If Only NYC Reviews and Tickets

(15 Ratings)
Members say
Slow, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Great acting, Absorbing

About the Show

The American Vicarious presents this 19th-century-set drama about the relationship between an ex-slave and a socialite.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (15)

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67 Reviews | 33 Followers
Enchanting, Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a wonderfully acted story about a love that could never be.

Don't see it if You like a fast paced production or love stories aren't your thing. Read more

55 Reviews | 6 Followers
Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Slow

See it if You are interested in what it might have been like in Lincoln's time for an inter-racial relationship

Don't see it if you want a fast moving story, you can't sit still fro 85 min.

95 Reviews | 8 Followers
Ambitious, Intelligent, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You like Melissa Gilbert. If you are a civil war buff. If you like good acting

Don't see it if You want something fast paced with a lot of action

184 Reviews | 17 Followers
Well acted, Disappointing, Fine set, Slow, Romantic

See it if you enjoy either history or drama that plays off historical events or people.

Don't see it if unreal characters prevent you from appreciating drama.

192 Reviews | 24 Followers
Disappointing, Uninteresting, Slow

See it if you just have to see Melissa Gilbert onstage.

Don't see it if you expect the realization to live up to the premise.

305 Reviews | 98 Followers
Intelligent, Indulgent, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You want to see 2 fine actors try to bring life to a lifeless piece of writing , the ideas are better than the outcome

Don't see it if You actually want to see something happen on stage

17 Reviews | 5 Followers
Disappointing, Slow, Ambitious, Relevant

See it if You like Melissa Gilbert and Civil War and/or turn of the century dramas

Don't see it if You are looking for a lot of drama, emotion, or action. Read more

159 Reviews | 20 Followers
During previews
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if you enjoy learning more about unrequited love and what could have been. It really left me thinking long after the show was over.

Don't see it if you are anti-interracial relationships.

Critic Reviews (19)

The New York Times
August 27th, 2017

"None of the actors comes off well in the director McElroen’s staging, which has the artificiality of a museum piece...It is like watching a sepia-tinged historical tableau come to animatronic life...Full of heavy-handed metaphor, the play fairly bursts with topicality...‘If Only’ asks what degree of intimacy, and how much agreement on our common past, is possible between Americans of different races. But its storytelling does nothing to bring urgency to the question."
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Time Out New York
August 28th, 2017

"Klingenstein’s staid, circuitous and symbol-heavy script is all tell and no show, so the production often feels static. Yet there are flashes of emotional action. Smaltz is magnetic as Samuel, who has become a history professor and gifted raconteur; he outshines Gilbert, whose hard work always shows. But even with its flaws, including a lens of white privilege, 'If Only' tugs at the heartstrings, reminding us how far we’ve come—and how depressingly far we have to go."
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August 28th, 2017

"There are very few fireworks to speak of in Thomas Klingenstein's new work 'If Only.' With a cast led by Melissa Gilbert, the play fails to conjure up the exacting realism the piece requires...The static nature of the play, the stagnant performances, and Christopher McElroen's glacial staging get in the way of what could have been an enjoyable evening...'If Only' seems more like a wax museum diorama than a living, breathing piece of theater."
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September 6th, 2017

“An intriguing enough story to provide a bittersweet diversion…The bulk of the 85-minute play is a conversation that details their past love affair, but the audience can see instantly why it didn't work...While there is a great deal of passion and danger in their situation, none of it comes through in Klingenstein's mundane dialogue. The lack of excitement and tension in McElroen's direction forces the drama to play at a lethargic pace.”
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Lighting & Sound America
August 28th, 2017

"An exercise in wistful nostalgia...Despite a couple of fine performances and one or two interesting points about race in America, I'm afraid you'll have to settle for a rather too-polite serving of tea and sympathy...Despite its generally becalmed atmosphere, 'If Only' makes for modestly pleasant viewing, thanks to the work of its leads...Despite a couple of moderately intense moments late in the evening, 'If Only' pretty much ends where it started, in a state of emotional stalemate."
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August 28th, 2017

"Klingenstein beautifully and simply renders his fictional account with exquisite detail and emotion. Klingenstein’s dialogue is precise and filled with sharp epigrams. It’s all a genteel and moving exploration of the human condition...This is essentially a two-characters-in-a-room play, and director McElroen has staged it meticulously with creative visual variance so that it compellingly reaches its wistful conclusion...'If Only' is an engrossing work of theatrical Americana."
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Theater Pizzazz
August 27th, 2017

"It would appear that both the character of the young child and Mr. Astorcott might be totally eliminated since their appearances are short lived, adding little value to the story. They might just as well be referenced for the minor benefit they provide. The play, directed by Christopher McElroen, doesn’t get off the ground, as it circles round and round seeking some real substance. ‘If Only,’ unfortunately, has several missed opportunities."
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Stage Buddy
August 28th, 2017

"Melissa Gilbert is charming, though sometimes (appropriately) a little infuriating, showing her characteristic vivacity and spark. But Mark Kenneth Smaltz's Samuel Johnson anchors the piece with his emotional gravity and strong, understated acting. Klingenstein's script is poetic and clever, if a little forced in parts...The script frequently succeeds in being warm and emotionally resonant, as well as relevant."
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