Fuzzy life is for living white
New York | 1h 15m | Already closed

Life is for Living: Conversations with Coward

From 14 critic and 4 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Intelligent, Enchanting, Delightful, Absorbing

About the show

The creators of 'Coward at Christmas' return to 59E59 with the world premiere of their new musical celebrating Noel Coward's remarkable impact on British and American culture. More…

A uniquely British take on the twists and turns of life, 'Life is for Living' fuses theatricality, music, and conversations (both real and imagined). The show ties together Coward's songs and writings with the work of other artists he influenced, or with whom he shared similar sensibilities. 

Lighting & Sound America

"Treat yourself to this champagne cocktail of an entertainment, celebrating a rather different Noël...Green and Shrubsole have assembled this delightful portrait of the artist...Green's most Coward-like quality: his ability to suggest a vein of deep feeling hidden beneath his clipped, civilized façade...Simon Green is a very Noël Coward sort of person -- and the perfect antidote to more tinsel-covered holiday entertainments." Full Review

Let's Talk Off-Broadway

"What a civilized intimacy these performers create!...Particularly compelling is the way the darker shades of Coward’s spirit emerge...In the nuance and ambiguity with which Simon Green delivers the songs, one glimpses more of Coward than the man with in the dressing gown...'Life is for Living' is a stimulating, thought-provoking and delightful evening of cabaret. Hearing what Noel Coward thinks, says and sings in this particular venue is a rare treat." Full Review


“Green places the romantic Coward alongside of the cynical one for a very three-dimensional portrait. As he tells us at the beginning of the show, there may have been greater theater talents, but it would have taken 12 people to combine all of the things in which he excelled. ‘Life Is for Living: Conversations with Coward’, a sophisticated and scintillating evening of music, verse and wisdom is a fitting tribute to The Master and a delightful show for those who cherish the perfect bon mot.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Yes, an argument can be made that Coward’s drinks-party sophistication, for which his cigarette holder is a perpetual synecdoche, runs so deep here that it just about reaches the genuinely philosophical...'Life is for Living' may only be 70 minutes in length, but it’s appreciably more in breadth and depth. Destiny’s tot himself would be grateful for the cleverly presented perceptions." Full Review


"Artfully blends music and theatrics along with some of Coward's personal conversations and correspondences. Coward's extraordinary musical talent, wit, and wisdom are wonderfully depicted...Bravo to Green for his dazzling performance as Coward. His vocal talents are complemented by Shrubsole's outstanding piano accompaniment...The show will give you a true sense of Coward's personality and his brilliance...An insightful, entertaining show." Full Review


"Green’s appreciation of Sir Noël Peirce Coward shines throughout this suave and well-heeled tribute to Coward from start to finish…What might have been fine-tuned is the assumption that everyone knows the breadth of Coward’s work...Shrubsole’s lyrics and music, completely inspired by Coward’s letters, words, and diary extracts, combine with Green’s vocal interpretations to create a deep, powerful portrait of Coward…The staging is beautifully rendered." Full Review


"Mr. Green is a tall, nice-looking gentleman with a poise, presence and demeanor that is tailor-made to represent, if not impersonate, the aura of Sir Noel. He segues from text to tune with artful and obligatory precision and sings well enough and at times very well, indeed...Green gets major and marvelous assist from his accompanist and composer David Shrubsole who doesn't miss a beat following Green's breezy and purposely fluid narrative." Full Review

Off Off Online

"An artistic collaboration and co-creation of love...Green is a British actor who has instant heart connection with his audience and a pleasing voice...The wonder of the show is in its perfectly pitched performance and thoughtful selections of Coward songs and text...Best, of course, are the songs, which include old favorites as well as little-known gems...This show reminds us of the sensibility, depth and linguistic virtuosity that have ravished us for nearly a century." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"Green exudes wit and charm. Green has specialized in Coward and, while not trying to do a direct imitation, captures Coward’s high-brow tone. It is exceedingly pleasurable to watch Green channel the late multi-faceted star with simplicity and an ultra engaging manner…He keeps the program simple and nimble, and in the process we learn much about Coward’s life and thoughts on a variety of subjects." Full Review

The New York Times

"Mr. Green is not performing an act of mimicry; he is not playing Coward himself, but interpreting his songs, and reciting from the diaries and letters, in a style that recalls the 'master.' His voice is neither large nor particularly rich, but his phrasing has the lightness and drollery, and the occasional bite, that’s ideal for Coward...I most enjoyed Mr. Green when he was on home turf, bringing a cool romantic ardency to Coward’s wistful love songs, or a lightly savage humor to songs." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“It would be so much better if the skimpy narrative were to consistently connect the dots, succinctly indicate just what that conversation is, and how these particular selections contribute to it. Instead, the linkages jump from subject to subject and the transitions often seem arbitrary...Audiences should be prepared simply to appreciate the pieces...Green radiates casual British charisma, sophistication, wry humor, melancholy, and occasional archness.” Full Review

Plays to See

"Mr. Green sings Coward in his own way not trying to imitate...But attempting this extraordinary fusion unfortunately results in a hodgepodge of songs and often unrelated albeit interesting excerpts from Coward’s diaries and letters...Green and Shrubsole are indeed very lively...The evening becomes a vehicle for Mr. Green’s vivacious and entertaining singing rather than an evening enlightening us about Coward, yet, I must add, skimming the surface of intentions delightfully." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Green skims lightly over Coward’s life and art as a playwright, matinee idol, songwriter, bon vivant and embodiment of stiff-upper-Englishness. The performer’s light tenor nicely evokes Coward’s early recordings, but serves less well for later, more acerbic items. With light, crisp diction he navigates Coward’s twisty, rhyme-packed lyrics, but his comic attack is too gentle. And Green seems determined to elevate Coward’s brittle, slightly misanthropic humor with melancholy wistfulness." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Too many settings sound alike. Readings and monologues are often quite wonderful...The artist, like Coward, is elegant. There are genuinely touching and lighthearted moments. Shrubsole’s accompaniment and background music (to spoken verse) is respectively sensitive and spot-on. In this show, however, he is more successful with other composer’s melodies. I admire these artists, but am disappointed with their latest effort." Full Review

Absorbing, Exquisite, Intelligent, Charming, Endearing

See it if You already adore Coward, or are waiting to fall in love with him. This is a delectable Valentine that illustrates almost all his facets.

Don't see it if You don't like Coward, the cabaret format, or things very British.

Delightful, Enchanting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you are a big fan of Noel Coward and are interested in his life; you enjoy cabaret style entertainment with a charming, talented performer

Don't see it if you hate cabaret and dislike Noel Coward 's romanticism.

During previews
Delightful, Enchanting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You are a Coward fan or you are curious about him. A cabaret style show is your thing. You know his plays but not his poetry or music.

Don't see it if You are looking for a play about Coward. This is a wonderfully entertaining duo performance an actor/singer and a pianist but not a play !

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining

See it if You are a fan of Noel Coward and all things English and enjoy sophisticated cabaret superbly performed with glorious musical accompaniment.

Don't see it if You don't like Coward's lyrics or the occasional reflective dip into poetry (set to music).

Cast & Creatives (5)