Already closed | 2h 20m | Midtown W

Happy Birthday, Wanda June

From 272 member  reviews
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. More…

After being presumed dead for eight years, respected war veteran and big game hunter Harold Ryan returns home. He brings with him an old way of thinking, celebrating a Hemingway-esque machismo and American exceptionalism. Harold soon discovers that the society he returns to has made attempts to progress into a more modern, enlightened cultural narrative. 'Happy Birthday, Wanda June' is a dynamic and often comic meditation on toxic masculinity and a capitalistic America's failed attempts at progress cloaked in honor and morality.

2h 20m | Already closed | The Duke on 42nd Street (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (272)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Relevant, Quirky

65
Dated vonnegut falls flat

See it if You absolutely love Vonnegut and don’t care about lack of pacing, lack of theatrical narrative and characters that are cartoonish

Don't see it if You are easily offended or care about issues of toxic masculinity and it’s effect on the world bit want it expressed theatrically

61
Great staging, Relevant, Quirky, Great acting

See it if You want to explore everything in Vonnegut's canon. You like black humor. You enjoy VERY broad acting. You enjoy theater of the absurd.

Don't see it if You are tired of representations of toxic masculinity.

62
Great acting, Quirky, Edgy

See it if You like off beat plays. (I just didn’t get this show one bit, at all and was painfully bored so I don’t know what to say here.

Don't see it if What I can say is people around me seemed to really like this show. Because I can’t understand the humor I really can’t judge this show.

69
Confusing, Disappointing, Great acting, Funny, Slow

See it if Like the idea of 4 people playing many roles.

Don't see it if Don't like a play that's overly long, not much content.

63
Disappointing

See it if you would like to see an iconic piece of theater.

Don't see it if you want to see "something between the eyes"

Also There is farce and then there is scenery chewing. There was too much o... Read more Read less

69
Quirky, Indulgent, Great staging, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if you are a Vonnegut fan and want to know how his writing works on stage, if you are interested in family drama with a twist.

Don't see it if you like a more straightforward plot and great writing.

Also I have been a fan of Vonnegut since I first read Cat's Cradle over 40 ... Read more Read less

50
Dated, Quirky

See it if you want to go back in time and once served in the military

Don't see it if you are sensitive

60
Excruciating, Relevant, Resonant

See it if if you like explicit sexual references, reflecting on macho behavior, on war. Acting was great, but definitely not subtle.

Don't see it if if you like subtle performances and nuanced plays.

69
Cliched, Disappointing, Relevant, Great singing

See it if You're interested in a woman's story and how she survived a return of a machismo relationship with humor, grit and singing.

Don't see it if You don't like broad characterizations and stereotypes of male female relationships.

During previews
67
Tedious, Dark, Overacted, Nice set/scenery, Imaginative

See it if You're a fan of absurdism and don't mind laughing at dark material.

Don't see it if You're in the mood for an upfront comedy.

Also I know lots of people have enjoyed and admired this production, but I ... Read more Read less

During previews
55
Excruciating, Satire, Disappointing, Philosophical, Absurdist

See it if You are a Vonnegut completist or you want to continue digging into the topical ugliness of man’s nature. Some may find it funny...not me.

Don't see it if Today’s politics have heightened your awareness of or lowered your tolerance for the animal nature of man.

Also Vonnegut was insightful for me when I was young. This felt like #reall... Read more Read less

During previews
68
Funny, Repetitive, Relevant, Cliched, Disappointing

See it if you're a fan of Vonnegut and absurdist plays in general.

Don't see it if you expect a real slice of life or realism.

During previews
61
Excruciating, Overrated

See it if you have curiousity about Kurt Vonnegut's writing.

Don't see it if anger, hostility and nastiness portrayed on the stage appeals to you.

Also Amazingly, it had parallels to the behavior of today's administration.... Read more Read less

During previews
60
Ambitious, Dated, Disappointing, Bloated, overrated, overacted

See it if you are a Vonnegut fan although the bombast here and the indulgent performances sink it.

Don't see it if you object to cartoonish, indulgent theatre. The actors have been praised but they are hammy,and indulgent.

During previews
68
Disappointing, Great acting, Indulgent, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if A bit heavy handed, DARK comedy dealing masculinity or toxic masculinity and attitudes toward war, killing and violence. Good acting.

Don't see it if You're not entertained by heavy handed DARK comedy, physical humor or political statements

During previews
69
Great acting, Confusing, Slow, Disappointing, Intense

See it if If you want to see a revival in which the themes of male chauvinism that occurred in the 1960s are still relevant today

Don't see it if You want a coherent, plausible story that is not overpopulated with arcane symbolism that interferes with the story and you have no patience

Also The acting here is superb and saves the show from an otherwise long an... Read more Read less

During previews
66
Slow, Cliched, Ambitious

See it if You love Vonnegut. Or if you like plays that point out something terrible about society, but end up creating more of that terrible thing.

Don't see it if You are tired of stories of selfish white men who win.

Also The acting by the female lead is the best part of the show, though it ... Read more Read less

For a previous production
69
Ambitious, Quirky, Great acting, Uneven, Relevant

See it if you want a chance to see a rarely produced satire by Vonnegut that deals with war, killing, machismo, abusive behavior & changing attitudes.

Don't see it if you are turned off by the subject matter. It is a satire but at times heavy handed instead of clever. I found the ending to be unsatisfying.

Also I saw the first preview & hope this worthy effort can be polished. The... Read more Read less

For a previous production
60
Cliched, Disappointing, Indulgent, Edgy, Slow

See it if you can relate to good things others have said about this play

Don't see it if don't find humor in over-stated character flaws

Also I expected to laugh my head off but instead I couldn't wait for the pl... Read more Read less

For a previous production
50
Unpleasant characters, Disappointing, Confusing, Indulgent

See it if Don't. It's Vonnegut, but it's random, chaotic, and not funny

Don't see it if Read his books.

For a previous production
62
Great acting, Confusing

See it if You Like an odd show that goes in different directions but come together at the end.

Don't see it if If you Hate Killing .(people and animals)

For a previous production
69
Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Banal

See it if you like Kurt Vonnegut or want to see a cynical play making you think death and killing.

Don't see it if you don't like serious dramas with heavy themes.

For a previous production
65
Quirky, Ambitious, Some very good acting, Opportunity to see a kurt vonnegut pllay

See it if you’re interested in seeing a production of this Kurt Vonnegut play and you can handle lots of loud-volume dialogue.

Don't see it if it wouldn’t bother you if some of the actors appear younger than the characters they’re portraying.

Also it’s the professional debut of the young girl playing Wanda June and s... Read more Read less


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 absurd...
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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'...
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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, h...
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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 i...
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