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Head of Passes

From 69 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking

About the show

The Public Theater presents the New York premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney's new drama about family and faith, trials and tribulations, starring Tony winner Phylicia Rashad. More…

At the mouth of the Mississippi River, Shelah’s family and friends have come to celebrate her birthday and save her from a leaking roof. But in this contemporary parable inspired by the Book of Job, unexpected events turn the reunion into the ultimate test of faith and love. As her world seems to collapse around her, Shelah (Phylicia Rashad) must fight to survive the rising flood of life’s greatest challenges.

Member Reviews (69)


Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking
Avg Score

Towering portrayal of grief by philicia rashad in flawed play

See it if you enjoy powerful performance by Rashad as a modern-day Job, fine ensemble, amazing destruction of house-set to symbolize world torn apart

Don't see it if /since problems with dramaturgy: first act does not prepare audience for second act tragedy, Rashad's powerful soliloquy of pain is overlong

Confusing, Ambitious, Great staging

See it if you want to see a muddled examination of what happens to a person when their faith is tested.

Don't see it if you need to see a show that answers questions instead of asks them.

Ambitious, Dizzying, Intense, Overrated, Resonant

See it if You love Phylicia Rashad and want to see her at her finest.

Don't see it if You dislike heavy dramas and mind very long monologues.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Great performance by phylicia rashad, Intense, Slow

See it if you want to see Phylicia Rashad give the performance of her career in a second-rate play.

Don't see it if you do not like long and drawn out monologues.

Excruciating, Pretentious, Intense, Overrated, Indulgent

See it if If you enjoy shows with a huge dependence on the spiritual. If you want to see Phylicia Rashad in a tour de force performance. A perfect set

Don't see it if You can't tolerate constant screeching voices trying to outdo each other so very little is understandable. Ranting, wailing is not for you.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You like real life family situation dramas that are exquisitely well-written and perfectly cast.

Don't see it if You have no feelings for others and live in a box or cave.

Great staging, Original, Slow, Clever, Intense

See it if You like Phylicia Rashad and want to see her phenomenal skills in action. And you enjoy incredibly well done staging.

Don't see it if You aren't a fan of long winded monologues about god. The second act contains a 20min monologue that, while excellently executed, is tiring.

Great acting, Disconnected, Overwrought, Ambitious

See it if want to see a great actress let loose.

Don't see it if you have had your fill of dysfunctional family dramas.

Absorbing, Great acting, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if A bravura performance by Phyllicia Rashad. Truly one for the ages.

Don't see it if Almost sadistic in its sadness. The heavy Southern accents are sometimes difficult to understand.

Great staging, Great acting, Excruciating, Ambitious

See it if want to see a terrific performance by Phylicia Rashad..

Don't see it if you enjoy a cohesive two act play. Act 2 was weak , unbelievable and despite a strong performance a 30+ min monologue with God? Really?

Kyle beltran, Wonderful ensemble cast, Dramatic, Painful

See it if The stage set is amazing. The cast interaction was tight and authentic. Painful story of a modern day, female, Job.

Don't see it if Not a light show. Draws on family secrets, race, belief in God.


See it if You believe that Tarell Alvin McCraney is the great playwright many institutions want him to be, or hope Phylicia Rashad can make it work.

Don't see it if Potential alone isn't enough for you and/or you don't want to saddle Rashad with trying to save this unsustainable failure of playwriting.

Beautiful staging, Must see, Riveting, Terrific performances, Funny

See it if You've heard how amazing Phylicia Rashad is because it's all true. Kyle Beltran turns it out again. Also the set is not to be missed.

Don't see it if You're not a fan of plays about race or parables (i.e. a modern take on the story of Job). Otherwise don't miss out.

Great set, Strong lead performance, Uneven, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You love Phylicia Rashad, who compellingly embodies the emotional devastation her character endures. Otherwise, not enough else here.

Don't see it if You dislike Southern Gothic- or Greek-tragedy-type plays or family dramas, and if you expect a plot as impressively crafted as the set.

Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Dizzying, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a truly astonishing piece of acting. Phylicia Rashad is an emotional tornado tearing up the stage of the Public

Don't see it if you don't like serious drama; this is an emotional play about faith, loss and love of family

Great acting, Slow, Masterful, Intense, Great staging

See it if you want to be captivated by the terrifically intense performance by Phylicia Rashad. The staging is unexpected in the best way.

Don't see it if you prefer light, fast-paced, fun shows

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Must see, Profound

See it if To watch Ms. Rashad tear the roof off. Tarrell Alvin McCraney's writing. Wonderful, balanced ensemble. It's going to rip out your heart.

Don't see it if You don't tolerate religious characters. You don't want something so intense. But that'd be a shame.

Great acting, Intense

See it if you're jonesing for a great Phylicia Rashad. A powerhouse performance. The play itself was uneven for me. Read the program note first.

Don't see it if you insist on perfection in a play. This isn't. But it is harrowing. As I mentioned, don't see it if you haven't read the program notes.

Powerful, Great acting, Great staging, Riveting, Confusing

See it if you want to see Phylicia Rashad in powerful, career-defining performance. Her work here is well worth the price of admission.

Don't see it if long monologues and stylized language aren't your thing. The show sometimes gets lost in itself, but the performances are fantastic.

Confusing, Disappointing, Great staging, Excruciating, Overrated

See it if you like shouty, fast, mostly incomprehensible dialogue. Huge and very improbable "twists" that make no sense. Melodrama.

Don't see it if You don't want to sit through a 25 minute long monologue at the end of a 2 hour show that consists of crying and shouting.

Exquisite, Enchanting, Great acting, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you're looking for a masterpiece performance from Phyllicia Rashad, spectacular design, and deeply-felt, elegant writing

Don't see it if you prefer your family dramas neat and tidy

Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Slow

See it if you want to see a riveting star turn by an actress at the top of her game.

Don't see it if talky plays with little action don't do it for you.

Intelligent, Intense

See it if Phylicia Rashad's incredible monologue in Act II is memorable. The rest of this family drama is often confusing.

Don't see it if You are not interested in long monologues though brilliantly acted.

Great staging, Great acting, Poetic, Profound, Slightly disappointing

See it if you love airing-of-family-laundry dramas in the vein of August Osage; you want to see the sheer technicality & power in Ms. Rashad's acting.

Don't see it if you dislike plays about faith or dysfunctional families. Or if you are looking for a real punch in the gut--the script is oddly distancing.

Confusing, Cliched, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you want to hear people shouting nonsensically about nothing & if you enjoy shows that lack a decent plot/character development

Don't see it if you dislike 25-minute monologues, if you dislike racist stereotypes, or if you want a show of substance.

March 28th, 2016
"Ms. Rashad will be hard pressed to ever again top her work here…The script could still use some fine-tuning to make the sucker punch of the second act land with maximum clout. But even as the play stands, you’ll look back and marvel at how Mr. McCraney and this expert production team have set yo...
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March 28th, 2016
"Tina Landau’s production is beautifully assembled; McCraney’s rich, flavorful dialogue rushes out compellingly from the persuasive cast of eight, and snags just when it should. McCraney is a huge talent, and the play is certainly worth seeing. But the realistic family-reunion half has only a te...
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March 28th, 2016
"A startling but awkward new take on Job…Most of the first act passes busily, and often amusingly…The play becomes more and more abstract...McCraney’s flights of poetry are so fluently rendered by Rashad they seem like plainest prose…Unfortunately, this lyricism does not sit very well with a joke...
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March 28th, 2016
"The play is unwieldy, its epic, elemental developments springing inorganically from the psychological realism of the setup...However, McCraney's distinctive dialogue ensures that the drama remains absorbing, and Landau directs the strong cast with a keen ear for the musical rhythms of black Loui...
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