Martin Luther On Trial
Closed 2h 10m
Martin Luther On Trial

Martin Luther On Trial NYC Reviews and Tickets

(45 Reviews)
Members say
Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Intelligent, Great acting, Clever

About the Show

Fellowship for Performing Arts presents a return engagement of this courtroom drama, which alternates between witnesses speaking to the impact of Martin Luther's life, and scenes from the events that shaped him.

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Member Reviews (45)

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Stoppard-esque, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Profound

See it if you enjoy intense verbal gymnastics, as in Stoppard's "Travesties". Clever conceit of a trial, through which Luther's flaws are understood.

Don't see it if You don't like heavy drama that demands intellectual engagement and a certain level of historical knowledge.

Intelligent, Indulgent, Thought-provoking, Academic, Religious

See it if you have a deep interest in theology, European history, Katharina or Martin Luther.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy explicitly religious or historical themes; have interest/grounding in Christianity; don't already know who Martin Luther is. Read more

Critic Reviews (10)

December 14th, 2016

"This drama makes up for its rough edges by being consistently imaginative, intelligent, and provocative…Director Michael Parva choreographs this complex ballet of ideas with clarity and precision. He artfully employs dimension shifts and magical special effects in a way that deepen the themes of the play…’Martin Luther on Trial' offers something that has been sorely missing from the NY theater scene for far too long: high-quality, challenging theater from a Christian perspective."
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January 10th, 2017

"'Martin Luther on Trial' is a fascinating investigation of the life and ideas of the founder of the Protestant Reformation. Whatever your religious beliefs, this is a balanced and theatrical representation of one of the great thinkers and shakers of Western Civilization. It is timely in that 2017 is the 500th anniversary of Luther's break from Rome."
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Theater Pizzazz
December 14th, 2016

"A most unusual and dazzling theatrical event…Part debate, theology examination, philosophical discourse, historical retrospective, 'Martin Luther on Trial' is intellectually challenging, a play for the head. The crackling dialogue is rich with sharp observations and cutting wit. The work, by Chris Cragin-Day and Max McLean, has been meticulously researched and the cast of characters reflects this."
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December 21st, 2016

"You might not expect a trial that entails controversial religious issues...would be as funnily histrionic as this one is. The authors make their case both amusingly and formidably with a text that is filled to the brim with witty irreverence and impassioned rhetoric...Under the direction of Michael Parva tension is built as the trial proceeds with flashbacks into Luther's turbulent life...Whatever your view, I suspect you will be enthralled as I by this damned (apology to the Devil) good show."
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Village Voice
December 21st, 2016

"The show's main problem is a side effect of its courage: It opens a door to questioning God's judgment in bringing such a man into Heaven, but then it doesn't quite walk through...When the arguments...get really heated, the play returns to the notion of salvation-just-because and lets Luther slide neatly off its hook...A bout between God and the Great Adversary can be a surprisingly watchable contest. But it loses its fun when you sense the writers throwing the game for the player they favor."
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Financial Times (UK)
December 15th, 2016

"A serious didactic work, leavened by regular doses of wit, that tackles multiple controversies in the life of the Great Reformer...The courtroom set-up certainly serves to get the competing arguments across. But, under Parva’s usually brisk direction, it can also feel schematic...The play could do with a little more compromise itself since they ultimately overestimate the dramatic power of obscure doctrinal debates...Faith alone cannot make up for such theatrical transgressions."
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December 27th, 2016

"The concept is enormously creative, a hyper-intellectual fantasy in the genre of Shaw’s 'Don Juan in Hell.' And it’s very well executed. It’s directed by Michael Parva, who keeps an eloquent tone to the whole thing, a sort of realism within a surreal moment...McTaggart’s performance as Martin Luther is terrific, with a strong and precise internal life...The ideological point of the whole thing is obscured by some overwriting...But 'Martin Luther on Trial' is a unique accomplishment."
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NY Theatre Guide
December 14th, 2016

"A dramatic, theological, psychological, hilarious, and well-written back-and-forth clash of documented moments in Luther’s life, supported by flashbacks that build up a timeline that’s easy to follow…The astounding acting combined with the gorgeous set, time period costumes, lighting, and music cues make ‘Martin Luther on Trial’ an unforgettable production of documentary, historical accuracy, and effective self-awareness."
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DC Metro Theater Arts
May 16th, 2016
For a previous production

"Funny as hell…Spellbinding storytelling…A fascinating, dynamic, and complex portrait of the man whose schismatic reading of Scripture changed history…McTaggart’s compelling performance captures each naturalistic nuance and epic passion in a way that scales the character’s convictions and contradictions to Shakespearean dimensions…A magnificent production…’Martin Luther on Trial’ belongs among the great plays about major figures in religion."
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DC Theatre Scene
May 17th, 2016
For a previous production

"The staging is impeccable, the acting is first-rate, the script is amusing and, to the extent you can say this about a play which has Hitler, Freud, Lucifer and Pope Francis talking to each other, historically accurate. Then why did I walk out of ‘Martin Luther on Trial’ so dissatisfied? In the end, it may be for the same reason Gertrude Stein didn’t like Oakland: there’s no there there."
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