Closed 2h 0m
Important Hats of the Twentieth Century
Midtown W
62

Important Hats of the Twentieth Century NYC Reviews and Tickets

62%
(23 Reviews)
Positive
57%
Mixed
13%
Negative
30%
Members say
Quirky, Funny, Original, Clever, Entertaining

About the Show

Manhattan Theatre Club presents a fantastical tale about the hottest fashion designer in 1930’s New York and his rival, who starts releasing strange new pieces like The Sweatshirt and The Skater Pants.

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Member Reviews (23)

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60
Clever, Quirky, Original, Great staging, Manic

See it if you enjoy zany, energetic, funny, weird theater. This wild romp is often engaging, but the plot is a mess. Funnier idea than execution.

Don't see it if you want theater to enlighten. This is purely entertainment. Very well staged. Chaos is come again.

60
Overreaching, Miss the mark, Funny, Nice, Well-intentioned

See it if funny repartee, outlandish stories. First act starts well, funny and well done for the venue size and play theme.

Don't see it if you want to know what the title has to do with the play. Second act takes the play in a different, not as good direction.

Critic Reviews (24)

November 23rd, 2015

"The plot of 'Important Hats' has stray bits poking out here and there, and while undeniably inventive, it isn’t exactly wearable...By which I mean coherent...While it’s amusing for a while to imbibe the perplexity that contemporary fashion might cause for ordinary folk from decades past, the novelty wears off, and Mr. Jones’s play rattles along waywardly, spinning into a confused quasi-farce. But while the play may lack substance, the production has style to spare."
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November 23rd, 2015

"Flexibility, velocity, the instant pivot: These are all hallmarks of the farceur, and the first parts of his wackadoodle sci-fi frolic 'Important Hats of the Twentieth Century' whiz by. Unfortunately, the speed runs out before the show's quite over...But without a dramatic engine the show already seems long at intermission. Jones might take Greevy's attitude about tailoring to heart: The show is comfy fun, but might fit better with some judicious cuts."
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November 23rd, 2015

"The problem is inherent in the concept, or lack of one. No one involved seems to have operated from the understanding that satire is a pinpoint form of criticism, not a clown car in which irrational characters with funny lines get taken for a ludicrous spin...This confusion isn’t just the result of the chaotic plotting, though Jones’s idea of tying up loose ends resembles what would happen if a cat did macramé."
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November 23rd, 2015

"This play is often very, very funny. There's a profusion of laugh-out-loud one-liners; the expert ensemble is consistently hilarious. But as the plot synopsis suggests, the evening also is wildly overstuffed and self-indulgent, with the playwright throwing so many subplots and gags into the mix that weariness eventually settles in. Overlong by at least a half-hour and losing comic momentum with its intermission, 'Important Hats' feels increasingly strained in the second act."
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December 3rd, 2015

"A charming farce that feels more like a zany cable-TV sitcom episode than an old-fashioned stage comedy…Part sci-fi parody, part Ayn Rand spoof and 100% screwball comedy, 'Important Hats' covers a stageful of bases in a way that is less than ideally disciplined but never anything other than funny. Sweetly uncynical and fueled by a steady stream of how’s-that-again non sequiturs, this is millennial comedy at its most engaging...The cast leaves no punchline unpunched."
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November 23rd, 2015

"Irreverent and imaginative, 'Important Hats' takes a critical question and sends it through the ringer...It's unapologetically silly fun, given an appropriately fast-paced and cinematic staging by von Stuelpnagel...Unfortunately, Jones has a tendency to rely on non sequitur as a punch line...Still, the actors sell the absurdity of each situation and bring us through the shagginess of Jones' script with a minimum of cringe-worthy moments."
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November 30th, 2015

"A mass of plot points that barely cohere as the story lurches from crisis to crisis...Somewhere inside 'Important Hats of the Twentieth Century' is a parable about the challenges of being an artist and the struggle to please oneself as well as one's public, but it's hard to get at, what with all the shouting and general running around. In the frantic pursuit of any available laugh, Jones undermines his own often-imaginative conception."
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November 23rd, 2015

"They all know that, substance-free as what they're saying and doing may be — having and making fun can often be its own reward. The play could be funnier still if it were even more tightly knitted, but what's the point in arguing too much? When the clothes fit and are right for the person, little else really matters. And in all the places where it counts most, 'Important Hats of the Twentieth Century' is impeccably tailored."
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November 24th, 2015

"Though this play is unapologetically over-the-top, it will leave you thinking as well as laughing...The ensemble of excellent actors could be having more fun on stage together...Jones’ script has a wonderful feeling of improvisation, allowing the skilled actors to really dive into the outrageous comedy of the piece. It is the mastermind of director Moritz Von Stuelpnagel, that brings this all-over-the-place comedy together while remaining surprisingly simple and focused."
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November 21st, 2015

"The fashion background gives Jones a chance to air some smart social commentary. Since the wild and wooly situations do come with a whiff of a 'Saturday Night Live' skit, especially in the overly long and second act. Consequently, 'Important Hats' isn't quite the trenchant satire it wants to be. However, it is a lot of fun. Though falling short of its ambition for depth as well as hilarious, director Moritz Von Stuelpnagel and the talented cast wrest every ounce of fun from the wacky plot."
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November 24th, 2015

"There are some very very clever scenes dotted here and there, and these actors know exactly what to do with every minute they are on stage. Their skill, and the work put in by the director Moritz von Stuelpnagel is not enough to pull this material up from the level of college skit to a grown up Off-Broadway show. Jones falls somewhere between the Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers. Somewhere between idiotic and brilliant. Call it No Man’s Land, and save your shekels."
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November 30th, 2015

"Nick Jones’ 'Important Hats of the Twentieth Century' has so many subplots, characters and parallel timelines going on at once, that to try summing them up for a synopsis would make anyone’s head spin...a delightfully absurd romp...While the play can seem as if it will explode on itself, Stuelpnagel keeps it as tight as the stitches on Greevy’s designs, which makes for a perfect allusion to how truly great fashion defies gravity and physics while looking absolutely effortless."
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November 23rd, 2015

"You’ll take your hat off to the concept – a time-travelling fashion designer – but the execution is less impressive in this zany but uneven comedy...the inciting idea is notably better than the execution. Character is Jones’s thing as is tone and the nifty one-liner. Plotting is not...There are about 20 minutes in the second act of 'Important Hats' that are zanily brilliant. But then there’s the rest of the play to consider."
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November 23rd, 2015

"Nick Jones's 'Important Hats of the Twentieth Century' is probably 15 or 20 minutes too long, should probably be played in one act instead of two and goes a bit wilder than it needs to in the second half. None of that, however, detracts significantly from one of the most delightfully original comedies to show up in these parts for far too long a stretch."
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B
November 22nd, 2015

"Imagine a very, very long 'Saturday Night Live' sketch or a class play whipped up by stoned students at some fashion school...Prepare yourself to be traumatized by the sight of masturbating yetis. And did I mention that mysterious glowing space balls are attacking New York? What were the folks at MTC thinking when they decided to subject us to this drivel? Honesty demands that I report there were a few in the audience who expressed their approval loudly and often."
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November 23rd, 2015

"Nick Jones tries something completely different in his often hilarious, always hallucinatory new comedy, 'Important Hats of the Twentieth Century,' which opened Monday at MTC’s Studio at Stage II...This mash-up of ideas is ingenious...Jones’ 'Hats' is a brilliant take-down of modern culture, from the trend of 'blue jeans in restaurants and T-shirts in the theater' to the total pretentiousness of Fashion Week."
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November 24th, 2015

"I've never before seen a play that combined high fashion in 1930s New York with a sci-fi spoof. Written by Nick Jones, the comedy is fast, frenzied and, unfortunately, dreadfully unfunny. The two halves of Jones' split-identity plot don't fit together very well, but given his errant ear for humor, it's hard to believe that if he'd chosen to focus on just one, the result would have been much better...Ultimately, 'Important Hats' seems unfinished, a collection of undigested fragments."
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November 25th, 2015

"Just about everything in 'Important Hats' falls flat, starting with the self-satisfied tone; Jones and von Stuelpnagel commit to neither the lunacy required for farce nor the daring needed for absurdism...You feel as if you're watching not a professional theater company, but a college comedy troupe intent solely upon amusing itself. Chalk it up to a low point for the talented folks involved, and hope they move on to new projects very soon."
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November 26th, 2015

"It appears to have been written by someone with the mind of a 13-year-old...Let me be clear here - the actors were magnificent...The play itself is a poor rip off of 'Back to the Future...' The story goes on and on like a Saturday cartoon and really ends up nowhere...Don't waste your time on this silly play that never should have made it to a stage - unless of course you want to travel back in time to one of your high school productions."
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November 24th, 2015

"'Important Hats,' directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel is a funny and entertaining play, which sometimes is all you want. You could argue that it delves a bit into fashion’s place in society, and while the differences between Greevy and Roms do bring about some such discussions, this is not a message play. It’s meant to make you laugh and forget your cares for a couple of hours. That it succeeds is a feather in its cap, an important hat, don’t you think?"
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November 23rd, 2015

"Jones provides many genuine laughs in the first half as he gleefully mocks fashion, science, law enforcement and journalism...Unfortunately, the second act sinks into predictability, with deliberately cheesy time-travel effects and the presence of vulgar, annoying yeti-type creatures. However, substance is not the point of 'Important Hats.' Just enjoy the sense of frivolity, the goofy sci-fi riffs, and the exceptional comedic talents of the cast."
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January 7th, 2016

"This farce of epic proportions is a hysterical journey from beginning to end; it induces belly laughs and chortles in frequent intervals...Carson Elrod and Matthew Saldivar lead a cast of nimble ensemble members taking on multiple roles as they tell an epoch tale that runs the gamut from cavemen to Elizabethan royalty to hipsters. Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel earns kudos for pacing such whirlwind action."
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November 23rd, 2015

"Witty, inventive, yet antic to the point of exhaustion, this two-hour evening embeds weighty cultural discussion in the folds of its silk bodice...By Act Two, the play’s thematic parallel gives way to a special-effects-laden staging. As the time-hat spins out of control and the actors whirl through the centuries, the story’s effectiveness begins to slip too. Yet the melding of Cole Porter sophistication with boys’ serial narrative has a daffy charm, and the actors are winning."
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November 24th, 2015

"The first act is laced with laugh-out-loud lines, but things flag in the second, when the play's pivotal twentieth-century hat — a time machine in the form of a futuristic helmet equipped with an antenna — takes center stage. The comedy's fabric unravels during the ensuing chaos, as various characters dart in and out of history — from the Roman times to the alien future (complete with mutant monsters) — and the snappy humor more or less disintegrates."
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