Closed 2h 15m
Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train
Midtown W
86

Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train NYC Reviews and Tickets

86%
(213 Reviews)
Positive
96%
Mixed
4%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intense

About the Show

Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Adly Guirgis ('Between Riverside and Crazy') begins his residency at Signature with a revival of his darkly comic meditation on redemption and faith.

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Member Reviews (213)

93
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Must see, Disquieting

See it if you like an engrossing story and exceptional acting in a play encompassing topics of morality, religion, justice, race and inevitability.

Don't see it if you have no interest in prison themes or those who are incarcerated, along with their reactions to themselves and their crimes.

95
Better than the original—and the original was excellent!, Absorbing, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if your want to see one of Guirgis' early plays performed by a first-class ensemble with astute direction by Mark Brokaw.

Don't see it if you don't like intense dramas or an overuse of the "F" word. This is taut, riveting theatre—not for the "Hello, Dolly!" crowd.

Critic Reviews (28)

October 23rd, 2017

"When performed, as it is here, by a cast that can recreate its rapture as well as its moral gravity, it achieves the doubleness of great art, burrowing deeper the higher it flies...In a series of monologues that pull further back from the action, Hanrahan’s reflections on the case dissipate the tension. This slight flaw in the writing is exacerbated by a few awkward directorial choices...Brokaw has rightly focused on shaping the cast into a superlative ensemble."
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October 23rd, 2017

"These near-monologues are often gorgeous, but they can also be weirdly self-negating; in 'A Train,' they don’t even always make sense. Still, they’re full of rhetorical fireworks...Carvajal does beautifully, but DiMaggio seems to be performing for a larger room, while Gathegi infuses Lucius with fervor but insufficient danger. And the rocky production reveals a certain stasis in the play...Even as the speeches build in volume and intensity, they seem less and less connected to each other."
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October 23rd, 2017

"A superbly acted revival...Reveals a young playwright's awkwardness with its overwritten passages and reliance on expository monologues. But it also displays incendiary passion and insight into its troubled characters, qualities that are fully realized in this riveting production staged by Brokaw...The two leads deliver superb performances...It remains a vital, pulsating drama by an ascending playwright whose early promise has been richly fulfilled."
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October 23rd, 2017

"Guirgis is the go-to guy for riveting monologues and choice dialogue exchanges...The author’s one-line zingers are just as pointed than his longer and more reasoned arguments on faith and redemption...Director Mark Brokaw has spring-wound this production so that taking too long a breath means missing something. Voices are so well orchestrated they’re as complementary as the colors of a painting."
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November 28th, 2017

“A feral revival under Mark Brokaw’s direction...The fireworks come from the two prisoners and a playwright whose gifts for street poetry and philosophy are not attenuated by niceties. I would say he takes no prisoners but the opposite is the case. Especially as played with uncompromising ferocity by Carvajal and Gathegi, Angel and Lucius set the stage ablaze, in a production that has no business closing this week and ought to be on Broadway.”
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October 23rd, 2017

"This stunning revival incisively explores the possibility of morality without religion and the existence justice outside the law...Offering few answers or moments of relief, director Mark Brokaw's tightly staged production hurls these quandaries at us with the velocity of an express train making the run between 125th Street and Columbus Circle. Across-the-board stellar performances reinforce an already great play."
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October 24th, 2017

"Stephen Adly Guirgis' superb drama of public morality and personal convictions...Brokaw directs a thoroughly compelling new production that graces the playwright's emotionally thick and thought-provoking piece with an excellent company...Given that the playwright never introduces us to the loved ones of those who were killed, Valdez helps the audience question where their sympathies should lie, making ‘Jesus’ all the more fascinating."
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October 30th, 2017

"This fascinating, troubling drama begins on a bleakly hilarious note...One of Guirgis' early works, and his inexperience shows...Still, the playwright's skill is evident in the gorgeous arias given to his three main characters and for any number of scalding exchanges...Mark Brokaw's production improves on the original in just about every way."
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November 14th, 2017

“First staged by the LAByrinth Theatre Company in July, 2000, Stephen Adly Guirgis' brilliantly titled ‘Jesus Hopped the “A” Train’ has been revived at the Signature Theatre in a riveting, savage and bleakly sad production directed by Mark Brokaw. Although dealing with the consequences-perhaps deserved, perhaps not-heaped upon two murderers, ‘Jesus Hopped the “A” Train’ is not without its humor.”
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October 28th, 2017

“A breathtaking two-hour feat of humanity at its most relentless sincerity...Ferociously funny. Director Mark Brokaw stays true to the story and lets each character speak candidly to the audience. There are no superfluous stylistic choices, nor any theatrical ‘accessories’ to distract us from Guirgis' text. The result is an earnest and triumphant production without a single dull moment. Much kudos to the team of superb performers."
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October 26th, 2017

"Stephen Adly Guirgis, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, writes with guts and blood and not for the faint of heart...The play is awash with minor and major monologues like pop ups that arise in empty spaces with it’s own humor and one-liners and a symphony of themes...The play is powerful, the actors riveting, as Mark Brokaw drives the production with insightfulness."
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October 23rd, 2017

"The play still warrants all of the praise I heaped on it then. In retrospect, it was not the tentative work of a newbie finding his bearings, but the full-throttled, confident and adept work of a young writer of immense talent...It's the play that's compelling, and the fine actors are wonderful stewards of Guirgis's words...Directed with a careful but light hand by Mark Brokaw...'A Train' is not a hard play to watch, because its intensity is lightened with lots of humor."
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October 24th, 2017

“The train on which He has hopped is running in full glorious throttle in this production...Guirgis’ writing here is spare and direct. It has the urgency of life and death...The performances as spot on in every way. No loose ends. Just clarity, precision and engagement...Mark Brokaw‘s direction mirrors the writing in its simplicity and ease. This is one of those productions that makes you remember why you love the theatre – because it is transformative. Bravo.”
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October 24th, 2017

“Guirgis’ characters have nothing (and everything) to lose, and so, they argue brilliantly. They argue to the death...Make no mistake, we’re on trial here as much as the defendants during the course of this compelling play...This is a solid cast...All of this excellent work is well supported with precise and smooth direction by Mark Brokaw. Get a ticket, hop a train, see this remarkable production.”
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November 13th, 2017

“A powerful piece of writing about punishment, redemption, forgiveness, and prejudice wrapped up in God’s judgment and also societies vantage point...It’s a shame that Brokaw, who did this so well with the incredible 'Heisenberg' two-hander, fails to fluctuate the volume and speed of the train. Some variations of color and tone might have kept me leaning in more."
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October 29th, 2017

"'Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train' carefully strips away the façade of 'right and wrong,' 'innocence and guilt,' and 'good and bad' to expose the horror of 'discarding' human being...The play also resounds with the horrific wonder of the cycle of redemption...The play raises rich and enduring questions regarding justice and morality; moral ambiguity; and guilt and innocence...Gathegi’s performance is haunting and exhilarating."
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October 23rd, 2017

"Not only has time done nothing to dim the topicality of 'A Train,' being given a brilliantly acted revival under Brokaw’s beautifully economical direction, but the intervening 17 years since its New York premiere have only brightened its intensity and focus. A deeply intelligent and highly philosophical work, Guirgis’ play asks provocative questions...Brokaw wisely keeps the focus on the actors and Guirgis’ words...As unsettling as the ride can be, this 'Train' is definitely worth boarding."
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October 27th, 2017

“'Jesus'… is a powerful drama, laced with biting humor. It not only shines a blazing light on the judicial and correctional systems but embraces deeply thoughtful themes of masculinity, faith, guilt, remorse, and responsibility…These…quarrels…are…among the most fascinating and engrossing on any New York stage…Carvajal and Gathegi…combine outsized acting, vocal power and flexibility, physical vitality, and the ability to exhibit emotions on both grand and subtle scales.”
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October 23rd, 2017

"Foul-mouthed, funny, and intense and thought-provoking, the play is a promising start to Guirgis’ 2017-2018 residency at New York’s Signature Theatre...These are roles that call for a ferocity that is always watchable, but not always easy to listen to. If their fervor in this production escalates too often into unrestrained shouting, that’s on Mark Brokaw, a prolific director best-known for comedies and musicals."
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October 29th, 2017

"The intense characterizations and riveting dialogue make 'Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train' a roller coaster of a ride...Both Carvajal and Gathegi excel in this verbal wordplay that is like watching a boxing match between heaven and hell. Brokaw directs this powerful and thought-provoking play with layered wit and depth...This is a must-see for anyone who loves terrific acting and commanding and forceful theatre."
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October 23rd, 2017

"The black humor and marvelous urban patois are present, but are not well-blended with the long monologues and debates about morality, religion, and justice...The actors, particularly Carvajal and Gathegi, are marvelous...The direction by Mark Brokaw is assured and mostly succeeds in making the monologues flow into the rest of play. If you have a low tolerance for rough language or the description of violent events, you might be uncomfortable."
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October 24th, 2017

"Guirgis surprises us with street-savvy but elegant prose, smart, lacerating and viciously funny...Carvajal and Gathegi both give chilling and human performances, under the assured hand of director Mark Brokaw. They are well supported by Erick Betancourt, as a friendly guard; Stephanie DiMaggio, as a legal aid lawyer; and especially Ricardo Chavira as the brutal jailer...Guirgis is a tantalizing street poet.”
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October 24th, 2017

"The play is not an activist exposé of the penal system as much as a searing journey into the battle for the soul of humanity...Without getting pedantic or simplistic, Pulitzer Prize winner Guirgis explores many basic dichotomies...Brokaw directs with a strong but understanding hand, giving room for the actors to intersect with Guirgis’s sharp language...Gathegi doesn’t just speak his lines but he lives every word...An exciting beginning to Guirgis’s Signature Residency."
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October 25th, 2017

"Steven Adly Guirgis...has a unique ability to find the music in profanity, to reveal the presence of the divine among the depraved."
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October 23rd, 2017

"Guirgis has written an issue play, with a capital 'I'...And he’s built it on the back of some rat-a-tat dialogue and exchanges of ideas that continually reveal the capacity to surprise...It’s in those Sorkin-like exchanges that dance around Big Ideas without ever settling on even Medium-Size Conclusions, that Guirgis‘ work shines...'Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train' still packs a punch."
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October 23rd, 2017

“Some of the expository monologues feel a little forced, and some of the plot points that propel the moral haze driving the show feel a little too easy...’Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train’ may be a flawed play, but it delivers anyway. And the production--which, like its characters, seems to have taken some pretty hard punches along the way--is well worth your time and consideration. Kudos to the company for turning a bad situation good.”
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October 23rd, 2017

"Spellbinding from the moment it begins, and intensely accelerates to a dramatic conclusion...Each actor portrays the many layers of their characters with clarity and honestly. They create moments that explode with urgency. Mr. Guirgis’ dialogue is zealous and masterfully woven. You MUST see this play."
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November 20th, 2017

"The revival of this work currently playing at the Signature does full justice to the script. Indeed, it feels more relevant now than it did in the waning days of the Clinton Administration...The playwright dazzles with easy elisions of the sacred and sacrilegious, but all the while he is laying the foundation of his moral inquiry – and that is what lasts...When theatre is doing its job – as 'Jesus Hopped The 'A' Train' surely is – then it communicates what it means to be human."
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