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
85
Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy theatre that is funny and thought-provoking.

Don't see it if if you enjoy theatre that is a traditional kitchen sink drama.

During previews
83
Thought-provoking, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant

See it if The subject matter is still revelant. The actors really brought their A game. Truly enjoyed the show.

Don't see it if If you are a hunter. Don’t enjoy a good laugh or are looking for a musical.

During previews
83
Absorbing, Dizzying, Great acting, Quirky, Intense

See it if you like great acting and are willing to suspend disbelief to make a point.

Don't see it if you need realism or current events

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
70
Dark, Loud, Strong acting, Well staged, Relevant

See it if you like dark absurdist works. Strong anti-violence message. Some laughs. Strong ensemble cast. High prodn values. Strange digressions.

Don't see it if you dislike brutality. HBWJ assaults you. Jason commits, but it's hard to take (and loud!) I was uncomfortable. Admirable, but not enjoyable

For a previous production
44
Disappointing, Slow, Overacted, Boring

See it if you are an inveterate Vonnegut fan. Otherwise, don't.

Don't see it if you are a discerning Vonnegut fan. This is subpar to his work. Huge chunks of the play are just tedious, long-winded non sequitur vignettes

Also This was almost embarrassing to watch. Nervous first row gigglers maki... Read more Read less

For a previous production
40
Disappointing, Slow, Overrated, Odd

See it if I really didn't care for this show at all & Surprised by how positive the other reviews on here are. If interested go off of their reviews.

Don't see it if Found the pacing to be EXTREMELY slow. Harold goes off on tangents that amount to nothing, tried to milk for laughs but it just wasn't funny

Also Found the show to be strange and not in a good way. It probably has th... Read more Read less

For a previous production
85
Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Funny, Profound

See it if If you like good acting, directing lighting and an esoteric story. KV, JR is a very provocative writer and the show is well acted, staged.

Don't see it if If you do not like a story with several meanings that tests your thought process. If you like big productions.

For a previous production
80
Funny, Intense, Edgy, Disturbing, Dark

See it if Satire about male bravado and changing male roles. Disturbing situations with many funny lines. Good over-the-top acting by the 4 leads.

Don't see it if Makes the same point repeatedly, getting more ridiculous. Funny but lacking depth. Surprises & creative staging keeps it entertaining.

For a previous production
83
Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if Vintage Vonnegut (at his satiric best) proves shockingly timely & moving Whip cracking direction; strong acting propel potent drama Neat set

Don't see it if At times tends towards narrative vs action which can slow pace But Jason O'Connell's Harold in a stunning star turn covers any dramatic sins

For a previous production
75
Clever, Epic, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Great set

See it if The two youngsters were so good.. The set was fantastic. The idea that an almost 50 year old play can be produced is "enuf "to see it

Don't see it if My view may be influenced by "A BAD DAY".. transportation a disaster, food dismal, wrong attire for the eve Don.t ask. Will try it again.

For a previous production
84
Entertaining, Ambitious, Edgy, Hilarious, Resonant

See it if absurdity gone wild keeps you amused. Lots of madness in the service of signifiant ideas including imaginative use of the set.

Don't see it if realistic dramas are your preferred form. These are stock characters performing farce.

For a previous production
88
Clever, Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Intense

See it if The acting is excellent in this play. The story is Relationship problem, violence, and disturbing sometimes.

Don't see it if The subjects of hurting, violence, and crazy.

Also The time flies watching this show. Cast was excellent. Jason O' Connel... Read more Read less

For a previous production
83
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Relevant

See it if you enjoy a biting and effective satire about guns, violence, marital relations and a cake. Excellent acting and staging. Very powerful play

Don't see it if you don't like a play about killing and a cake. Some of the dialogue is disturbing.

Also The lead actor was frightening. You could feel the violence in him. Th... Read more Read less

For a previous production
74
Good vonnegut.

See it if You’re a Vonnegut fan.

Don't see it if You’re not a Vonnegut fan.

For a previous production
83
Delightful, Great acting, Great staging, Quirky, Riveting

See it if You enjoy Vonnegut's work, and want to see a very talented group of actors perform his work very well. Quirky and fun, a great night.

Don't see it if If you don't like small cramped venues with uncomfortable chairs. Or you don't like Vonnegut.

Also I saw this a second time when it moved to the Duke Theater. I preferre... Read more Read less

For a previous production
75
Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Resonant, Quirky

See it if you enjoy Vonnegut and his odd sense of humor.

Don't see it if If realism is your thing, this show is probably not for you. You dislike stereotypes and the use of dead characters to move the plot along.

For a previous production
89
On point cast, direction, staging, Jason o'connell = spectacular, Absurdist comedy, Timely, Resonant

See it if Kurt Vonnegut's 1970s inflected comedy with guns, big game hunters, widows, orphans & little girls killed by icecream trucks grabs you

Don't see it if absurdist comedy, Kurt Vonnegut, intermissions, jungle fever, abusive husbands, direct address, guns, dead little girls dont float your boat

For a previous production
83
Thought-provoking, Slow, Intelligent, Upsetting, Profound

See it if you resist sorting people into Winners and Losers; are interested in how the gods of the old world become the devils of the new one.

Don't see it if you want to feel happy watching it. Actors apply their talents to irritate. Cruel, scornful dialogue; kicking easy targets when they’re down

Also Watching the show felt like a 75. After thinking about it for several ... Read more Read less

For a previous production
78
Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Quirky

See it if you like a quirky Vonnegut play which feels relevant to today's times. The actors are committed and give great, energized performances.

Don't see it if you don't like small, intimate venues or absurd plays. Production makes good use of the space, but it's certainly no Broadway spectacle.

Also This is a funny play with many strange and absurd moments, but it also... Read more Read less

For a previous production
75
Ambitious, Dizzying, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if you love edgy acting and are a Vonnegut fan

Don't see it if Vietnam era drama/comedies touching on contemporary issues (gun control) are not your bag

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
83
Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant, Funny

See it if you like Vonnegut, appreciate strange stories & dark comic satires; can see how a play written in Vietnam era has relevance for today

Don't see it if you want a play to get better in 2nd half - this one does drag a lot then; or if you don't want to see an over-the-top macho type

Also I was a bit disappointed by the second half - a little too wordy. But ... Read more Read less

For a previous production
76
Relevant revival, Over-the-top acting, Indulgent, Intense

See it if A revisit (or introduction) to Vonnegut delivers his classic acerbic rumination on the inevitability of the mess we have made of the world.

Don't see it if Men's endless vanity & confidence is on exhibit & given wild interpretation by Jason O'Connell. Slightly ragged around its absurdist edges.


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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