Branden Jacobs-Jenkins makes his Vineyard Theatre mainstage debut with this new play about young coworkers in a fierce work environment all vying for top status. More…
An ambitious group of editorial assistants at a notorious Manhattan magazine each hopes for a starry life of letters and a book deal before they turn thirty. But when an ordinary humdrum workday becomes anything but, the stakes for who will get to tell their own story become higher than ever.
"All you need to know is that the bitingly funny and fierce 'Gloria' is one of the year’s best shows. What playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins says about American society, the media and how we package celebrity and tragedy is as spot-on as it is depressing...'Gloria' is an adrenaline rush of a show, but it also makes you think. Let’s just say it hits the bull’s-eye." Full Review
"The playwright handles his serious themes in a thoughtful, provocative manner, displaying his penchant for meta-theatricality with the startling device of having nearly all of the performers take on multiple roles that playfully comment on the others...A rare example of a contemporary play that keeps us constantly guessing where it's headed, 'Gloria' is a work not to be easily forgotten." Full Review
"Gloria, like a classical movement from Handel or Vivaldi, makes the mundane sublime. With its superb action and witty yet emotionally moving script the play takes us on an exhausting and exhaustive journey. With the pulse of the first act, the rest of the scenes ripple hoping to come to stasis; and the audience hopes, nay prays, too. Brace yourself for an unassuming play that packs a wallop. This piece represents how good off Broadway can be." Full Review
“The first play of real brilliance of this new season...Jacobs-Jenkins has constructed a bear trap of a play marked by a jaw-dropping first-act curtain and a second act that appears to wander off in many directions but does nothing of the kind...What is especially remarkable is how he strips his characters bare, revealing their sharp-elbows and self-aggrandizing natures, while also granting them their authentic pain...Savagely funny, deeply upsetting, and profoundly compassionate.” Full Review
"It's ridiculously rich and, as the layers accumulate, powerful and moving stuff that implicates everything about the news and social culture in which we're mired, and forces us, like the characters, to confront our complicity in every part of it...As for the actors, they're all well cast and no one strikes a totally false note, but none lands with quite the precision that might be ideal...As drama, as comedy, as commentary, and as theatre, 'Gloria' is just plain glorious." Full Review
"While you might see this cliffhanger coming a mile away, in the hands of this playwright and this director, it feels as though it's the first time something like this has ever been done...Delivered by the astonishing cast of six, 'Gloria' sings with the vitality of youth...'Gloria' also contains one of the best, lighting-fast special effects to be seen off-Broadway in recent memory. Like the play itself, its shocking believability will make your jaw drop." Full Review
"'Gloria' is truly explosive dramatic work that by ensuring we 'react,' tries to save us from becoming as detached as its characters...For all its use of meta elements, 'Gloria' remains quite straightforward and evades becoming too cerebral, it’s as if the playwright realized he was in danger of turning the play into one of the very elements it openly criticizes. It openly invites us to stop and think things over, reminding us that sometimes silence is truly the most eloquent form of communic... Full Review
"This is a fast-paced drama that will stay in your mind long after it’s over. I won’t list any spoilers here, but trust me, you will learn why the play is called 'Gloria' and you will have quite the intermission chatter...Each scene begins and ends with classical music, and each scene contains quite a lot of quarreling. In this brilliant piece, it’s as if Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins is saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same." Full Review
"Evan Cabnet’s direction is smooth, the ensemble is polished, and the writing is filled with lively and often very funny language. While Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins’s insights into working at a faux-New Yorker may not be what you’ll get from Mary Norris’s book, they’re still enough to provide you with one of the better new plays of the young season." Full Review
"Critics have been asked not to reveal 'aspects of the play...' This makes it tough to offer the full flavor of 'Gloria,' since it’s in reaction to these traumatic events that the play darkens and deepens, providing more illumination into the characters, and raising some intriguing questions...Does it smell of revenge, or is its purpose to make larger points? Probably both. Would it have been produced without the bombshell that I can’t talk about? Probably not. And that’s ironic, considering ... Full Review
"Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a playwright on a roll, displaying diversity with this contemporary work that’s a world away from his sly, slavery-themed 'An Octoroon.' The new play isn’t as daring or deep, but it’s dexterous and entertaining...Director Evan Cabnet has assembled a terrific cast of newcomers and seasoned stage pros. Most play more than one role and impress in each...The script isn’t airtight...But the dialogue tolls like a tuning fork and captures everyday interoffice insecurity." Full Review
"The six actors are outstanding. The sets are noteworthy. I suspect that 'Gloria' will have life beyond its Vineyard run, and it’s very much worth seeking out if it plays regionally in your neck of the woods. I am very glad to be introduced to this playwright and look forward to his future work." Full Review
"The play begins with a good deal of humor. It is difficult to see where he is leading us at first, but it's the aftermath of the climax of the first of three scenes that is important...It was fine, Evan Cabnet's production could stand a bit of tightening, a clearer sense of tempo. That will no doubt come in time...'Gloria' it is the work of an important contemporary playwright and well worth seeing." Full Review
"The play's satirical streak—its sic transit gloria mundi attitude toward the media and the way it distorts us into frenzy—is accented (and sometimes stressed too hard) in Evan Cabnet’s direction. But the play has powerful things to say about how we tune in and tune out. After the shock, it’s the human touches that linger." Full Review
“This dark satire is funny, sad, deeply disturbing, and revealing as Evan Cabnet deliciously molds this talented cast like putty in his hands...If you want the scoop on how the media shapes lives, visit any magazine publishing office or let Jenkins give you his interpretation...Without a doubt, Jenkins is a playwright of note and I eagerly look forward to seeing more of his work.” Full Review
"Unfortunately, the second and third acts are not really compelling, aside from deft backstabbing and jockeying for deals. The suspense that Jacobs-Jenkins and Cabnet created with the first-act denouement and first-rate dialogue can't override the fact that the entertainment industry's utter lack of interest in the truth is not news. Still, 'Gloria' bears a persuasive message about being a little nicer to colleagues at work, because you never know what's really in that lunch bag." Full Review
“In Jacobs-Jenkins’s new comedy/drama ‘Gloria’, several low echelon editorial assistants at an unnamed Manhattan cultural magazine are spending a typical day at work. All appears calm and relatively stress free. But a harrowing event brings about a sea change in everyone’s behavior...’Gloria’ has the benefit of a terrific artistic team, from director Cabnet, to an extremely talented cast of six actors, many of whom double so convincingly that it’s difficult to detect." Full Review
"The author builds up to the Act I climax slowly, without much warning, providing a heightened buzz at intermission. He continues to surprise, shock and confound throughout the play. Director Evan Cabnet has molded his group of actors into a finely tuned machine. The players are just so in sync with each other." Full Review
"'Gloria' is a straightforward, sharp-toothed comic drama, rather in the acidic vein of Neil LaBute, Bruce Norris and Theresa Rebeck...I don’t want to make excessive claims for 'Gloria.' It isn’t written in the immortal, self-defining, action-shaping language of similar skewering comedies in which you get high listening to the propulsive, adrenalized talk. At this point, Mr. Cabnet’s production doesn’t have that compelling zing...But 'Gloria' allows us to glimpse the real, familiar, fallible ... Full Review
"It is the kind of play that undergoes a dramatic shift in tone from Act One to Act Two... Even before the drama becomes heightened, the play (ably directed by Evan Cabnet with fine performances) provides an all too realistic depiction of office politics and gossiping. If the second half is heavy-handed, Jacobs-Jenkins gets his points across while providing plenty of satire." Full Review
"Under Evan Cabnet’s barbed direction, a smart cast applies cutting wit to satirize five ruthlessly ambitious editorial assistants and the social outcast they make the butt of their jokes. The humor is dark and cruel, but terribly funny — until it suddenly isn’t. At which point, the comedy jumps the rails and doesn’t get back on track — until it suddenly does... The scribe veers so sharply into the dark side that he abandons the vital humor that made this bleak satire of the fashionable liter... Full Review
"But the play never sings with interpretive, inflammatory meaning...The words these characters speak don’t hold any compelling mystery about who they are, A touching, penetrating point about how each type of person we know, with minor adjustments, could be someone else. It’s the play’s only observation worthy of one of America’s most exciting dramatists." Full Review
"'Gloria' is a cartoonishly flat close-up on a single focus of interest...'Gloria' is no more and no less than the sum of its parts: sharp dialogue, a mostly latent commentary on race, and those irredeemable characters. The combination makes for a comedy about all that is wrong with publishing but not much more." Full Review
"In 'Gloria' especially, he toys with audience expectation as a form of drama in itself, regardless of content; indeed, much of the content is of very little consequence...How Hollywood degrades the event further is not only disappointing as a dramatic device but also just plain stale. It may well be that Jacobs-Jenkins is using the staleness deliberately, that he wants you to choke on your giggles. The whole play has that cart-before-the-horse feeling, as if written backward from its effects... Full Review
See it if You want a truly modern and bold piece of theater, one that perfectly blends comedy and drama - and one that you will never forget.
Don't see it if You don't want to be shaken up. The play is surprisingly uplifting, but it's not without its grim view of humanity. But read it at least!
See it if you want to see an incredible piece of theatre that is hilarious, shocking, disturbing, sad and thought provoking.
Don't see it if you cannot handle shocking and intense violence.
See it if you want a smart, thought-provoking drama that makes you look at our world in new ways. Fantastic play and production.
Don't see it if you're squeamish about violence.
See it if You want to see an original, shocking, brilliant satire with some amazing ensemble acting.
Don't see it if Modern-day satire among the silliest and most terrifying aspects of our society don't interest you.
See it if You want to see superb acting and to be transported to the world in the play. It was theater at its best. So shocking and visceral.
Don't see it if You don't like upsetting topics
See it if You're a woman. You're a man trying to understand women. You have engaged in political debate or struggle.
Don't see it if You have no interest in progressive politics and no patience with protesters of any stripe. Or maybe you should....
See it if you like being surprised at the theater; you want to engage in a complex story about ambition in our contemporary society.
Don't see it if you don't like putting in the effort with a play.
See it if you want to become more familiar with Gloria Steiner's biography and her involvement in the Women's Movement.
Don't see it if you know the story of Gloria Steiner and are not interested in women's monologues telling details of her life and the Women's Movement
See it if You want to know the history of the woman’s movement and if you like Christine Lahti
Don't see it if You are expecting something other than a docu- drama. There is little emotional depth and a non existant ending
See it if you like intelligent theater on topical subjects, in this case how society responds to violence. Interesting, unusual premise, well-executed
Don't see it if you want a perfect piece. Set-up in the office went on too long and wasn't funny enough. Violence was shocking; its aftermath fascinating.
See it if you are interested in feminism, want to be inspired, enjoy frequently being "lectured" to, enjoy good acting & exposure to important themes
Don't see it if you expect a dramatic script, dislike frequent lecturing, inspirational rallies about feminism and a somewhat slight biography.
See it if You have ever worked at a soul-crushing cubicle job and wished revenge on your coworkers
Don't see it if you get impatient with talky (but well-written and acted) set-piece monologues
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies