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
77
Funny, Quirky, Profound

See it if you miss incisive satire and insightful comedy

Don't see it if you think we've learned all our lessons from the seventies

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
41
Confusing, Excruciating, Intense, Quirky, Slow

See it if you are attracted to bizarre. you are a fan of Vonnegut. & if your interest is piqued by an adaption of his work. He wasn't a playwrite.

Don't see it if you are smart...if you are smart...stay away. you can't stomach an endurance test.

Also Actors did work hard, however & that is to be applauded.

During previews
85
Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Relevant, Quirky

See it if you like quirky, somewhat absurdist comedy. A very funny satirical look at our culture and gender roles. Fabulous performances!

Don't see it if you only like realistic dramas with naturalistic acting.

During previews
89
Great writing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if the topic of gun control, expressed in a profound yet entertaining way, interests you.

Don't see it if you want a play where you can zone out.

Also I was very pleasantly surprised at just how good this was!

During previews
47
Confusing, Disappointing, Overrated, Quirky, Excruciating

See it if you like dark comedies that are weird.

Don't see it if You're expecting a satire that made sense. This was all over the place.

Also Have to admit that we (along with a bunch of others) left after the 1s... Read more Read less

During previews
90
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Quirky

See it if You like Vonnegut’s writing style, you enjoy dark comedies, you enjoy shows that make you think

Don't see it if You prefer a sitcom style comedy, you’re looking for something light, you don’t like being uncomfortable at themes raised

Also I love Vonnegut’s books and I had never seen this play before last nig... Read more Read less

During previews
49
Great acting, Intense, Excruciating, Bizarre

See it if Only if you are a fan of Kurt Vonnegut

Don't see it if You dislike, morbid, violent, plays that lack credibility.

Also This was a very upsetting experience for me, and I could not wait for ... Read more Read less

During previews
74
Funny, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you like satire and are willing to explore America's complicated relationships with war, sex, and gender dynamics

Don't see it if you need something short and snappy, you like something super realistic, you don't want to get into the politics of feminism and gender

During previews
82
Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if If you are a fan of Kurt Vonnegut you would probably love it. It was really odd and helps to know what to expect. Acting was great!

Don't see it if You hate Vonnegut. Don’t see it if you offend easily.

Also Story was very strange but the more I think about it, the more I see i... Read more Read less

During previews
73
Ambitious, Confusing, Slow

See it if Ready for a decent play with lots of fluctuations between real/surreal,past/present. A bit slow. The teenage actor played exceptionally well

Don't see it if When watching a play you are not sure if you understand everything or there is something beyond the scope of your mental practice.

During previews
96
Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if Fantastic acting from this wonderful cast. The play is timely and so well told. Over the top on purpose and staged well. No reason to not go

Don't see it if If you are a pro war sexist this is not for you....even though you might actually learn something.

During previews
82
Clever, Confusing, Funny, Great acting, Hilarious

See it if You want to see a brilliantly staged version of Vonnegut's novel and you love Vonnegut

Don't see it if You love Trump and want to spend your evening chanting " Lock Her ( Him ) Up " while holding your gun in the air and think MAGA

During previews
84
Great acting, Dizzying, Confusing, Intense, Hilarious

See it if Vintage bizarro Vonnegut! If you've enjoyed his writing and can handle chaos and misogyny onstage you'll love this.

Don't see it if You demand plot linearity and logical character development.

During previews
95
Funny, Great acting, Clever

See it if You like intimate theater with great acting + a clever script. Everyone was terrific; Jason O’Connell and Kate MacCluggage really stand out.

Don't see it if You want a grand production — or want to bring your drink into the theater. We had to toss our wine after the short intermission.

During previews
87
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Profound

See it if You want a look at toxic masculinity through the lens of 1970s America.

Don't see it if You are easily offended by bad language and shocking situations. Also, the plot is non-linear, so it can feel a little trippy at times.

During previews
84
Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You love great theater with relevant characters. Wonderful character development.

Don't see it if You’re unable to deal with a strong, aggressive, male character.

During previews
90
Great acting, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You want sharp satire about toxic masculinity.

Don't see it if You voted for Trump.

During previews
95
Absorbing, Delightful, Great staging, Intelligent, Must see

See it if You're a fan of Kurt Vonnegut or plays that experiment with naturalism in a fun, low-key, and illuminating way

Don't see it if Loud noises, nonlinear narratives, or old plays (well, "old" circa 1970) bother you

Also There were so many scenes in this play that I wanted to bottle up and ... Read more Read less

During previews
90
Clever, Great acting, Funny

See it if Creative interpretation .well acted and very funny play

Don't see it if Only like musicals

During previews
82
Entertaining

See it if You like bizarre humor. Some very funny parts. Good acting.

Don't see it if If you do not like way out humor.

During previews
90
Clever, Great acting, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You have a sarcastic sense of humor and want to see a great funny play

Don't see it if You are easily offended, don’t have a good sense of humor, don’t get sarcasm

Also This one is a definite trip...Covers so many issues from male/female r... Read more Read less

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
95
Absorbing, Must see, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if Great performance by Jason O'Connell and timely production of an important play

Don't see it if If you came to see a happy go lucky play you are in the wrong place

During previews
84
Ambitious, Great acting, Funny, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if You like Vonnegut and absurdist comedy. Jason Connell does a great job playing a macho overbearing guy and the rest of the cast is topnotch

Don't see it if You are easily offended by boorish behavior or if you don’t like absurd broad comedy. Plot is a little confusing at times.


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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