Already closed | 2h 5m | East Village

Nathan the Wise

From 64 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Relevant, Absorbing

About the show

Classic Stage Company presents a play about a wise Jewish merchant (F. Murray Abraham) who tries to bridge the gaps between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity in 12th century Jerusalem. More…

Muslims, Christians, and Jews live side-by-side in Jerusalem, 1192, but their fragile truce could collapse at any moment. As the tension mounts, the ruling Sultan poses a loaded question: 'Which religion is the one most beloved by God?' Nathan, a pious Jewish merchant, is charged with answering this query in order to secure the continued safety of his people. Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham plays Nathan the Wise, perhaps the greatest Jewish character in all of Western dramatic literature next to Shylock.

Member Reviews (64)


Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Relevant, Absorbing

Banal, Uneven

See it if You like F. Murray Abraham and don't care about the vehicle in which he is being featured.

Don't see it if If you can't handle an excruciatingly slow and boring and awkwardly acted and directed 1st act.

During previews
Dated, Slow, Profound, Ponderous

See it if You are more interested in the one true religion in 12th century Jerusalem than in good dialog, believable characters and plotting.

Don't see it if You're not that interested in the philosophical issues and don't want to sit through one of the longest, most convoluted recognition scenes.

April 13th, 2016
"Do not give up too early on 'Nathan the Wise'...Beginning with the piercing parable that opens the second act, the play grows increasingly engrossing...The staging, by Brian Kulick, doesn’t necessarily help...The cast is mostly good, with Mr. Abraham giving another quietly intense performance......
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April 13th, 2016
"Thoughtful and sincere, it combines a dramaturg’s love of theater history with a yen to connect today’s headlines to yesterday’s footnotes...If this sounds a tad academic, perhaps it is...But the play is gently engaging on its own terms. The marvelous F. Murray Abraham brings worldly wit to his ...
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April 14th, 2016
"'Nathan the Wise' offers Abraham an opportunity to chill or, more aptly, to warm up some, in a production that with one exception treats the play as a fine romance and not merely some fairy tale...The play is beautifully orchestrated, the characters all in balance even as they look great in Abra...
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April 13th, 2016
"The story boasts timeless urgency, but sags under a convoluted plot. Brian Kulick’s spare, well-acted revival plays up the strengths. In 1192 Jerusalem, a trio of cultures live in fragile harmony...The play unravels as ancestral secrets emerge, tricky family trees are shaken and mistaken identit...
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