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
81
Avg Score

During previews
95
Jason o'connell is brilliant, Must see, Timely psychoanalysis for the trump era, Thought-provoking

See it if For one of the best ever lead performances by Jason O'Connell !! & To explore questions of machismo & dysfunction in western culture

Don't see it if You want happy or you want something very accessible - there is a lot of cautisc wit

Also Jason O'Connell tears this up. The play is such a vehicle for O'Connel... Read more Read less

During previews
82
Clever, Funny, Great writing, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you like Vonnegut

Don't see it if you don't like allegory

During previews
73
Relevant, Farcical, Incisive, Disturbing, Trippy

See it if you'd enjoy a revival that would make Vonnegut proud. It's a wacky and rather perverse view of our culture. O'Connell is a master sleaze.

Don't see it if you are triggered by pervasive toxic masculinity. It's disturbing how relevant this play is 50 years later. Not hilarious to me.

During previews
81
Excruciating, Dizzying, Slow, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Great acting. Did not enjoy the violence.

Don't see it if you are not a fan of Kurt Vonnegut

During previews
80
Ambitious, Delightful, Funny

See it if You want to see a well-written, well-staged, very funny play that seems to comment more on current times than the 70s.

Don't see it if There's cursing and some racial and sexual epithets and some gunshots, but these aren't distracting.

During previews
75
Funny, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if You enjoy Vonnegut's work

Don't see it if If you aren't into absurdist theatre

During previews
84
Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy a surreal play that is both comedic and tragic.

Don't see it if you are haunted by the theme of post traumatic stress suffered by combat veterans.

During previews
85
Clever, Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if you like the style of Kurt Vonnegut and/or if you want a satirical look at the world of the late 1960's through his eyes.

Don't see it if you like a more straightforward play (there is a lot of symbolism and interpretation).

During previews
95
Sharp, Hilarious, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if your sense of humor's dark. This satire covers it all: from gender roles & drunk drivers to pedophilia & murder. These actors are fearless.

Don't see it if you're sensitive to hilariously sardonic send-ups of the afterlife or you insist comedies, even blistering lampoons, come w/a happy ending.

Also Memorable Quote: "So if you think of killing somebody, don't worry abo... Read more Read less

During previews
75
Adventuresome, Dizzying, Odd, Experiential, Fulfilling

See it if you want to be immersed in a thoughtful experience, often funny and poignant, well crafted, great set, random emotions, unique and awakening

Don't see it if you want a linear plot or if you might be put off as a Vonnegut connoisseur (I'm not). It was long, needs editing, but a brave production

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
90
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Funny

See it if You enjoy thoughtful theater that makes meaningful statements about our society.

Don't see it if You like musicals that are predictable and other silly plays.

During previews
97
Funny, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You like Kurt vonnegut or if you want to see a funny show,laugh a lot,see great acting

Don't see it if You don't want to see a funny show

During previews
80
Great acting, Funny, Absorbing, Quirky, Relevant

See it if you want strong acting by several very different characters. It shifts from very funny to quirky to upsetting - and back again.

Don't see it if you want light entertainment. It holds your attention for the full 2 hours, but it was a little exhausting by the end - worth it, though.

During previews
74
Great acting, Great staging, Indulgent

See it if you like dark comedy and don't mind listening to a toxic, misogynistic, homophobic, racist, violent, white male (character) for two hours.

Don't see it if you can't find humor in the character described above, or if production, acting and staging mean nothing to you if you hate the material.

Also Loved the makeover of the Duke theater for this production, as well as... Read more Read less

During previews
76
Great acting, Relevant, Slow, Quirky, Intense

See it if You love Kurt Vonnegut and quirky plays. It is relevant to current issues but a bit too concrete.

Don't see it if You want to see something emotional

During previews
82
Clever, Funny, Relevant, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You like relevant, topical comedies. Although written in 1970, it feels very "of the moment." It is also very theatrical. Great cast.

Don't see it if You like old fashioned drama and comedy. This does not have a traditional story line, or traditional ending.

During previews
80
Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you are a Vonnegut fan

Don't see it if you don't like farce or dark comedy

During previews
90
Historic, Absurdist, Great acting, Stylized, Still relevant

See it if Fastidious revival of ABSURDIST play from 1970. Rare chance to see a piece of history! Themes of guns & toxic masculinity still relevant.

Don't see it if if you don't like ABSURDISM or want something current. Some didn't understand it. It's very stylized & a bit heavy handed, but still a gem.

Also I'm very impressed with Wheelhouse Theater after seeing this very poli... Read more Read less

During previews
80
Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant

See it if if you like satire and broad comedy with a purpose by one of America's most revered writers but are ok with ideas and little to no plot.

Don't see it if you don't like satire or absurdist comedy and are in need of logical plot points and concise storytelling.

During previews
88
Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent, Must see

See it if I haven’t seen such a satisfying show-great acting/directing/writing all way around. Casts from young to not too young were all fantastic!

Don't see it if If you are only looking for a linear plot line and some old traditional story telling will not be here.

During previews
84
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you like great acting + a thought-provoking script. O’Connell was fantastic; his monologue as Koningswald is worth the price of admission

Don't see it if crude behavior, racism, and sexism by a boorish character would bother you

During previews
78
Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Quirky, Good acting

See it if you enjoy a play with good acting that was written in the Vietnam War era but is still relevant today.

Don't see it if you are a staunch Trump supporter.

During previews
90
Absorbing, Resonant, Intelligent, Hilarious, Great writing

See it if you enjoy an engaging adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat, not one dull moment, excellent performances.

Don't see it if you are not in the mood for uplifting high energy drama or in your face theatre that brings it home with a great ending. No spoilers here!

During previews
83
Funny, Great acting, Clever, Refreshing, Relevant

See it if you like farce with a message. Maybe more relevant today than ever. Hilarious and well-acted.

Don't see it if you don't like farce.


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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