New York | Already closed

LaBute New Theatre Festival 2017

From 10 critic and 18 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great writing

About the show

St. Louis Actors' Studio presents this annual evening of one-acts by Neil LaBute and other contemporary playwrights.  More…

In Adam Seidel's 'American Outlaws,' directed by John Pierson, a love triangle develops between a hit man, a self-destructive accountant. and his unhappy wife.

In Cary Pepper's 'Mark My Worms,' directed by Michael Hogan, fledgling actor Mason has been cast in a newly discovered, never-before-seen play by the world-class absurdist LaSalle Montclare. Problem is, the estate insists on it being performed exactly as written, and Montclare was a terrible typist.

Gabe McKinley's 'Homebody,' directed by John Pierson, is a macabre tale about a young, poverty-stricken writer who is forced to move back in with his mother.

In the world premiere of Neil LaBute's 'What Happens in Vegas,' directed by Kel Haney, a man and a woman break down the cost of an evening of passion in Sin City.


"Theatre enthusiasts will be thrilled by the LaBute New Theater Festival. There are four distinctive one-act plays being performed...Each of the plays strikes a different mood, making the entire program fascinating...Bravo to the outstanding group of playwrights, directors and the actors who bring LaBute New Theater Festival to the stage." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"A rollicking evening of marvelous mayhem with surprising sardonic twists you won’t see coming until they are upon you. The evening of four one-act plays slips by quickly because of the faultless direction, clever staging, functional set design and precise timing. All combine to create a neat package of entertainment with clever undertones…Pepper’s play is pure, comical genius...I and audience members were doubled over snorting in laughter from start to finish." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"The first, and the cleverest, is the new LaBute work, titled 'What Happens In Vegas.' It features an excellent Clea Alsip...Almost as enjoyable is Cary Pepper's 'Mark My Worms'...Does not overextend its premise and has the sense to end while we're still caught up in the grand silliness of it all...Neither of the other two plays quite reaches the degree of sharpness in their writing or their timing...It's also a good opportunity to observe three different directing styles." Full Review


"'What Happens in Vegas' is cleverly written and well realized by Kel Haney. Alsip and Hogan excel with impeccable timing and subtly expressive body language...The characters of Adam Seidel's 'American Outlaws' don't feel as fully-realized...The four one-acts form a collection that is entertaining on balance but uneven...Doesn't offer much in the way of diversity of voices. All four of the one-acts are written by white men, and the majority center on male characters." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"Written by Neil LaBute, 'What Happens in Vegas' is by far the strongest in style and playfulness...The four plays are all a bit too light in substance to make this a fulfilling night of one acts, but a cast that works hard to elevate the individual pieces doesn’t hurt. It’s a wonderful thing that LaBute is lending his name and talents to foster new work, I just wish they all could manage to rise to the same level of the namesake’s play, but at least Aslip is there in the finale to bring it b... Full Review


"A delightful gem and an enjoyable trifle follow two negligible works...'Homebody': In 35 minutes, Mr. McKinley delivers a very well-written, plotted and satisfying one-act play...'What Happens in Vegas': A puerile, smutty linguistic exercise that’s out of 'Oh! Calcutta!' or a 'Saturday Night Live' sketch from the 1970’s...'American Outlaws': Director Pierson’s capable staging and the pallid performances of Brown and White’s hyper acting magnify the weakness of the material." Full Review

Front Row Center

"LaBute’s opener proves a hard act to follow. In ‘What Happens in Vegas,’ LaBute gives us a darkly funny pas de deux...There is the risk, really just a suspicion, that we are watching promising scene studies—works in development—rather than realized plays. If pressed I guess I could drum up a definitive difference. But I’m struggling with it. On the one hand ‘Vegas,’ for all its brevity, feels fully formed and completely realized, while ‘American Outlaws’ begs a good deal of indulgence." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"The winners of this new-play festival, named for the noted playwright Neil LaBute, seem to have been chosen mostly for their LaButian characteristics, including a sour, misanthropic view of male-female relations and a taste for outrageous plot twists...There's really little of interest here as a showcase for playwrights; the 'LaBute Theater Festival' turns out to be more useful as a calling card for its talented cast." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Told with affection by a small ensemble playing multiple roles...While the premise for each sounds intriguing, the execution lacks a certain amount of substance. The characters and the circumstances are interesting, but that’s about the extent of the depth of these pieces...I didn’t find the events particularly compelling—when I could identify the event at all...Unless you’re a big fan of Neil LaBute and his style of storytelling, the festival might leave you feeling unsatisfied." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“There is nothing new here, nothing thought-provoking, nothing that raises rich enduring question…Kel Haney directs LaBute’s ‘What Happens in Vegas’ with efficiency…It is difficult to know what the point of the play is…One would have to search hard to find any enduring questions raised in Adam Seidel’s ponderous and overlong ‘American Outlaws.’ ’American Outlaws’ is flat from beginning to end…’Mark My Worms' is perhaps the weakest of the four offerings." Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if you’re a fan of labute, or want to see three distinctly thematically different gems.

Don't see it if Can’t see a reason not to see it.

Clever, Intelligent, Entertaining, Three of the 4 plays very good

See it if you like well-written short plays

Don't see it if you don't like one-acts

Funny, Entertaining, Great writing, Great staging, Clever

See it if you enjoy well written short plays.Naturally I enjoyed some more than others, but all were worth seeing.For the most part,acting was great

Don't see it if you don't like new plays.These aren't light and fluffy.They have something to say, and say it well.Several of them will stay with you.

Great writing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Funny

See it if You’re a Neil LaBute fan. You appreciate LaBute’s style of shocking the audience onn

Don't see it if You’re looking for something light and breezy, there are a few monologue plays on provocative topics.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Funny

See it if You like Neil LaBute and other playwrights like him. 3 of the 4 pieces were good, including Labute's debut. I like 1-act plays. Profanity

Don't see it if Dislike Neil LaBute, 1-acts, very small theatre, profanity, simulated sex and violence...

Relevant, Intelligent, Perceptive, Thought-provoking, Uneven

See it if you like one act plays, good dialog, fine acting, interesting & perceptive "take" on present day issues such as racism and human psychology.

Don't see it if dislike one act plays that deal with serious issues including nuanced studies of racism and human frailties.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Cliched, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if If you like thought provoking controversial, well written, and well performed one acts which begin to explore various of the human condition

Don't see it if you like deeper exploration of a topic with multi character interaction. At about 25 mins each, there were 3 appetizers but no entree.

Provocative, disturbing, astute writing

See it if You want to be challenged emotionally and intellectually by a writer who is happy to make you uncomfortable and demands you think & feel.

Don't see it if you are unwilling to be shaken up, especially by frighteningly clever insights into horrible politics.

Also Excellent actors handle very demanding issues of race, guilt, history,... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Edgy, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You like one acts that become clearer after time.

Don't see it if Fast-paced shows confuse you.

Quirky, Slow, Refreshing, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy short plays, Neil LaBute work, enjoy great acting ensemble (St. Louis Actors' Studio)

Don't see it if you get bored with sometimes drawn out plays and can't get past it. Though each play was about 30min long - some seemed longer

Raunchy, Clever, Quirky, Funny, Ambitious

See it if Four satires with fresh ideas. I'd give them 80-85-50-75. The humor ranged from racy to dark to silly. Overall, an enjoyable time.

Don't see it if You would mind sitting through one piece that is weaker than the others. You are looking for more overall depth.

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny

See it if You want some nice, quick and fun shows. The Labute show was my least favorite of the four and that was still good. 3rd was the best

Don't see it if followed by the 2nd, then the 4th. I love these small spaces at 59.

Uneven, Dark, Entertaining

See it if The book-ends of this 4-play series were fun, silly, light and breezy, but ...

Don't see it if the middle plays were just too dark, too long, meandering and unsatisfying.

Clever, Delightful, Great acting

See it if If you enjoy one act festivals. I have to say I really enjoyed aspects of all the shows.

Don't see it if If you don't like small theater spaces. The seats were really cramped together I thought.

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if You like watching actors that can show great range by playing multiple very different roles. Solid plays from writers I've never heard of.

Don't see it if You want to invest in theater written by writers you've never heard of- minus labute of course.

Also Really liked the first two. Third was very relatable but long. Last wa... Read more Read less

During previews
Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Quirky

See it if you are a lover of one act plays, not all created equal. You enjoy clever dialogue and quirky plots; you enjoy a good laugh.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy one act plays; you obsess if one show is not as good as the others; you demand heavy dramas and hilarious comedies.

Also Each play has its own merits. There is something for everyone in this ... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Funny, Great writing

See it if You like to see new plays from emerging talents.

Don't see it if You don't like small theater spaces where you are right on the action.

During previews
Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting

See it if You want to see some plays that take risks.

Don't see it if If you're not a fan of short plays paired together. Liked three of them. Didn't care for one at all.

Cast & Creatives (17)