New York | 2h 40m | Already closed

If I Forget

From 37 critic and 406 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Relevant

About the show

Roundabout Theatre Company presents Steven Levenson's new drama about the personal politics of family, heritage, and history, and the scars they leave behind. Starring Kate Walsh from 'Grey's Anatomy.' More…

In the final months before 9/11, liberal Jewish studies professor Michael Fischer has reunited with his two sisters to celebrate their father's 75th birthday. All deeply invested in their own version of family history, the siblings clash over everything from Michael’s controversial scholarly work to the mounting pressures of caring for an ailing parent. As destructive secrets and long-held resentments bubble to the surface, the three negotiate—with biting humor and razor-sharp insight—how much of the past they’re willing to sacrifice for a chance at a new beginning. Written by Steven Levenson (book writer for 'Dear Evan Hansen'), directed by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan, and featuring Tony nominees Maria Dizzia, Larry Bryggman, and Jeremy Shamos.

NY Theatre Guide

"An astounding new play...One of the most definitive texts of our time. Levenson’s mastery of dialogue carries the weight of generations of trauma...This is one of the most extraordinary plays I have ever witnessed and completely relevant for the tumultuous times we are living in today...I often found myself holding my breath at the sheer brilliance of the script...It’s what theatre should be...The heavyweight cast brings magnificent performances to this groundbreaking text." Full Review


"Brilliantly staged and at once funny and deeply unsettling...Levenson is such an expansive and gifted writer – and Sullivan so expert at drawing true-to-life performances from an extraordinary cast – that we never feel trapped in a situation comedy...In a stellar cast, Shamos blazes forward; this gifted actor is giving the performance of his career...This is the play of the season so far. I won’t soon forget it." Full Review


“An exemplary Off-Broadway production…Hardly a moment seems false or forced…Levenson unwinds it all in deft fashion, alternating and punctuating gut-grabbing serious moments with expertly set-up laugh lines and reactions that further define character as well as entertain. It’s all sharply defined by Daniel Sullivan’s extraordinarily sensitive direction and the talents of a cast that’s probably perfection…A supremely sure-handed piece of playwriting.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“The play flies by on the wings of lightning and thunder due to the smart, fast, clever, hilarious dialogue of Steven Levenson, the carefully choreographed staging of Daniel Sullivan and the amazing performances of this ensemble. Everyone is perfect…I left the theatre with so many thoughts and images and questions in my head. I left the theatre changed. The show closes April 30th. You have some time but not much. Go.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"The playwright, Steven Levenson forges powerful arguments about the decline of Jewish liberalism across the twentieth century...There are no easy answers in Levenson's elegantly constructed, wide-ranging, often scaldingly articulate drama, which features seamless ensemble work under the supremely assured direction of Daniel Sullivan. Seizing the opportunity, Jeremy Shamos gives what is arguably his finest performance to date." Full Review


"Steven Levenson's 'If I Forget' is the kind of family drama that doesn't get written much anymore: one that has something to say other than just depicting a dysfunctional situation. Not only are we pulled into the family wrangling, the issues under debate are major ones and their outcome is serious business. Director Daniel Sullivan and a splendid cast of seven make this one of the most compelling plays of the season. This is a play you won't soon forget." Full Review

The Wrap

"A very funny play...The humor lies between what’s said and what’s meant and the history that the latter reveals...The miraculous thing about Levenson’s talent is that he makes us understand the Fischers’ private code...'If I Forget' is packed with revelations, but Levenson is so expert with his exposition that the pregnancy, the online affair, the mental breakdown, the career implosion, and the exploding debts never turn into soap opera. To tell more would be a mistake. An amazing play." Full Review


"A deeply absorbing, issues-oriented family drama that's likely to hit a nerve in both head and heart...Levenson captures the family dynamic with great ease. The dialogue is fluid and intelligent; and he manages to slip in some pointed laughs along the way...And thanks to a flawless ensemble, we're hooked from the very first scene right through to the bitter end...There aren't many plays that can twist your head around 180 degrees. But this one does, and most convincingly." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

“Beautifully rendered by Mr. Levenson’s keen ear and probing pen. It is a great pleasure to spend 2 1/2 hours with this very real and dimensional family…He resolves that story very movingly. He is helped enormously by the consistent truth in the performances of the seven actors who bring these characters to blazing life…Daniel Sullivan has extracted from his excellent cast the very real rhythms of naturalistic speech, which is full of surprises…Director Sullivan has done a terrific job.” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"'If I Forget' can feel overstuffed at times. But it all works beautifully, thanks to the richness of the writing, the superb performances of an ensemble that doesn’t strike a false note and the impeccable direction of Daniel Sullivan...The razor-sharp dialogue makes the two-and-a-half-hour running time fly by...Some of the plot elements are admittedly not fully convincing...But for the most part, the play rings with stunning emotional truth...Each of the actors is outstanding." Full Review

Bob's Theater Blog

“There’s enough plot for three plays. On the positive side, the play presents a compelling picture of family dynamics, fortunately relieved by frequent flashes of humor. It raises important questions about Jewish identity in America today that seem even more relevant in the light of recent headlines. The dialogue is sharp and the cast is excellent…Daniel Sullivan directs with his usual skill.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Steven Levenson, currently represented by the excellent libretto for 'Dear Evan Hansen,' demonstrates that he is a powerful dramatist as well with 'If I Forget'...Director Daniel Sullivan does his customarily incisive job...Levenson combines rivalries, religion, technology, illness, money and even hanging chads into a bubbling jumble of guilt, jealousy, remembrance and soap opera, resulting in a juicy melting pot of drama, comedy and realistic family strife." Full Review


"Rare is the opportunity to quietly take in all sides of so many emotionally fraught subjects through such witty, articulate, and impassioned voices as Levenson has created...With more room for his words and thoughts to breathe, this small story explodes into a cloud of provocative questions, none of which are answered, but all of which are mined with impressive depth and efficiency." Full Review

City Cabaret

"Fluidly directed by Daniel Sullivan, Jeremy Shamos is a standout...Secondary characters add color as well as gravitas...One might say that Levenson's familial dynamic is somewhat overstuffed with subplots, yet this remains a powerful drama with crisply defined characters and sharply counterbalanced with humor...A provocative production where boldly honest performances explore beliefs and compromises, 'If I Forget' is not an easy play to forget. Nor should it be." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Levenson’s ambitious play raises broader questions pertaining to family, loyalty, and generations–issues with which we all can identify, Jewish or not...All these questions and conflicts make for thought-provoking, moving theatre. As masterfully directed by Dan Sullivan on Derek Lane’s terrific rotating set, the dialogue crackles at a breakneck speed, and we’re caught up in a taut family drama that’s (blessedly) laced with humor and heart. The ensemble is uniformly excellent." Full Review

On Stage Blog

“Levenson masterfully braids together a family living room drama, the political atmosphere of the era, and a discussion on what it means to be a Jew in the United States today…’If I Forget,’ slightly dragging in the beginning, is a great family drama that unfolds against the backdrop of broader political issues.” Full Review

Epoch Times

"Offers something just about everyone can identify with...The remarkable and satisfying point about Levenson’s play is that it offers to the greatest extent possible all sides of the arguments, both political and personal...The entire cast is superior. We see a remarkably smooth and integrated ensemble; they actually seem like a real family...Even after two-and-a-half hours, the interest never flags. There’s a lot going on in Levenson’s engrossing play." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"Sharp and thoroughly touching...Levenson has already proven himself as a craftsman of compelling, poignant drama and his skills serve him well again here...Shamos, Walsh and Dizzia make those family bonds feel authentic...The setting and subjects they tackle really resonate...'If I Forget' succeeds both as a thoughtful family drama filled with wit and as a compelling dissection of the world we live in." Full Review

New York Theater

"A well-acted, often funny and always engaging Jewish family drama...The concerns of Levenson’s play feel both up-to-the-minute and age-old, as Michael (Jeremy Shamos) and his two sisters Holly (Kate Walsh) and Sharon (Maria Dizzia) argue politics and religion and identity...All of this unfolds expertly, each character maintaining their appeal and our interest, even those on the periphery...But this conventional drama also ties into the larger issues the playwright skillfully weaves in." Full Review


"The problem with many, if not most, family dramas is that the families are so often hateful. Playwright Steven Levenson avoids that trap...Heritage means a lot to this closely knit family, which is what keeps us engaged in their quarrels...In the tradition of domestic drama, Levenson’s play involves a lot of talk and precious little action. But the talk is surprisingly gripping, especially when one secret after another is teased out of the siblings." Full Review

The New York Times

"'If I Forget' speaks to both the head and the heart...It isn’t perfect. The plot, which turns on a question of real estate, takes its time arriving and mostly hangs around to facilitate debate...Under Daniel Sullivan’s sensitive direction, the ripe interstitial music nudges emotion too obviously and the ending, which shifts the play into magical realism, makes its themes too explicit. But the script and the remarkable actors make you embrace the Fischers." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Directed by Daniel Sullivan, who has a gift for raising dialogue to its smartest expression, 'If I Forget' is ambitious and often very funny...Although some of Levenson’s plot twists are contrived, the play is fearless in its confrontation of Jewish self-image before a New York audience that surely includes many Jews...He gives us a lot to talk about, and a play to remember." Full Review


"The play is rather too filled-to-the-brim with provocative ideas, some of which are hard to believe. But these credibility stretches aren't sufficient to spoil the many a pluses on offer. Setting the heartbeat that brings everything to rich theatrical life is Levenson's dialogue...Much credit for keeping us engaged belongs to the actors...Under the direction of Daniel Sullivan the scenes and conversations flow smoothly into each other. All that talk is never allowed to get too talky." Full Review

New York Daily News

"One character’s controversial and incendiary take on the Holocaust and Israel-Palestine conflict makes Levenson's work singular. There are some issues. Credulity strains at times — wouldn’t a professor wait until he has tenure before publishing a surefire hot potato of a book? Just asking. And the plot snowballs in the final stretch. Still, the excellent cast mines every bit of fury and humor. 'If I Forget' is whip-smart, bold and, finally, memorable." Full Review


"There are layers upon layers of plot, themes, and revelations in Steven Levenson’s new play now being given an immaculately acted production...Indeed, if the play occasionally feels overstuffed, and even slightly derivative, it also manages to be incredibly thoughtful and thought-provoking, hilarious and sad, and highly personal and highly political...This extraordinary ensemble deserves not to fade from memory." Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Epic, Resonant

See it if You have a time traveling machine. This is better than August Osage County. It provides context for metaphor and poetry for dialogue.

Don't see it if You are boring and banal.

Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Exquisite

See it if you are looking for brilliant theatre that thrills, entertains, moves, and presents complex relationships defined by complex characters.

Don't see it if you are looking for a comedy. This play makes great use of humor and has a lot of very funny moments but presents complex issues.

Also This play is truly a sign of the brilliance new plays can hold. It is ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy well crafted thought provoking plays. The writing, acting and production were all superb.

Don't see it if You like musicals or lighter fare.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Must see, Resonant

See it if You are from, or married into, a Jewish family. Like brilliant writing.

Don't see it if You don't like to think about issues. You don't like shows with real drama

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Masterful, Intelligent

See it if You intelligent writing and/or great family dramas.

Don't see it if You don't like plays and/or controversial topics.

Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if A true life story very sAd about an aging father with three kids who have no time for him. Only one daughter has to take care of him. Jewish

Don't see it if You are Looking for a funny play

Absorbing, Clever

See it if You like a show that makes you think

Don't see it if You don't like LONG shows!

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Must see, Outstanding design

See it if You enjoyed shows like "Disgraced". Slow building but engaging all the way through. Engages your heart and mind. Outstanding design.

Don't see it if Slow paced political naturalism isn't your thing.

Also The best thing I've seen in New York. Don't miss this. Engaging argume... Read more Read less

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

See it if I loved this play! The acting was superb, the set incredible, the story engrossing. Not a false moment.

Don't see it if You don't like plays about families and their quirks. The three adult siblings deal with their mother's death and father's illness.

Also It sounds like it would be a downer but there were lots of laughs thro... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Masterful, Intelligent, Resonant, Relevant

See it if you enjoy family drama, religious and political themes or debates, Jewish history and culture.

Don't see it if you're looking for a fluffy light show, you don't enjoy family drama, you're looking from an escape from political issues.

Also Best show I've seen in NYC so far. Beautifully told story about the di... Read more Read less

Great writing, Funny, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You like great writing. best, most intelligent writing in a play I have seen this year. funny, thought provoking. the actors were marvelous.

Don't see it if don't want to be challenged or see something that makes you think.

Also wow..just came from this and couldn't be happier that I went. concerns... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Relevant

See it if A masterful zenith of edge and import is achieved via a controlled whirl of mental illness, Jewish identity, the decay of dreams and goals.

Don't see it if Jews *may* take offense, but there is no reason not to see this epic-on-a-small-scale play. This one Makes You Think.

Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, Well-written, Relevant

See it if you appreciate a good script and good acting

Don't see it if you don't like plays about family-issues.

Some of the best acting i've ever seen, Great writing, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

See it if If someone claims there's not much action here, they're mistaken. This is the true action of the theater, where characters fight..(see more)

Don't see it if Beautiful performances all round and provocative argument doesn't appeal to you. But if that's the case WHY would you be reading this?

Also for their lives while sitting across from one another at the dining ro... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great sets, Thought-provoking, Must see

See it if Powerful, intelligent play that stays with you long after you leave the theater. Terrific acting with very believable family interactions.

Don't see it if This play is deep. If you want entertainment without having to think or feel, this is not the right play. My heart hurt when it was over.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent script, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you are interested in a new play written by one of our best young writers. The cast is uniformly excellent. The set is wonderful.

Don't see it if you do not like intelligent theatre.

Also Don't worry about the lengthy running time—this play moves very quickl... Read more Read less

Delightful, Clever, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you have siblings!

Don't see it if you are afraid of feelings.

Absorbing, Funny, Profound, Intelligent, Intense

See it if Jewish family struggles with tradition vs. moving on. Individuals, family and community intertwine. Witty dialog and hilarious moments.

Don't see it if You don't want to think about values and the choices we must make. What is important to our identity? How free are we to decide?

Also Great writing and acting. 2 1/2 hours went by in no time.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Resonant

See it if you love plays about family, realism, plays that make you think.

Don't see it if You want to see something avant-garde.

Also So timely and thought provoking. The best thing I've seen in a long ti... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Profound

See it if I LOVED this show and I HIGHLY recommend it. Steven Levenson's writing is incredible and all the actors are so moving and impactful.

Don't see it if You don't like long plays. It's about 2 hrs and 40 minutes. I thought it went by quickly though because it's so absorbing.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant

See it if you want a thought-provoking family drama. Superb cast, especially Jeremy Shamos, and great writing.

Don't see it if you do not want a play about 9/11, the holocaust, mental illness, and aging.

Great writing, Masterful, Intelligent

See it if You love family dramas

Don't see it if You don't like kitchen sink dramas

Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if You enjoy theatre that makes you think.

Don't see it if You just want to see a fluffy show

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

See it if you love great drama. The relevance of the antisemitism theme is chilling. fabulous ensemble. great writing. One of my favorites

Don't see it if You are not interested in excellent drama.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if Really smart family drama w/multiple themes - Jewish self-image, politics, caring for aging parents, hidden family secrets. Superb acting.

Don't see it if I personally identified with so much of this play, but I wonder if a non-Jewish, non-middle aged person would be as engaged.

Also This play is so well written. Each character is well drawn, & the dial... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (14)