well...Seize the day? Why not. Seize the ticket? Not so much."
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B
December 1st, 2016

"While there have been many films that were turned into successful musicals, adapting a movie for the stage without musicalizing it doesn’t seem to add any value...A Cliffs Notes version that came across to me as bland and pointless. Jason Sudeikis is fine...The six young men who play the students are also very good...Their valiant efforts were largely sunk by the play’s blandness. Even the ending misfires...All this effort seems misguided as the play itself has so little point to it."
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The Huffington Post
November 17th, 2016

"One of the evening’s main difficulties is that the ghost of Robin Williams seems to hover over the whole damn thing...Mr. Sudeikis is fine and altogether convincing as Keating...The problem on display is not one of actors, but adaptation...Doyle does a good job of directing 'Dead Poets Society' on a visionary scale...But there is nothing onstage down at CSC that knocks the film version out of your mind."
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The Wrap
November 17th, 2016

"Sitting through Schulman’s play is a bore...Jason Sudeikis’ Keating isn’t entertaining. He’s a self-satisfied, full-of-himself professor...Sudeikis’ smugness never fails to be obnoxious. Keating is supposed to break through the boys’ repression to unleash their true talent and individuality. The problem is, Keating’s tactics are offensive...It doesn’t help that the father and headmaster are written (and performed) as though Charles Dickens were having a bad day."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
November 19th, 2016

"'Dead Poets Society' is both often funny and moving in its salute to developing an independent mind and matching behavior…Sudeikis is very believable and enjoyable...In the confines of a small stage a variety of story threads come to life, sometimes amusingly, sometimes ultra dramatically. The entire cast is excellent, and Doyle, who has proved himself a master of directing on a small scale, furthers that reputation here."
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Newsday
November 17th, 2016

"Sudeikis is compelling, endearing and utterly comfortable...For a story about releasing our free spirit, however, this turns out to be a very conventional play...Despite such directorial stylizations, the 100-minute script, adapted by Tom Schulman from his own Oscar-winning screenplay, is heartfelt but dishearteningly old-fashioned...The six classmates have character definitions that might have been picked according to a one-from-column A, one-from column B writing manual."
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NorthJersey.com
November 18th, 2016

"The drama plays like a reduced, highlights version of the movie. Left out is the connective tissue of characterization and motivation, leaving us to chew on the play’s ideas, which are as stale as month-old pumpernickel...None of this shorthand tragedy, unsubtly directed by John Doyle, makes a lick of dramatic sense. Sudeikis, meanwhile, works hard — you can see him working hard — at being charismatic and does get his character to likable."
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WNBC
November 17th, 2016

"Jason Sudeikis makes a convincing stage debut...Director John Doyle, the CSC chief and respected Sondheim interpreter, has, as is his way, stripped down 'Dead Poets' to the essentials...Mann and Pais both bring sensitivity to the stage. Cody Kostro is equally on point as their rebellious classmate Charlie Dalton...'Dead Poets Society' stands on its own as an effective work of drama, even for a generation of audiences who may have no idea what preceded it."
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Off Off Online
November 18th, 2016

"A deft, engaging stage version superbly directed by Doyle...Sudeikis is an easily likable presence on stage, and he acquits himself very well indeed. Despite the star billing, though, he is only part of a solid, talented ensemble...There’s pleasure to be had, and a tinge of nostalgia in the love of books that Keating represents...Advocates the importance of the individual amid the pressures of social conformity...The message, both bittersweet and satisfying, is as relevant now as ever."
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Village Voice
November 22nd, 2016

"'Dead Poets Society’ may not be anybody's kind of show. It's stiff, shallow, a little perfunctory — the stage seems to diminish the celebrated moments of Schulman's screenplay…Jason Sudeikis, following in Williams's footsteps, seems like a man working very hard to make a borrowed suit of clothes look tailored to fit him. And while the rest of the actors in John Doyle's tidy, modestly effective production aren't bad, the magic they haven't quite caught is readily available on YouTube."
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Reflections in the Light
November 21st, 2016

"A terrific stage adaptation of the film of the same name...Doyle's staging is perfection...The action plays to the audiences on all sides of the thrust-style stage on the floor, pulling us into the classroom. Suddenly dialogue is underscored by humming; songs shift mood...A couple of performances weren't as sure, but I saw a preview, so I am willing to bet that rough edges will be smooth post opening."
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BroadwaySelect
November 21st, 2016

"Jason Sudeikis has this 'Robin Williams role,' and he’s splendid in creating the teacher you always wanted to have and love but never did...Schulman has done well himself with the four precepts he’d designed for Welton; he certainly 'honored' the 'tradition' of his original script and was 'discipline' enough to see the project through. And while he succeeded at making the show 'excellent,' he can’t give us a compelling enough reason why his screenplay should come to the stage."
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NY Theatre Guide
November 17th, 2016

"Schulman, who wrote the original movie script, masterfully adapted the work for the stage. 'Dead Poets Society' makes an incredibly successful stage play, as the impassioned energy of the players is directly and vicariously felt by the audience. Additionally, the characters spend much time speaking about the merits of acting, presenting a wonderfully meta dichotomy...A work such as this that begs its audience to live and think freely is not only refreshing, but necessary."
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