Members say: Great acting, Funny, Clever, Great writing, Absorbing

About the show

After a hit run at The Bushwick Starr, The Mad Ones' bittersweet missive about endurance and surrender in a late '80s American high school transfers to Playwrights Horizons.

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It's 1988 and the planning committee for Garrison High School's ninth annual 'Miles For Mary' Telethon is fired up and ready to go. Across subcommittee sessions in the phys-ed teachers' lounge, Drama Desk-nominated The Mad Ones assemble an analog elegy to the camcorder 1980s, girls' track and field, and the consecrated American high school.


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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

85
The New York Times

"Passive aggression, as a sly and infuriating art, has surely never been practiced as entertainingly...Both a happy product of and a ruthless portrait of the collaborative process. It also turns out to present a most ingenious acting challenge, in which rage and resentment may be expressed only indirectly...This production slides from surface comedy into an unexpected realm of emotional substance, where laughter increasingly comes with a catch in its throat." Full Review

90
Theatermania

"The hottest comedy in New York this winter. Anyone who has ever suffered through a staff meeting will immediately recognize the passive-aggression and petty slights that dot this 110-minute howler...The troupe benefits from the leadership of Lila Neugebauer, the most skilled director of ensembles working in New York today. The complexity that she and the company bring to every moment makes this rather bland high school office a treat to behold." Full Review

80
New York Theater

"Spot-on, deadpan funny look at a year’s worth of planning committee meetings for a local telethon at an Ohio high school...It’s clear that the Mad Ones collaborate better than the half dozen members of the planning committee...'Miles for Mary' might ignite memories among theatergoers who have ever worked for volunteer organizations. It could even provoke recollections of their high school years, and the realization that their teachers and coaches must have been human beings." Full Review

65
Times Square Chronicles

"'Miles for Mary' plays on nostalgia, however if you are not nostalgic for that time frame and if slice of life shows are not for you, this show will bore you to tears. I was never one for group meetings and especially a series of them, no matter how well they are acted. This show is seriously well done, but the subject matter about hiding our feelings and time outs is long past." Full Review

80
Gotham Playgoer

"The meetings are a hilarious case study in group dynamics run amok...There is much to enjoy here. The writing...negotiates a delicate balance between realism and satire. The ensemble is flawless...It’s all well-observed and often amusing, but becomes repetitive after a while. 'Do More' may be the committee’s motto, but no one is quite sure what 'more' means. As one teacher observes, sometimes less is more. As one teacher observes, sometimes less is more." Full Review

75
The Wrap

"Surprisingly, 'Miles for Mary' never gives the impression in performance of being a bunch of polished improvisations. Although you might want to escape the theater in the opening moments of these seemingly endless telethon planning sessions, a wry humor begins to weave its way through all the verbal meandering...Neugebauer’s direction and her superb ensemble prevent the play from wallowing in its sense of superiority to the profession being skewered." Full Review

85
Theater Pizzazz

"The winning play fulfills the company’s mission with little fanfare and much affection...Truly a case of creation by committee, rather than being pulled in different directions, it is amazingly cohesive. Director and cast are one. It’s hard to single anyone out because they’re so enmeshed with each other...Devoid of bells and whistles, 'Miles for Mary' celebrates the truly mundane with an eye for detail and an ear for humor." Full Review

80
New York Magazine / Vulture

"A meticulously observed, virtuosically performed ode to miscommunication...Director Lila Neugebauer excels at drawing nuanced, sensitive work out of her ensembles, and under her guidance all six actors turn in performances as meticulous as the set on which they move...It’s smart, it’s barbed, it revels in the wince-worthy, helplessly funny observation of human idiocy...I also left feeling wrung out." Full Review

70
CurtainUp

"The main comedic element lies in our pleasure of watching grownups behave like children and intelligent grownups behave like fools. The main dramatic element is anticipation of the blowup we are sure will eventually occur. Certainly, under the capable direction of Lila Neugebauer, this is ensemble acting at its best...The problem is that with nothing really at stake...The fact that many in the audience did find the play entertaining is the triumph of style over substance." Full Review

55
Talkin' Broadway

"What I see is a slender premise, funny in spots and consistently well-played, but stretched out beyond its comfort zone, to almost two intermissionless hours, and lacking a certain eccentricity that might light a fire under it. For what's on stage here is a bloated ensemble effort...The Mad Ones are being a little condescending to this bunch...Neugebauer directs the intricate interplay persuasively, and the actors fit comfortably into the faculty's insecure skins." Full Review

85
The New York Times

for a previous production "This meticulous creation from the Mad Ones theater troupe would send you bolting for the exit, if it weren’t so funny and unexpectedly touching...As directed by Lila Neugebauer, with a precision-tuned cast, the production cannily uses interactive acting to plumb the dysfunction in group dynamics...Their performances are so indivisibly linked that it would be an injustice to single one out...Neugebauer is fast establishing herself as one of the finest ensemble directors in New York." Full Review

90
Time Out New York

for a previous production "Your troubles lift from your shoulders while you're watching the show, a bittersweet comedy about high-school committee work in 1989...It's pure delight, an easy way to pay a few bucks for radiating pleasure...The company is hugely collaborative...And that collectivity has made for precision, invention, richness...Perhaps all this nostalgia doesn't apply if you don't remember the first Clinton administration. But for the rest of us, 'Miles for Mary' is being run in our honor and memory." Full Review

85
New York Theatre Review

for a previous production "The entire cast of 'Miles For Mary' is superb...The commonality of purpose among the cast is crystal clear. In a difficult play that consists of fast-paced and overlapping language they make it look seamless...The combination of actors, set and costumes comes together beautifully as integral pieces of the larger puzzle...The Mad Ones have created a thought-provoking piece not only about where the line is when it comes to getting things done but also about human interaction." Full Review

80
Culturebot

for a previous production "Stephanie Wright Thompson’s performance, and the acting across the company, is incredibly consistent and strong...A dramatic tone poem, so thick on atmosphere, I still worried toward the end about the thinness of the arc, the shallowness of its depths. Sure, I enjoyed myself but I didn’t know exactly why, or what for...Ultimately, the show’s relentless commitment to detail and unflagging performances succeeds as its own kind of marathon." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

85
Clever, Delightful, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if see also

Don't see it if see also

Also An average of a 90 and an 85. Wonderful for anyone who has ever attend... Read more Read less

82
Great acting, Resonant, Slow, The comedy is in the characters

See it if you want to see great ensemble of characters that are right on the money. Had it's charm in the characters. Many archetypes I've met. Funny.

Don't see it if You don't want a comic reflection of those long winded, nothing happens meetings, where everyone is well intentioned, but ineffectual.

Also I loved the characters. The writer nailed both the spirit and speech -... Read more Read less

89
Funny, Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if The writing arcs in a way that keeps the audience engaged. You see the characters that are fully developed and convincing.

Don't see it if you don't like American "school" plays.

69
During previews
Ambitious, Clever, Banal, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You’ve ever been on a decision by committee, planned events by group, appreciate satire, or REALLY don’t need a fast paced show.

Don't see it if You need action, don’t like wordy shows, expect a lot to happen, or need your themes spelled out clearly for you. They lost me early on...

71
During previews
Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Quirky, Superb ensemble cast

See it if you like sardonic humor, satirizing the world of committee meetings

Don't see it if you want a musical or a more traditional play with character studies of heroes (or villains).

67
During previews
Indulgent, Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated, Slow

See it if for an honest, satirical study of the way people behave in work/conference settings.

Don't see it if exceeding talky and tedious (to make the point), but without enough of a payoff.

90
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Quirky, You will laugh a lot!

See it if A unique show. Funny. Extremely mundane situation, naturalistic acting. Fun to see the clothes, hair and other details of the 1980s.

Don't see it if You don’t have the patience to wait and get the rhythm of the piece. Takes time to build. For fans of The Flick, similar naturalistic style.

Also You feel you are in the room with them (especially when you can actual... Read more Read less

80
During previews
Clever, Quirky, Cliched, Slow, Great ensemble

See it if you want to see a fine acting ensemble in a work that emphasizes process over plot.

Don't see it if you like plot-driven plays with lots of action.

Also The play takes a long time to build momentum and could benefit from so... Read more Read less

85
During previews
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Great writing, Well-observed

See it if you love great acting, great writing and a show that sneaks up on you (in a good way) in terms of everything it has to say.

Don't see it if you can't handle a slow burn. It ends up being super satisfying but if you're impatient, they'll lose you before they get there.

90
During previews
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy well written/acted plays. Pitch perfect, very funny. Do not miss this most enjoyable "sleeper".

Don't see it if only if you can't fit it in. Hope it extends. I'd go again.

85
During previews
Very good theatre!

See it if You appreciate good acting, good theatre And lots of laughs.

Don't see it if You only like musicals.

90
During previews
Remember being on one of those committees where meetings felt like being in hell? one of the funniest plays in memory

See it if brilliant satire of politically-correct, passive-aggressive behavior told thru hilarious meetings of HS teachers planning telethon

Don't see it if some may see this as a one-joke extended skit; still, audience convulsed w laughter at interactions that ultimately go off the rails

Also One of the delicious ironies of this play: "Miles," which satirizes th... Read more Read less

100
During previews
Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you love “slice of life” theatre and worship comedy.

Don't see it if you are seeking frills.

95
During previews
Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if You enjoy ensemble work. This is the real thing. Not a weak link among them.

Don't see it if You are a “process” person. You’ll likely see yourself and be highly offended!

Also Master class in ensemble performance. And, hands down, the funniest, c... Read more Read less

77
During previews
Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Confusing, Slow

See it if Entertaining. Terrific performances. Gives a slice of life view of the misery of endless meetings and committee work.

Don't see it if Went on too long. And after it made its point, then what? Tries too hard to tack on a plot.

80
During previews
Funny, Clever, Edgy, Quirky, Indulgent

See it if Satire about teachers on a committee who hold endless meetings, get on each others' nerves, and eventually break down their phony facades.

Don't see it if It's a bit long for what it is. It was funny and biting enough that I was entertained throughout. However there wasn't much substance.

49
During previews
Overrated, Irrelevant, Painful, Hell, Claustrophic

See it if You enjoy being a fly on the wall at a high school admin meeting rife with passive-aggression; you dream of being in Sartre's No Exit.

Don't see it if You enjoy plot or you work a job where long stagnant pointless meetings are the norm ; this will not be escapist. OVERRATED show.

72
During previews
Funny, Disappointing, Overrated, Tedious, Good acting

See it if You like tightly-acted shows even if the script is thin and ultimate pointless.

Don't see it if You relish character development or find workplace comedies a little too much reality.

Also Is this story a veiled metaphor for human war and the inability of soc... Read more Read less

60
During previews
Great acting, Banal, Disappointing, Cliched, Dated

See it if Good ensemble acting

Don't see it if You agree that the Midwest is boring

90
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if you enjoy seeing terrific ensemble cast peeling away group dynamics in all its nuances: exasperation, distrust, shame, dishonesty, hilarity.

Don't see it if you need elaborate staging or sets; the close-quarters vibe aptly intensifies the relatable tensions that crackle between would-be leaders.

Also For a first preview, this seemed a seamless performance and so, so fun... Read more Read less

70
During previews
Great acting, Great writing

See it if You want to be a fly on the wall and watch six teachers prepare for a benefit to raise money for a student that died

Don't see it if You need a lot of action. It’s basically five actors in the same room talking

Also This is one of these plays that I think a lot of people will either lo... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Absorbing, Masterful, Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You want to laugh out loud while also being moved.

Don't see it if No reason not to see.

89
During previews
Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy genuine comedy that doesn't try to hard, simple plays about nostalgia and workplace (particularly 80s high school) dilemmas.

Don't see it if you want to see a show with a big cathartic release at the end, or you don't like watching shows that have a sitcom quality to them.

90
During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Great writing

See it if you want to see detailed, impressive theatre. There's no two-ways about it it is just SO good in every aspect wow.

Don't see it if you don't like naturalistic, slow-build theatre where you have to listen to learn what's going on.

89
During previews
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you have ever been at a meeting with people who prefer everything to remain the same forever and ever. Funny, touching and sad. Great acting

Don't see it if you find realistic human interaction extremely boring.


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Cast & Creatives (13)