Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo
Closed 2h 15m
Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo
83

Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo NYC Reviews and Tickets

83%
(241 Reviews)
Positive
94%
Mixed
5%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

About the Show

This new production of the two-act drama, a revision and expansion of the 1959 classic 'The Zoo Story,' honors its author, the Signature Theatre Legacy Playwright Edward Albee, who passed away in 2016.

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Member Reviews (241)

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65
Strong acting, Well-directed, Thought-provoking, Talky, Quirky

See it if you like Albee. If you find his writing insightful and funny, you'll have a grand time.

Don't see it if if you don't like Albee (I don't) His privileged, whiny characters annoy me. Jerry was scary (not charming) throughout. This was not for me.

80
Great acting, Funny, Entertaining

See it if you like good acting, directing was decent. A good story combining two of Albee's plays into one.

Don't see it if The set was not right for the first act, looked like a park wall rather then an apartment. If you don't like Albee.

Critic Reviews (37)

The New York Times
February 21st, 2018

"Neugebauer's terrific production proves 'Homelife' to be an indispensably excellent work in its own right, and a suitable tribute to the playwright...The Signature staging has only a ghost to appease; it is much freer and funnier and thus more powerful...The same is true of the actors: They do not approach the play as an awesome classic but as a living organism. Mr. Leonard is very good...Finneran is spectacular."
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Time Out New York
February 21st, 2018

"A single drama Frankenstein-ed together out of two one-acts...Signature Theater follows Albee’s wish that the two be played as a single piece...It makes for an evening that's fully half bad. Yet there's good news: Thanks to the diamond like brilliance of Paul Sparks in 'Zoo', the show is unmissable...'Zoo Story' is a duet, beautifully orchestrated by director Lila Neugebauer. Leonard finds a world of grace notes to play, but the melody line belongs to Sparks, who prowls like a Muppet tiger."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
February 21st, 2018

"Sparks owns the show...Leonard and Finneran both acquit themselves well in the play's less fireworks-y roles. And Lieberman's clean, spare set-its white walls and floor covered in Cy Twombly-esque monotone scribbles-does a neat job of filling a sizeable stage with a play that's often staged in black boxes...There's nothing bad happening up on the stage, but there's nothing particularly spectacular either...Like Ann and Peter's marriage, it is exactly that: very safe."
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The Hollywood Reporter
February 21st, 2018

"A superbly acted revival...A first-rate cast...The prequel provides further riffs on 'Zoo Story's' societal and personal themes, but in far less visceral fashion...Albee's decision to update 'Zoo Story' feels unfortunate; jarring anachronisms have the ironic effect of making the play feel more dated than it actually is...Nonetheless, it's a fascinating double bill...This staging benefits greatly from the terrific performances...Sparks is an acting tour-de-force that provides reason enough for this revival."
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The Wall Street Journal
February 22nd, 2018

"Masterly in its visual clarity and psychological acuity—though it cannot cover up the fact that Albee made a bad mistake when he wrote 'Homelife' and an even worse one when he yoked it to 'The Zoo Story'...Finneran’s performance is instantaneously involving, while Mr. Leonard brings off the wire-walking feat of being dull in an interesting way...Mr. Sparks’s performance is deliberately spectacular, and Ms. Neugebauer has framed it with the loving care of a curator."
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New York Daily News
February 21st, 2018

"'Homelife' still sounds like characters spouting an author’s ideas about cruelty and isolation — and not real talk. 'The Zoo Story' still manages to unsettle....Three winning performances show off each work to its best advantage...Finneran brings so much smarts, humor, vulnerability and a subtle jagged edge to Ann that you can't take eyes or ears off of her...Neugebauer's direction cannily underscores the unnerving closeness - and more often distance - between people."
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Theatermania
February 21st, 2018

"Leonard's soft, measured line deliveries betray Peter's effortless privilege...Finneran introduces a nagging dissatisfaction to this picture of bourgeois bliss...She interprets Albee's language with aching sincerity...Sparks makes a thrillingly unpredictable Jerry, accenting his performance with birdlike eyes and pointed modulations in his voice...Even if your mind drifts away during this short story masquerading as drama, you'll be jolted back to attention by the explosive final moments."
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BroadwayWorld
February 25th, 2018

"Though both plays are intimate by nature, director Neugebauer takes full advantage of the large stage...Leonard's beautifully subtle Peter is all the more fascinating for the emotions he hides than the emotions he expresses...The plays do tend to come off more like acting exercises than the social commentary they hint at. Still, the opportunity to see the first major work by one of America's most iconic playwrights paired with one of his last, makes for an intriguing experience."
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Lighting & Sound America
March 5th, 2018

"Neugebauer's production is not ideal, but Albee's observations are still capable of chilling one to the bone...Neugebauer has found a nearly ideal pair of psychological fencers in Leonard and Finneran...'Homelife' doesn't land with as much force as it might...Sparks' Jerry improves greatly as he goes along...but it takes some time for his performance to gel...One has a sense of actors lost in a too-large space...Sometimes-problematic production of a slightly problematic work."
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Talkin' Broadway
February 21st, 2018

"Ms. Neugebauer has a flair for finding a clear path through abstract works...A razor-sharp revival...In the hands of Ms. Neugebauer and a stellar cast, the two one-acts that Albee himself fused into a single work remain as relevant and psychologically true as they were more than a decade ago...The violence with which 'The Zoo Story' ends sadly no longer has the power to shock. Now it is more of a coda to a play that the director, her fine cast, and the design team have shown us to be timeless."
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TheaterScene.net
March 1st, 2018

"Lila Neugebauer has directed these two one-acts to bring out their naturalism. In the past, 'The Zoo Story' was usually performed with an odd, surreal quality. Neugebauer has given the conversations a flow that reveals this play to be about people, not walking symbols, a lesson Albee had thoroughly absorbed by the time he wrote 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'"
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Theatre is Easy
February 21st, 2018

"Magnificent writing...Lieberman smartly pushes all of the first act's confining action downstage, but opens up the entire space for the second act, adding several benches to the traditional set. It’s a choice that Neugebauer makes knowing that she’ll upset the purists. It leads to a rather expansive, oddly asymmetric 'Zoo Story,' where the stakes aren’t high enough...Albee’s script wants Peter and Jerry more trapped than Neugebauer’s staging suggests, and the end feels unearned."
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Theater Pizzazz
February 21st, 2018

"As proved by its current, splendid incarnation at the Signature Theater, the work can still rouse us from our metaphorical slumbers and force us to reexamine how we interact with each other (and ourselves) on a daily basis. Much of the credit for this production’s success belongs to the sensitive direction of Lila Neugebauer, who obviously trusts both Albee’s words and her cast...Wallop of an ending, one which you will think about for days afterward."
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CurtainUp
February 21st, 2018

"A superbly cast, smartly directed production...I think if Mr. Albee were still with us, he'd be pleased...While 'Homecoming' does flesh out the picture of Peter as a man symbolizing the complacent, upper middle class, seeing it doesn't really diminish 'The Zoo Story' strength...Amusing as 'Homecoming' is, the sizzle still belongs to 'The Zoo Story'... And with the amazing Paul Sparks as Jerry, is quite a sizzler."
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Front Row Center
February 22nd, 2018

"Robert Sean Leonard, Katie Finneran and Paul Sparks all provide a deep understanding of and respect for the characters they play. I felt like I was spying on two very private scenes. Andrew Lieberman’s set design is fabulously sparse...Our attention is on the words spoken, the cadence of the language, the inflection of emotion. And the stark difference between Peter’s life and Jerry’s."
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Stage Buddy
March 6th, 2018

"The choices of this production make the venerable playwright's intentions ultimately fall flat...The setting of 'Homelife' -- or more appropriately, its lack of setting -- is detrimental to the territory that it navigates...Sparks steals the show as the off-putting yet endearing stranger...Each acting decision he made added a depth unworthy of the flat staging...'Homelife' was meant to complete 'The Zoo Story', but despite strong performances something is still missing from this production."
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Front Mezz Junkies
March 11th, 2018

"Under the smart and solid direction of Lila Neugebauer, these ideas of isolation, loneliness, social disparity and the dehumanization of our population get an added layer of dissatisfaction and animalistic urges that are lying just underneath us all...Albee’s first one-act creation is an incredible construction, perfectly orchestrated like a mad symphony leading us toward a smashing ending that will bring down the house."
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Exeunt Magazine
February 22nd, 2018

"Together with her talented cast, Albee’s crisp-as-ever writing, and an estimable contribution from scenic designer Andrew Lieberman, Neugebauer has crafted a production full of meticulously muted human longing...The great success of both Finneran and Sparks is showing us how Ann and Jerry are on exploratory journeys as they speak to Peter...Ultimately, this production shows how 'At Home at the Zoo' is about the space between that desire and execution."
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T
March 23rd, 2018

"Sparks delivers a scintillating performance as Jerry...Leonard’s Peter provides a perfect foil to Jerry... Leonard skillfully navigate the playwright’s cat-and-mouse game bringing it to a horrific and somewhat unexpected ending. The audience hangs on Sparks’ every word...Under Neugebauer’s capable direction, the three actors distill Albee’s characters with authenticity and believability. No captives are taken here in this brilliant battle for survival, personhood, and forgiveness."
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New York Theater
February 28th, 2018

"'Homelife' is decidedly second-tier Albee, a dry, oddly paced if witty look at a privileged, over-educated couple who are disconnected from one another and from themselves...Yet Neugebauer makes as good a case as seems possible for this play, thanks to the casting of Leonard and Finneran...Sparks, is spectacular...'The Zoo Story' still stands out; its vigor and humor and rage and sadness have not been destroyed by time, nor by its creator."
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Broadway Blog
February 26th, 2018

"I'm not sure…that 'Homelife' greatly illuminates what happens in the older play, where Peter's enigmatic character can be viewed as one of its strengths…Some of the dialogue has been updated but this makes other things, like the references to pornographic playing cards, seem almost anachronistic…Finneran offers passionate curiosity and grace…Sparks captures Jerry's angst and anger with scary friendliness...Leonard, offering an acting lesson in how to listen, is equally compelling."
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Village Voice
February 22nd, 2018

"Electrifying...Neugebauer unlocks something essential in this production. Freeing the text from notions of how Albee should be staged, she does away with the chilly, cerebral distance that can feel so stilted...Neugebauer lets the menace of the play arise from its animal wildness, the pleasure of it from its human comedy. Neugebauer is in her element, and we are in Albee's...This is what Neugebauer so vibrantly excavates: The feral geography of human impulse and desire."
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Times Square Chronicles
March 4th, 2018

"Superbly acted and has so much to say...Leonard is perfect as Peter...Finneran makes us search inside ourselves for breaking the status quo. Every emotion shows in her face and body. But it is Sparks who is thrilling...He is unpredictable, and he is humanity on the verge of rebellion...Neugebauer directs this show with a conviction, making Albee's statements about class straightforward. We see what it takes to set off a time bomb in humanity."
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What Should We Do?
February 28th, 2018

"Superbly revived...The jazzily unpredictable conception of Jerry makes 'The Zoo Story' the more compelling half of the program...Sparks makes a full meal of Jerry...Finneran has comic chops galore...Leonard responds with expertly nuanced work...All three give master classes...Neugebauer directs with exacting precision and a fine ear for Albee's music...Richly satisfying: stage poetry, fine actors, and a fresh look at a writer who inventoried the forms of our civilized savagery."
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Gotham Playgoer
March 9th, 2018

"It is hard to imagine a production that makes a stronger case for the conjoined plays. All three actors are superb in their roles...Leonard turns reacting into an art form. Finneran’s Ann is a sympathetic presence. Sparks’s Jerry is mesmerizing, deftly building the sense of menace. Even if you know what’s coming, you will be shocked. My only reservations are about 'Homelife'...However, as a warmup to the main event, it serves its purpose and the main event is not to be missed."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
February 24th, 2018

"Evidence of why the late Albee was such an effective playwright is dynamically on display in the juxtaposition of his 'The Zoo Story' and 'Homelife', which he decreed must be performed together...Albee's dialogue demonstrates emotional gaps, emphasized with well-timed silences...The production affords the perfect opportunity to enjoy and scrutinize his work anew, thanks to the insightful staging by Neugebauer and the sublime acting of her cast."
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W
March 8th, 2018

"It’s realistic, warm, amusing, and to the outside observer, worrisome. Both actors are utterly natural... Paul Sparks is terrific. His quicksilver performance is like watching a fine jazz musician...Director Lila Neugebauer has encouraged performances like a capella vocals. Nothing interferes with or distracts from the inhabited reality of three people before us.Every move is dictated by the moment. Focus is absolute. Fastidious and discriminating work."
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T
March 17th, 2018

"'The Zoo Story,' Albee’s shattering one-act of alienation and violence which put him on the map back in 1959...This body-blow of a play asks disturbing questions on what it means to be a human being and how our materialistic society was changing our values...'Homelife' is definitely the lesser work. It follows the same template of many of his later pieces...Fortunately, director Lila Neugebauer injects the same vitality into these uneven halves."
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Broadway & Me
March 3rd, 2018

"The cast, under Lila Neugebauer's pitch-perfect direction, is superb. Paul Sparks brings a finely-calibrated mix of peevishness and unpredictability to the role of Jerry. And Katie Finneran, most familiar to me as a master comedienne, shows that she is equally deft at the drama stuff with her poignant portrayal of Ann. But the MVP is Robert Sean Leonard, whose role is the least flashy but the most essential and, in Leonard's fearless performance, the most devastating."
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Stage Left
February 26th, 2018

"The two plays written 45 years apart, are now performed together offering audiences a chance to see the brilliance of a great American writer evolve across decades. Coursing with his characteristic sexuality, from the explicit to the implicit, the play offers a compelling exploration of the disconnection between people as seen through mundane, performative interactions...Thoroughly captivating, tour-de-force performances by the cast under the exquisite direction of Neugebauer."
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Daily Beast
February 21st, 2018

"A wonderfully acted and polished production directed by Lila Neugebauer, makes the two halves, the play itself, cohere brilliantly...Leonard is excellent as the husband unwilling to be stirred, rumpled and benign, and Finneran is just as natural as his first chivvier...Sparks is so good that he puts the audience on edge immediately...In the final cataclysm of the play we see how fast and devastatingly humans can be pushed to their limits."
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Financial Times (UK)
February 22nd, 2018

"Albee’s writing is so lean and nuanced that there are no lurches between madness and civilisation. Monstrousness here blends seamlessly into the fabric of normality...The expanded version broadens that psychodrama into a universal parable of man’s struggle to restrain his animal nature. Lila Neugebauer’s stripped-down staging suggests how fragile such bonds can be. And her 'Zoo' injects an electrifying dose of terror into the ersatz wilderness at the heart of New York."
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scribicide
February 21st, 2018

"I'm not sure 'Homelife' and 'The Zoo Story' come together to make a cohesive two-act play; they feel, rather, like two one-acts about the same character. But who cares? When the writing is this meticulous, when the acting this effortless, I won't be the one to complain."
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Newsday
February 21st, 2018

"It's easy to see how the more recently written play clarifies the early one, especially deepening the character of the stodgy publishing executive Peter...In 'Homelife, his wife, Ann (Finneran, and talk about simmering), seems to be longing for something rougher, more animalistic, in their marriage...Meticulously staged by Neugebauer, Jerry brings out those animal instincts in Peter, with a powerful ending that drew gasps the night I saw it."
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Z
February 22nd, 2018

"Albee's world is a bleak place, and yet it’s so much fun to be there, at least from the audience’s side of things. The new production of two of Albee’s short plays does his difficult world proud...Although Paul Sparks, as Jerry, starts by capturing the perfect creepy-charismatic balance, his performance depends too much on a small bag of mad tricks...Life is strange, says the brilliant Albee...In Albee’s disturbing vision, it’s also compelling, brilliant theater."
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Magical MissTari Tour
February 28th, 2018

"Simply fantastic...Leonard and Finneran are terrific. They're naturally funny and find the humor so easily, yet they can turn deadly serious on a dime, and not seem false...Spontaneously performed, the words just sounded so fresh and new...'The Zoo Story' remains as funny and as terrifying as ever... Sparks' Jerry...found a terrific balance of smart, funny, scary and sad...The way Albee uses language, in both acts, is masterful. Obviously. I loved every minute of watching the show."
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BSonArts
February 21st, 2018

"This Signature production is valuable because we see these two dramas made into one that literally spans the life of one of our greatest playwrights...Remarkable in the way it illustrates a through-line in Albee’s oeuvre...The Signature production is near perfect. The real standout among a very strong cast is Paul Sparks as Jerry...Ms. Neugebauer deserves a lot of credit for exploiting Mr. Sparks' remarkable talent."
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