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.'

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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.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews


"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

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 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


"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

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

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

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

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

Talkin' Broadway

"The setting has an arbitrary nature that seems to function only as a way to let Levenson examine our own time from a glib remove, or to let him work in cheap jokes that are a decade or more out of date. Worse still, a handful of major plot points are mechanically articulated and executed, more for maximum surface-level effect than to hit you in the gut. With the exception of Michael, these are not people you feel strongly for one way or another." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"These are not really likable people nor are their circumstances believable. They are neurotic, bitchy and cruel...The show is wonderfully cast, with Mr. Shamos taking the helm. The direction by Daniel Sullivan’s keeps the material moving and has a sensitive touch. Mr. Levenson does have a way with dialogue, which is like a roller coaster. The problem with 'If I Forget' is it crashes and burns to a strange halt. Also some of the plot lines are highly implausible." 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


"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


"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

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


"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

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 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


"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

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"A family drama rich in both laughs and angst...Levenson is skilled at mixing seriousness with laugh lines and that renders 'If I Forget' consistently entertaining. Sullivan’s direction makes the most of the comic elements, abetted by performers who extract the maximum out of Levenson’s brittle dialogue and observations...Unfortunately, the author goes astray on occasion...Flaws aside, this family drama comes across in its way as vital and enjoyable." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

"Never has the American theatre taken such a direct shot at the Israel lobby within the US itself...Such obvious polemical intent creates both political and dramatic imbalances. The second half never quite regains the ferocious intensity of the clash before the interval...But under Daniel Sullivan’s precise, formally conventional direction, 'If I Forget’s' taboo-shattering boldness nonetheless makes this a memorable night in the history of political theatre." Full Review


"It’s a somewhat muddled play, and parts of it are not quite believable, but Steven Levenson’s acidly funny script, Daniel Sullivan’s keen direction and three terrific performances make it a very fulfilling evening of theater...'If I Forget' is a play with flaws – the final scene is, unfortunately, the weakest of the evening – but I was involved in it from beginning to end." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"Levenson manages to tell a compelling story. That's in part because he has an ear for the way regular people speak to one another...But it's also because Levenson has the ability to talk about complex issues without sounding preachy...Levenson does throw too much into the plot with subsidiary story lines...But the stellar cast director Dan Sullivan has assembled, and skillfully directs, makes it all go down easy." 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


“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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if Good writing about family affected by sickness of elder parents and how to deal with their Jewish heritage.

Don't see it if You don't like to see siblings squabbling over their inherited property.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Cliched, Interesting

See it if a play that debates a myriad of issues surrounding a Jewish family and their problems. Some fascinating issues on being Jewish now.

Don't see it if a play that debates a myriad of issues surrounding a Jewish family and their white middle class first world problems about property, etc.

Also A terrific cast takes a play that throws some typical Jewish/white mid... Read more Read less

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a wonderful family play dealing with important issues that rings of the truth.

Don't see it if you want light entertainment without thought

Also There is a lot to think about and discuss in this play. It is one of t... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Great writing

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 acting, Relevant, Confusing

See it if you enjoy plays and are Jewish. I found it a bit confusing

Don't see it if you enjoy musicals more

Relevant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if youre a fan of Levenson's writing. Want a family drama piece where each person has their own personal agenda to get across

Don't see it if you dont like longer plays about family struggles that dont always resolve as you would hope

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great writing

See it if you like great writing and acting.

Don't see it if you only like musicals.

Ambitious, Great acting

See it if You like family dramas- what to do with Dad and his store now that he belongs in a facility.

Don't see it if You cannot see siblings, each thinking of him/herself and what is best for them

Edgy, Great acting, Intelligent, Overrated

See it if You are interested in Jewish culture/experience in America. The cast is uniformly excellent. The subject matter just didn't resonate

Don't see it if Not interested in Jewish culture/experience or in an intense look at family in America.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if You like stories about the jewish culture, mental health and family relationships, all told from well developed different perspectives.

Don't see it if If you prefer happy and easy going plays, this is neither.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want to see an interesting family drama that also discusses identity regarding the Jewish faith/culture.

Don't see it if you want a light-hearted evening of theatre.

Great acting, Resonant, Enthralling

See it if you also liked THE HUMANS or enjoy dramas that explore family dynamics.

Don't see it if you tend to shy away from plays that explore themes of identity, the past, and death.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you are fascinated by family dynamics.

Don't see it if you don't like serious drama.

Funny, Intelligent, Relevant, Great writing

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

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you wonder if "political correctness" can get in the way of honest discourse.

Don't see it if you like plays with more action and less talking.

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Cliched

See it if you enjoy well-done family dramas with realistic sibling relationships and large doses of humor

Don't see it if you don't have the appetite for another drama about a family, its history, and their hidden secrets

Great acting, Engaging, Unsatisfying look at american jewish identity, Interesting, nuanced characters

See it if you would enjoy a play with good dialogue and interesting characters that raises some questions about family, the past and Jewish identity

Don't see it if it would bother you that the play has some structural flaws, too much family dysfunction, and an ending that seems grafted on

Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Great writing

See it if you like intelligent dramadies.

Don't see it if You can't tolerate heavy issues like terminal illness, mental illness and familial dysfunction.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You like examining issues that impact the Jewish people. You like family drama. Kate Walsh fans will love!

Don't see it if Talky drama is not your thing.

Indulgent, Disappointing, Excruciating, Cliched, Overrated

See it if there is no good reason to see this drivel. No soap opera would dare to put as many "crises" in an episode as this does. Heavy- handed

Don't see it if you care for theater and have anything better to do with 21/2 hours. Didn't think the second act could be worse than the first but it was

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You like family dramas and intimate conversations about real problems; interested in Jewish culture & changing beliefs;Kate Walsh shines

Don't see it if You do not like a lot of talking; not interested in family turmoil; expect a lot of action; not familiar with Jewish culture

Intense, Thought-provoking, Confusing

See it if you like to ponder the historical events that have occurred and how they affect us today.

Don't see it if you want an answer.

Intelligent, Must see, Refreshing, Resonant, Great writing

See it if you want to see a smartly written piece of theater that touches on so many powerful and important messages and themes

Don't see it if you can't handle intelligent plays that make you think

Also This play really lived up to my expectations. I had been hearing so ma... Read more Read less

"if i forget" forgot to be memorable; but at times quite moving

See it if fine cast shows w humor/pathos how Jewish family battles thru practical issues/caring for dying parent & existential/Jewish identity, etc.

Don't see it if not robust as iconic portrayals of multi-generational family dysfunction in plays like Long Day's/Humans/August Osage; flat ending

Intelligent, Relevant, Riveting

See it if you are up for a thought-provoking piece on identity

Don't see it if you need a chorus line to be satisfied.

Cast & Creatives (14)