Already closed | 1h 25m | West Village

If Only

From 15 member  reviews
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. More…

In 1860 Abraham Lincoln befriended two people in New York City: a well-educated ex-slave, and a spirited young society woman. In the middle of the Civil War, the President brought them together. A romantic relationship ensued, but it couldn't be acknowledged publicly. Thirty-six years later they meet again, and long for what might have been had Lincoln lived.

Member Reviews (15)


Slow, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Great acting, Absorbing
Avg Score

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Also It's an interracial love story set in the time of the civil war, so cl... Read more Read less

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.

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.

Also I was disappointed. This is a case of two very fine actors, but a rath... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Great writing, Old fashioned, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if great writing and really believable performances. Touching theme and situations.

Don't see it if you prefect high octane big shows.

Also The most impressive to me was how sharp both the main performers were ... Read more Read less

During previews
Slow, Old fashioned, Great writing, Well acted

See it if You enjoy old fashioned period plays or are a fan of Gilbert. The writer does a great job at capturing the time period and tone.

Don't see it if You dislike slow paced intimate shows or want to see something modern.

During previews
Cliched, Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow, Boring

See it if You have to see everything about the Civil War.

Don't see it if Characters who talk about themselves in third person rub you wrong.

Also A combination of a Lincoln hagiography and a worn, interracial love st... Read more Read less

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.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You can appreciate an old fashioned - but still relevant - two-hander with fabulous, subtle performances about the road not taken

Don't see it if You are looking for a fast paced, intense show. This builds slowly.

During previews
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if You like smart dialogue &/or historical dramas. Mark Smaltz is terrific!

Don't see it if You hate slow starts - hang in there past the first 15 minutes.

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Profound, Romantic, Thought-provoking

See it if you find period acting interesting but also are stirred by elements of the life of Abraham Lincoln and his social impact.

Don't see it if you want real action; this is literally a parlor piece.

During previews
Enchanting, Delightful, Great acting

See it if Great acting & interesting story with a steady build up to the obstacle. Melissa G. and Mark S. were great but Mark had something special!

Don't see it if Story does dip and stall a bit as the build up increases.

Also Air conditioner could blow harder. The play may be set at the start of... Read more Read less

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 degre...
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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 s...
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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 ge...
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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 throu...
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