Head of Passes
Closed 2h 0m
Head of Passes

Head of Passes NYC Reviews and Tickets

(69 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.

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Member Reviews (69)

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650 Reviews | 284 Followers
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

635 Reviews | 237 Followers
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.

535 Reviews | 488 Followers
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.

479 Reviews | 262 Followers
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.

480 Reviews | 134 Followers
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.

459 Reviews | 117 Followers
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.

406 Reviews | 188 Followers
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.

434 Reviews | 95 Followers
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.

Critic Reviews (28)

The New York Times
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 you up. That’s partly the art of Ms. Landau and her top-drawer cast…Ultimately, it’s Ms. Rashad’s deeply felt, expertly shaded Shelah that gives the play its essential emotional continuity."
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Time Out New York
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 tenuous connection with the outrageous misfortunes later on. Shelah may be Job, but 'Head of Passes' offers no God to explain her calamaties. She’s wrestling with her playwright."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
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 jokey spikiness...Each mode seems to undermine, not deepen, the other...In trying to humanize the great and mysterious parable, McCraney has set himself a challenge surely no playwright could meet."
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The Hollywood Reporter
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 Louisiana speech...Rashad supplies earthy gravitas throughout...Every character is vividly drawn...It's the flaws of the play, not the performances, that diminish its impact."
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New York Daily News
March 28th, 2016

"An affecting but uneven saga…McCraney’s dialogue is a potent blend of the plainspoken and poetic...The cast and production, especially the shape-shifting set, impress under direction by Tina Landau. But on the downside, 'Head of Passes' doesn’t sidestep cliches. It can also come across as overwrought and windy. Still, Rashad’s gutsy, go-for-it performance is something to believe in."
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March 28th, 2016

"Landau does her best to fill out McCraney's sketch by crafting believable relationships between the actors…Rashad serves as a life raft, rescuing the central story…Landau orchestrates some truly remarkable stagecraft…Unfortunately, the realistic water-filled craters onstage aren't quite enough to distract from the massive holes in McCraney's story. 'Head of Passes' has the potential to be the next great American play, but the author needs to shore up the basics first."
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Lighting & Sound America
March 29th, 2016

"Rashad commits herself with abandon...But by the final scene 'Head of Passes' has become a bewildering mish-mash of ideas and styles...It seems to be about nothing but giving a grand-manner actress the workout of her career...McCraney hasn't laid the groundwork for this long, loud burst of emotion, so it feels like a series of calculated effects. If he set out to write a powerful drama pitting a dying woman against her God, what he has ended up with is an overwrought star vehicle."
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Talkin' Broadway
March 28th, 2016

"Rashad's immersion within Shelah is riveting, and the rage she wields while waging that battle profoundly chilling in its unvarnished honesty…Her tirade is explosive, harrowing, and cathartic, as only the best theatre can be. Alas, it's only a part of 'Head of Passes,' which otherwise fails to match these stunning heights...Shelah is the sole developed character…But with Rashad at the center of 'Head of Passes,' that part of this unsteady evening is never less than a joy."
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