Already closed | 1h 40m | East Village

Fire in Dreamland

From 120 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Disappointing, Slow, Confusing, Absorbing

About the show

Set in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the Public Theater's new drama breaks the boundaries of time and narrative to explore the astonishing things we create in the face of devastation. More…

A disillusioned do-gooder named Kate meets Jaap, a charismatic European making a film about the 1911 fire that burned Coney Island’s Dreamland amusement park to ashes. Desperate for something to live for, Kate buys a ticket on the thrill ride of Jaap’s passion. The only trick is to keep the roller coaster from running off the rails before it destroys them all.

Member Reviews (120)


Great acting, Disappointing, Slow, Confusing, Absorbing
Avg Score

Ambitious, Cliched, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if Jones' captivating performance goes a long way to ease the tedium of this messy, enervating drama w/ Beltran a cipher & Gjokaj a gifted user

Don't see it if Groff's roller coaster of a script Is all dips & turns but no thrills Too many forced metaphors & unexplored themes leave one exhausted

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you're interested in Coney Island history & the creative process in making movies, honest look at how someone can be scammed and rise again

Don't see it if Coney Island, making movies and misbegotten love affairs don't interest you, don't like stories that hint at denouement out of sequence

Disappointing, Slow, Banal, Overrated

See it if Your a/c is broken

Don't see it if You’ve got anything else to do

Confusing, Disjointed

See it if you have patience to figure out what's going on. Lots of symbolism and portentous speeches that went over my head.

Don't see it if you need a clear narrative.

Absorbing, Great acting, Underrated

See it if you appreciate great acting and like stories about vulnerability, deception, or creativity. Pace is good and only 90 minutes.

Don't see it if you don't like shows that require your imagination. I could see why some found it confusing since characters describe movie you don't see.

Superb acting, Resonant, Non-traditional format, Slow at times, Confusing

See it if you like non-traditional format, simply wonderful acting and people trying to find their place in the word, their passion & relationships.

Don't see it if you have to struggle to understand the themes, some slow and tedious parts and dislike characters who labor with what they want out of life.

Slow, Disappointing, Confusing, Cliched

See it if You are interested in some of the history of Coney Island. However, this play was confusing and incoherent.

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy watching an abusive relationship. Hard to believe someone with 2 masters degrees would be taken in with such ease.

Also This play was too predictable and cliched for me to appreciate it.

Ambitious, Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you are jonesing for a fix of Naomi Jones on stage, but know that she doesn’t sing a note in this production.

Don't see it if you are expecting to ride the rollercoaster pictured on the cover of the playbill, because this carnival ride gets stuck on the tracks.

Also Rinne Groff’s 90 minute play about the 1911 fire which burned down the... Read more Read less

Riveting / absorbing / very entertaining, Great lighting / cool set, Excellent acting, Sentimental / romantic, Relevant / refreshing

See it if you're cool w/90min of dreaming vs reality; letting go of inhibition vs honoring responsibility. Show grows on you w/palpable performances.

Don't see it if a handsome con-artist slithering his way around & thru everyone's heart & wallet will easily piss you off. Great acting; NOT to be missed.

Also As soon as you settle in, you're immersed & gone.... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Relevant, Resonant, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if You remember Sandy. You like Brooklyn and the beach. You don't get why these guys are so "compelling."

Don't see it if It does run a little long, but I liked it overall.

Absorbing, Great acting, Serious, Funny

See it if Fire, destruction of Coney Island, watery devastation of Hurricane Sandy. How do we react, recover from total wipe out? How do we recover

Don't see it if You want a fluffy show, clear story, straight timeline.

Also Wonderful performances. Vivid, harrowing descriptions. Historic detail... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Terrific ensemble, Sharp direction and staging, Well written effortless dialogue, Refreshing

See it if You're up for a compelling meditation on stories & storytelling; witnessing & being part of the stagecraft that makes it possible.

Don't see it if Unless you're looking for a perfect play, no reason not to. It's always a pleasure to see fine actors working well in layered performances.

Also Stories—hearing them, telling them, retelling them—are pretty intrinsi... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Entertaining, Indulgent, Slow, Uneven

See it if You want to be mildly entertained, like small theater, support The Public, aren’t looking for a lot of action, or don’t mind simple endings.

Don't see it if You hate “wordy” shows, want something new and exceptional, need big stars, or big action. I was entertained, but have already forgotten why

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if Challenging meditation on art, relationships between artists, time, history and the power of imagination

Don't see it if It’s episodic and jumpy so if you like straight narratives you may not appreciate the mosaic feel of this play

Also This is set after Sandy and focuses on a film about a 1911 fire in Con... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you want to see a drama with good acting.

Don't see it if if you want to see a play that is well written and gives one food for thought.

Also There was a lot of screaming in this play. I didn't like the long mono... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great acting, Quirky, Clever

See it if the show has interesting ideas, interesting staging, excellent acting. It attempts, with partial success, to blend history and today.

Don't see it if The play is ambitious but doesn't really cohere. It tries but can't make the connection between past and present.

Fiery leading lady

See it if First 70% an intimate two character play. Clever set. Big bag of wind unleashed by/on the Public.

Don't see it if Characters nebulous. Woman seduced by manipulative and bossy Dutchman into ruining her life. She thinks he's Orson Welles! Last man buffoon.

Also Artistic director loves writer, so here we are. We must buy a woman wi... Read more Read less

Confusing, Quirky, Slow

See it if you are a Rebecca Naomi Jones fan. She does all she can with the material. It's well acted, just confusing.

Don't see it if you don't do well with having things explained to you. The timeline is confusing and non traditional. It's not a very captivating story.

Confusing, Great singing, Disappointing, Leading no where

See it if You know the actors and want to enjoy there work.

Don't see it if You expect storylines to lead to a definitive end.

Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Slow

See it if You enjoy following a story within a story within a story. There really are 2 or 3 different plays happening here. All interesting.

Don't see it if You expect much insight or historical perspective on the 1911 Dreamland Fire. It’s there, but very thin.

Also Rebecca Naomi Jones carries the ball here and is stunning to watch and... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Slow, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if you like great chemistry among the actors, Coney Island history, interesting plot, imaginative sets and genuine humor in a drama.

Don't see it if you are looking for a big brassy fun night out show or you can't sit still for that long.

Great staging, Great acting, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if You want to see an interesting take on a self discovery story. The show has very interesting storytelling methods with metaphors & flashback

Don't see it if You are easily bored, this show takes a while to pick up. The run time is only 90 min but it felt longer.

Also Rebecca Naomi Jones again amazes me with her skills! The story taking ... Read more Read less

Confusing, Thought-provoking

See it if At times,i felt confused as to where the characters were going.I spoke to other people in the audience and they felt the same as me.The lea

Don't see it if If you can't pay attention to the narrative of the characters involved.

Also d character had a brilliant narrative for spinnig a tale,however.Overa... Read more Read less

Great acting, Entertaining, Intense

See it if you love RNJ - shes a dream on stage and carried this show. Also shows a lot of classic NY scenes that were delightful.

Don't see it if you're looking for a big story. This is a small story that follows a very simple structure.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you are looking for a romantic drama with a touch of history.

Don't see it if you are looking for a history of the Coney Island fire.

July 16th, 2018
"Rinne Groff’s shaky parable of art and love and licorice...Affectionate, but never especially persuasive...The play borrows from the current template of the rom-com, in which love allows a childish man to grow up and an uptight woman to loosen up. But there’s something uglier and yet not ugly en...
read more
July 16th, 2018
"Faltering but beautifully performed dramedy... Director Marissa Wolf does strong work, and Groff’s script includes a number of elegant touches, like time hops and flashbacks...The play’s weakness comes from its lack of a serious central conflict...Its main tragic moments, told in monologue, conc...
read more
July 16th, 2018
"If 'Fire in Dreamland' falters a bit in its tale—which remains compelling overall thanks to Groff’s humor and sensitivity and the production’s game trio of actors—it does so by never quite grabbing us fully by the throat. It has us firmly and kindly by the hand, and it leads us on a largely love...
read more
July 16th, 2018
"This fascinating and funny new play...Jones makes an appealing and instantly relatable everywoman...Director Marissa Wolf has tightly staged this play with jump cuts, denoting a shift in scenes using only a slight pulse in the lights...Groff makes a persuasive argument: That dishonesty exists be...
read more

Related content