Already closed | 1h 25m | East Village

How To Be A Rock Critic

From 13 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Clever, Resonant, Entertaining, Funny

About the show

This solo play adapts Lester Bangs' writing to chart the life, work, and death of one of the 20th century’s most ground-breaking, risk-taking, pioneering voices. Part of the Public Theater's Under the Radar festival. More…

Gonzo journalist, America’s greatest rock critic, and inventor of the word “punk,” legendary music writer Lester Bangs was an American icon. Outsized, manic, chaotic, and impossibly creative, Bangs traveled with some of the most mythologized musical figures of the 20th century: The Clash, Bob Marley, Lou Reed­—peeling away the veneer between star and audience and exposing the greats as flawed human beings. As the ragged, rebel ethos of the 70s gave way to the corporate pop of the 80s, Bangs lost the myth he’d built a life around and died of a drug overdose in 1982.

Member Reviews (13)


Great acting, Clever, Resonant, Entertaining, Funny
Avg Score

Clever, Great staging, Excruciating, Quirky, Funny

See it if You've read Lester Bangs or Hunter Thompson or Mojo religiously, you love vinyl records, and you've listened to a lot of music.

Don't see it if Graphic verbal depictions of physical and sexual violence disturb you. You don't care about rock music or criticism.

Also Wonderful set, engaging acting, a little slow in pieces, but overall a... Read more Read less

Inert, Lifeless

See it if You want to see the opposite of what the creators intended. How to make a fascinating character seem boring.

Don't see it if You don't like looking at your watch in the dark. Certainly there is a book which will bring Lester Bangs to life. This doesn't.

Slow, Boring

See it if You enjoy one man shows, fascinated with 70's music and Lester Bangs.

Don't see it if You are looking for a good story, with a climax, an arch and is interesting.

Also The fun of the music faded quickly. Fifty minutes in I was looking at ... Read more Read less

Passionate, Melancholic, A labor of love, Intelligent

See it if You're a fan of punk, proto-punk, rock criticism in general, or Lester Bangs in particular.

Don't see it if You're not, of if depictions of bipolar behavior disturb you. Or if you love the band Styx.

Also An affectionate but unflinching take on on the life of a die-hard love... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Resonant

See it if you like Lester Bangs, understand the possibilities of music and language

Don't see it if you don't like Bangs's writing style

Great acting, Resonant, Masterful

See it if Rock and Roll is your religion.

Don't see it if You don't understand why art matters.

Great acting, Edgy, Funny, Great writing, Courageous

See it if You like smart acting, to learn about real people who don’t apologize, if you like to laugh and if you dig music.

Don't see it if You don’t like one-person plays, like only musicals, don’t really want to be challenged, or don’t like rock and roll.

Resonant, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if See this show if you want to truly delve deep into the psyche of the '60's counterculture and the headspace which birthed punk rock.

Don't see it if Won't be for you if cussin' and hard rock puts you off.

Also Jensen's infectiously exuberant performance captures the mind of a gen... Read more Read less

Edgy, Intelligent, Resonant, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You love Rock and Roll, love Lester Bangs, love downtown theater, love nostalgic New York CBGB era culture, loved Almost Famous,

Don't see it if You haven’t had your 12th birthday yet...

Clever, Entertaining, Edgy, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if you’re a person. Also if you love character portrayals/looking into the minds of brilliant people

Don't see it if You’re ESL...or maybe that doesn’t matter. See it and lemme know.

Enchanting, Ambitious, Great acting, Profound, Resonant

See it if You want to see a fabulous one-man show and reminisce on the great rock hits of generations past

Don't see it if You don't want to think critically at the theatre

Also Eric Jensen's performance captivated the audience with the challenging... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Entertaining

See it if Want to be fully entertained

Don't see it if If you don't have a sense of 60,s and 70s dialogue

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Great staging, Profound

See it if you appreciate music, records, one-man show, intelligent writing, high-energy theater.

Don't see it if you need more than one character to stay entertained.

January 12th, 2018
“A surprisingly straightforward solo piece about Lester Bangs...The playwrights, Blank (who also directs) and Jensen (who also stars), have experience in documentary theater, having created ‘The Exonerated’, and it shows...They smoothly incorporate excerpts from Bangs’s writings and anecdotes pul...
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January 11th, 2018
“Blank and Jensen’s tribute to the legendary rock critic Lester Bangs (played by Jensen with shaggy, leaping enthusiasm) gives us a day-in-the-death account of the self-destructive 'Rolling Stone' writer...It’s loving and nicely constructed, and the quotations from Bangs’s writing have a sometime...
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January 9th, 2018
“A unique and moving piece of theatre...Jensen plays Bangs with tenderness and intelligence...Jensen quickly establishes a kind of easy, knowing rapport with the audience. It's the same instantaneous closeness that Bangs presumes with his readers...That the play is hermetic—it’s just Bangs, his r...
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January 8th, 2018
"A portrait of human hedonism that Jensen performs with gusto...As befits a play dealing with a man known to chase painkillers with Romilar, 'How to Be a Rock Critic' is a loosely structured blend of typical biography and gonzo lecture on the ephemeral nature of art and fame...Jensen draws energy...
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