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New York | Ends Jan 27

Gloria: A Life

From 16 critic and 24 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Relevant, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant

About the show

Christine Lahti stars as iconic feminist Gloria Steinem in this world premiere biographical drama directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus ("Waitress," "Pippin"). More…

"Gloria: A Life" presents a richly detailed tapestry about one of the most inspiring and remarkable women of our time. Five decades after Gloria Steinem began raising her voice for equality and championing those of others, her vision is as urgent as ever. 


"Arguably the most potent, informative, emotionally riveting and ultimately uplifting theatre piece currently playing in New York...In one sense, the play comes off as a personal appearance. With the audience seated arena style in an oval surrounding the playing area the history-making activist talks about America's current political landscape...As directed with the typically strong hand of Diane Paulus...there is also a sense of story theatre to the proceedings." Full Review

Front Row Center

“Mann’s ‘Gloria – a Life’ is as thought-provoking, educational, inspirational, and surprising as is Ms. Steinem herself. Although I occasionally questioned Mann’s style, her subject was so compelling, I was rapt, riveted...Lahti looks so much like Steinem’s younger self they could be twins...The evening unfolds as a series of ‘Aha!’ moments. With the help of six remarkable actors who comprise the ensemble...Gloria tells us about, and takes us through those moments.” Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

“’Gloria: A Life’ isn’t a straightforward bio-play. It’s a unique, deeply moving performance created in the hopeful, conversational spirit of its extraordinary subject, an act of looking back in order to look forward...For some, ‘Gloria: A Life’ might be a visit to an old friend, a love letter, an affirmation, a manifesto, an encouragement, or an experience of catalyzation or catharsis. It’s all these things, and it’s also a lesson.” Full Review


“Diane Paulus has staged Emily Mann's wonderful play about the long and influential life of Gloria Steinem to create an experience that's more like having a conversation than watching a play...Christine Lahti not only convincingly inhabits the titular role but is a reasonably convincing Steinem look-alike...Mann's script is stuffed with countless other both humorous and moving defining moments in Steinem's personal and professional life." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"A moving, enlightening, and inspiring show...It’s half storytelling, half consciousness-raising — a support group in trying times...The seven members of the cast are storytellers, telling us the stories of Steinem’s life but also as many or more memorable events in the women’s movement that she witnessed...It’s not that 'Gloria' spares us details of what women were (and are) up against. But 'Gloria' has the clear aim of bucking up the audience." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

“Directed in the round by Paulus and put together by an almost entirely female creative team, the production is not as theatrically audacious as its subject was politically daring. What it does is give many audience members a release valve in our tumultuous times...Lahti gives an affecting, calmly determined portrayal; it's hard to think of a better guide than this particular actor through the life of someone who has embodied the fight for women's rights for half a century.” Full Review


“Intelligent, agenda-heavy biodrama...Lahti has perfected the look and, more importantly, the intensity and fervor of the activist at the forefront of the women's rights movement...An ensemble of six versatile actresses portrays many of the women who joined in the trailblazing...You learn fascinating bits about Steinem along the way, from interesting to sad to surprising...All of this leads to the final talking circle, which is clearly this production's raison d'être.” Full Review

The Wrap

"Mann’s well-crafted play — which is equal parts biography, history lesson, TED talk and call to action — encourages just the sort of cathartic engagement that was on display with audience members...The show’s real power, though, comes in Steinem’s — and Lahti’s — ability to give voice to the deep-seated feelings of powerlessness and frustration and exploitation that many women feel — and to channel those feelings into meaningful action." Full Review


“A stage experience that’s one part theater, one part consciousness-raising group therapy session...’Gloria: A Life’ offers an experience that promises to be a more intimate recollection of Steinem’s journey...Act I present the events that would come to define Steinem’s life...Act II...Becomes a real talking circle...In which attendees can air their feelings: their reactions to what they’ve seen or their grievances with the state of the world and the paltry progress for women within it.” Full Review


“A talking circle for the resistance is happening at the Daryl Roth Theatre...The sweep of Steinem’s legacy is the subject of Mann’s play, directed with an earnest warmth by Paulus...Mann’s story rides the swell and crest of second wave feminism...If 'Gloria' presents an uncomplicated view of an undoubtedly complex woman, such freedom from ambivalence works to unite viewers behind a common cause that’s urgent as ever. ” Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"More akin to the format of an academic lecture, political rally, and talkback...Played with personable commitment and understated emotion by Lahti, the overall mood of the eponymous figure, and the tone...is retrospective and deferential...If you’re a longtime fan of the feminist icon, 'Gloria: A Life' will come as a welcome tribute to her contributions and legacy, though one offering few insights or information that you don’t already know or remember." Full Review

The New York Times

“Something powerful is happening at the Daryl Roth Theater — but it isn’t so much the play as the audience...A paint-by-numbers portrait of Gloria Steinem...For those who already know the story... from Steinem’s memoir...the play itself — as opposed to the experience of it — does not have much new to add...We get something of a historical pageant...These powerful stories get short shrift in Paulus’ staging...This gives ‘Gloria: A Life’ the wedged-in, medley feel of a jukebox musical.” Full Review


“Here, despite the savvy and inventive direction of Diane Paulus and an extremely appealing central performance by Christine Lahti (aided by six excellent ensemble members juggling almost countless roles), that is the case. Indeed, one wishes that Mann had been a little less concerned about hitting all the expected notes, even briefly (Steinem's short ‘undercover’ stint as a Playboy Bunny, the founding of Ms. Magazine, et al.) and given us a bit more of Steinem's mostly untold story.” Full Review

Tim Teeman

"An uncritical but still inspiring survey of the feminist icon’s life...Less a piece of theatre and more an act of communion and consciousness-raising...Yes, the excellent, charismatic Christine Lahti skillfully embodies Steinem in the play’s first act...But the play comes to an even more emotional and forceful life in its second half...The first half is rousing to watch, but rarely willing to burrow deeper and more critically into its subject...A highly curated and selective positive biograp... Full Review

Time Out New York

“During the bioplay ‘Gloria: A Life’, Steinem quotes the oft-cited maxim that ‘the personal is political'...When ‘Gloria’ works, it’s when the political feels personal...Judged as a piece of drama, Mann’s retelling of Steinem’s story is unexciting and by-the-numbers; as a piece of performance, Lahti’s portrait seems both sleepy and stiff. But 'Gloria' is not really supposed to be either drama or traditional performance. Mann and Paulus envision it as an old-fashioned consciousness-raising ri... Full Review

New York Stage Review

“If you’re in need of a little inspiration. some reassurance that the world is not the total dumpster fire that Fox News would have us believe...’Gloria: A Life’ is just the ticket...Less a bioplay and more a crash course in feminism...Mann never makes it feel like we’re getting a history lesson....After the story comes...a 20-minute discussion...Whether the show needs this particular portion probably depends on your personal taste.” Full Review

Funny, Absorbing, Refreshing, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You admire Gloria Steinem and want to learn more about her journey in the women’s movement.

Don't see it if You aren’t interested in the history of women’s struggles.

Also Ms. Steinem was at the talkback on October 20, and I had no idea she w... Read more Read less

Overrated, Slow, Dated

See it if You are interested in her life. If you want to see good acting.

Don't see it if If you want a show that goes deeper, deeper into her life. A faster paced show.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Relevant

See it if You want to learn about the second wave of feminism and connecting with people who are passionate about fighting for women's rights today.

Don't see it if If you are hostile toward feminism and current movements like #MeToo and #BelieveSurvivors.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great staging

See it if you are interested in the history of women's struggles, appreciate a great ensemble cast and clever staging, want to catch Christine Lahti

Don't see it if you want to remain ignorant of what women have overcome and yet are still facing

Also Now more than ever we need people to wake up and vote. This show is a ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Resonant, Indulgent

See it if you're interested in learning more about Gloria Steinem and don't know much about her.

Don't see it if you want a great theatrical experience.

During previews
Must see, Resonant, Riveting

See it if you care about equal rights under the law. You will think a lot after you have seen this important show.

Don't see it if You yearn for "the good old days" or have negative feelings about civil rights

During previews
Exquisite, Masterful, Must see, Profound, Relevant

See it if You want to feel hopeful about the current state of the world. You admire Gloria Steinem and her fellow activists' work or want to learn

Don't see it if you're happy with the last two years' politics.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if A near perfect merging of history lesson and biography with masterful cast of strong women

Don't see it if You have no interest in women's history

During previews
Absorbing, Profound, Relevant

See it if Gloria is up to date...today's world! A must see for women and men during these turbulent times . Christine Lahti is outstanding.

Don't see it if You are not sensitive enough to know what is happening to our country and to women.

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if If you have any connection to the feminist movement, are frustrated by today's political climate and can use some inspiration. Just go c it!

Don't see it if you don't like history, politics or want to keep your head in the sand.

During previews
Vivid impactful graphics, Strong ensemble support, Celebration of a life at the heart of feminism

See it if Christine Lahti portrays Gloria Steinem & tells highlights of a life’s journey from young woman to leader to elder of the feminist movement

Don't see it if You want a traditionally structured play. You find feminism threatening.

During previews
Essential. emotional. enraging

See it if you lived through it, you want to educate anyone who didn't live through it, you want to laugh, cry, think, feel, take action, be renewed

Don't see it if realizing how far we haven't come will break your heart

Also A wonderful, talented, entertaining cast captures the range of history... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Resonant

See it if You’re a feminist who remembers what the struggle was like and if you’re furious about today’s political climate.

Don't see it if You’re an angry person who doesn’t connect to the larger culture.

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Must see, Relevant

See it if If are a woman over 60 you will relive important parts of your life. If you are too young to have lived then, it’s a solid history lesson.

Don't see it if You only like traditional narratives or are not someone who appreciates women.

Also There are some problems with the play, the discussion circle at the en... Read more Read less

During previews
Clever, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if Christine Lahti was wonderful,it was well staged with an interesting cast. I wanted more about her younger life

Don't see it if The audience was mainly women that grew up in the 6Os It had a nice talk back,my husband would not have enjoyed the show

During previews
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you're a woman who supports other women and are inspired by Gloria Steinem or want to learn more about her.

Don't see it if you like traditional shows

Also The talk circle after the show was emotional and touching. I think eve... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Documentary-style, Educational for the young, Talking circle, In-the-moment topicality

See it if you think a show that celebrates Gloria Steinham's accomplishments will make you feel better about today's quagmire, or you want to learn.

Don't see it if you don't want to immerse in feminist history.

Also Tells an important historical story that is more educational and proce... Read more Read less

During previews
Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You are a Steinem devotee and if you like a show that is more like a documentary film highlighting her accomplishments

Don't see it if You want insight into Steinem's character and want to see a character you care about.

During previews
Well acted, Moving, Similar to 2011 documentary, Talk circle is amateurish

See it if you want to feel sisterhood in these dark days. Audience is 90% women of a certain age. Gloria has led an important, meaningful life.

Don't see it if you want real insights into the woman. Script tracks 2011 doc closely. Most additions meh (abortion stories). Theater-in-round frustrates.

Also Gloria has lots of great stories and lines...but most are included in ... Read more Read less

During previews
Relevant, Interesting multimedia staging, Gloria steinem bio/drama

See it if A walk down memory lane with exhortations to keep up action somehow evinces disappointment rather than power. Includes audience talk circle.

Don't see it if If Gloria Steinem is not someone you respect, you may be irritated. Show is kept fresh with up to date topics.

During previews
Disappointing, historical, lecture-y, uninspiring, not worthy of the subject matter

See it if You don't know much about Gloria Steinem or her life.Instead of going deep, it summarizes who she is, role she played in the movement

Don't see it if You want a play, rather than a lecture/history. In last half hour there's a "talk circle" where you praise what moved you in the play! Ick.

During previews
Absorbing, Entertaining

See it if you want to know about the history of the womens movement in the 60's-80's

Don't see it if you don't like history or women

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Must see, Relevant

See it if you are a woman of any age who does or does not know anything about the history of the women's movement.

Don't see it if you have no heart.

During previews
Absorbing, Enchanting, Exquisite, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You're male or female with any empathy for women everywhere in time and now. You'll be moved, inspired, laugh and cry till you're weak.

Don't see it if ...you need usual drama. It's a kaleidoscopic happening & multi-format spectacle performed by an ensemble doing many parts. -thrilling!

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