Happy Birthday, Wanda June
Closed 2h 20m
Happy Birthday, Wanda June
81

Happy Birthday, Wanda June NYC Reviews and Tickets

81%
(272 Reviews)
Positive
88%
Mixed
9%
Negative
3%
Members say
Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Relevant, Quirky

About the Show

Wheelhouse Theater Company offers a return engagement of famed novelist Kurt Vonnegut's rarely produced satire. A searing and darkly comedic look at American culture.

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Member Reviews (272)

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928 Reviews | 379 Followers
90
Quirky, Relevant, Great writing, Clever, Great acting

See it if You like stories with topical plots, this one, though written during the Vietnam era could not be more relevant to today’s headlines.

Don't see it if You don’t like a lot of symbolism, exaggeration and satire used to make some very serious points. Read more

764 Reviews | 212 Followers
84
Funny, Great staging, Quirky, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if you like the offbeat offered by Vonnegut presented in a glamorous set with solid acting, making you laugh and compare to today's newsmakers.

Don't see it if you want a calm evening in the theater. This is an energetic romp from beginning to end that may be offensive to some.

612 Reviews | 269 Followers
71
Hemingwayesque figure returns from the jungle after missing for 8 years: wild absurdist comedy by vonnegut where macho-aggressive culture returning figure represents runs head long into post-woodstock culture

See it if inventively/w humor reflects macho aggressiveness in set, characters mimicking animals, songs of the '50s/60s: "you belong to me"

Don't see it if dated satire of Hemingway machismo; frenetic and overacted (other than by fine K McCluggage), more cartoon than sharp social criticism Read more

567 Reviews | 147 Followers
78
Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Satirical

See it if Errant husband returns to family after extended absence. In Vonnegut's testosterone-fueled satirical world, all alphas are apes and "A"s.

Don't see it if Shag carpet underfoot! Poly-carbon allergy alert! Wall-to-wall, even under your seat. High prod. values, but 2 hrs of Neanderthal caricature

481 Reviews | 317 Followers
70
Great acting, Engrossing, although a bit too long, would have been better as a one-act, Sadly relevant and thought provoking

See it if entertaining, excellent acting. Play is OK but not great. Interesting in way fourth wall is broken throughout. Nice 1970s costumes.

Don't see it if you won't enjoy an actor wildly roaming around the stage in an animal-like & violent manner. Incredible performance, difficult to watch. Read more

488 Reviews | 103 Followers
29
A big confusing mess

See it if You have the patience to hang in there. The first act of this play is bad including the acting. But all of the acting gets better

Don't see it if you like to understand what you are watching. Read more

463 Reviews | 128 Followers
86
Clever, Absurdist, Intelligent, Farcical, Relevant

See it if You want to experience a carefully crafted production that is definitely “theatre of the absurd” as well as sadly relevant ! It’s Vonnegut �

Don't see it if You can’t go with the flow ! You don’t like plays that ridicule traditional roles of masculinity. You don’t like Kurt Vonnegut’s style.

464 Reviews | 70 Followers
81
Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Dizzying, Quirky

See it if you love brilliantly staged & acted over the top farce.This surreal show is over long, but truly fun. Great tech elements.Direction is great

Don't see it if you want a show with a real point to make. This is a very funny and well acted fantastical farce.

Critic Reviews (18)

Time Out New York
October 23rd, 2018

"Although some of Vonnegut's surreal 1970 satire is amusingly dated, there are moments so eerily prescient that you're jolted back to the present...Director Jeff Wise helps his crackerjack cast navigate a tricky tonal tightrope between broad shtick and heartbreaking insight...Even when his absurdist storytelling gets muddled, Vonnegut’s message resounds like the wake-up call of a bugle...The piece is ultimately an indictment of all men who embrace sexism, racism and violence."
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Theatermania
October 24th, 2018

"For anyone willing to look, Wheelhouse and director Jeffrey Wise have staged a marvelous abyss...The growling, slobbering, center of the play is O'Connell, who gives one of the most uninhibited performances I've ever witnessed...All of the actors come together in impressive harmony for the show's flash musical numbers...Wise directs Vonnegut's dark comedy with vaudevillian panache."
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New York Stage Review
October 23rd, 2018

“As directed by Wise, it’s loud and confrontational...but it’s no more than that. Just letting a tyrannical hollow man storm around isn’t enough. It’s less than enough. It’s alienating. Making matters worse, the activities handed the other characters have no helpful afflatus. What must be said, however, is that neither Wise nor the actors should share blame for the two-act, two-hour tedium. They’re trying hard...That onus goes to author Vonnegut. He’s solely responsible for this laughless wonder.”
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Theater Pizzazz
October 28th, 2018

"A simple, straightforward style and biting satirical content...What O’Connell manages to do, along with director Wise, is to erase the outdatedness that’s hard to ignore in Vonnegut’s work. O’Connell is a dose of mania, popping in and out of characters and caricatures that are both amusing and infuse the scene with greater nuance...A delightful, wonderfully acted and directed performance that delivers a meaningful message but without hammering the audience over the head."
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Times Square Chronicles
October 24th, 2018

“Written by novelist and short story writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr. in the 70’s, this play is even more relevant today...The entire cast delivers captivating performances, but Jason O’Connell as Harold Ryan is not to be missed. This man is so mesmerizing that you cannot take your eyes off him...Wise makes intelligent choices and really allows Vonnegut’s words and ideas to shine through. Not always easy in an absurdist play.”
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
October 24th, 2018

“Thoroughly zany in style and performance under the direction of Wise, but it all makes sense thematically in its inherent attack on war, man’s proclivity for killing, inflated heroics and human behavior...The author’s lines add up to a steady beat of stripping away pretension, undermining phony wartime heroism, and mocking machismo...It would be shortsighted to expect a totally logical pot. The acting fits into the concept and mad tone, with excellent cast members.”
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T
October 24th, 2018

"The glorious production is everything a work by Vonnegut should be: surreal, unpredictable, laugh-out-loud hysterical, extraordinarily intelligent, bold, daring, and challenging...Director Jeffrey Wise has a firm grasp of the material, in total control of the chaos...It’s pure Vonnegut: a potent look at America — and how much it hasn’t changed in nearly fifty years...An all-around triumph, one of the best plays of the season, and a sharp reminder of Vonnegut’s immense legacy."
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N
October 23rd, 2018

"Masculinity gone haywire could be the basis for a pointed satire but the thing about a successful satire is...it’s funny. ‘Wanda June’ mostly isn’t. Mostly it feels as if it’s playing to the cheap seats. It might have had more salience in 1970...Today that kind of material feels as hoary as the mother-in-law jokes the Vegas comics were doing...Satire that amounts to telling the audience what it already believes...isn’t cutting. It’s just flattery.”
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