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
Avg Score

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing

See it if excellent

Don't see it if I would not say do not see it everyone needs to see this

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Relevant, Profound

See it if you want to see a 1779 revival of a play tackling the subject of religious conflict by a fine company, led brilliantly by F. Murray Abraham.

Don't see it if you don't have the imagination to appreciate a timeless subject. We are all of the family of man, and a feared stranger may be your sibling.

Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if you like period pieces that are eternal

Don't see it if you find twists in the plot hokey

Ambitious, Great acting, Edgy

See it if you get the opportunity

Don't see it if you have to go on a Saturday night, too many people on the streets

Enchanting, Absorbing, Great acting, Delightful, Dated

See it if take the chance to see F Murray live give a great performance with a strong talented supporting cast - how many more chances will you have!!

Don't see it if you can't be patient enough for a moderately paced first half to reap rewards as the evening progresses

Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Masterful, Profound

See it if You would like to see a rarely staged historical piece made relevant and accessible for today. An excellent, enjoyable performance.

Don't see it if A dialogue-driven play, even one led by master craftsman, F Murray Abraham, is not your taste.

During previews
Disappointing, Talky, Long, Ambitious, Uneven

See it if you're an Abraham fan. His voice is terrific and he makes the most out of a messy play. His telling of the parable is the show's highlight.

Don't see it if you want intelligent plotting or ensemble acting (huge ability range). CSC should've left this one in the 1700s; it doesn't translate well

During previews
Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you enjoy great acting and a good stories. This is a parable for our times as much as for the time in which it was written.

Don't see it if you like violence and gritty realism. This play is all charm and beauty.

During previews
Simple but winning fable of religious tolerance

See it if /for play with charm of Arabian Nights, delightful F. Murray Abraham in lead, evocative set

Don't see it if you are off put by play with too many plot coincidences and overt attempt to contrast play's tolerance with current Middle East violence

During previews
Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Confusing

See it if you enjoy masterful acting, Shakespearean-type narratives, or shows with religion as a central theme.

Don't see it if you don't want to use your brain. This is a bit of a thinker (but not nearly as difficult to grasp as Shakespeare).

During previews
Great acting, Great staging, Profound, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if You like the classics and appreciate F Murray Abraham in a part that is a natural fit for him. Also Stark Sands!! Be prepared to think!!

Don't see it if You expect an action packed show that you can sit back and not pay attention to every scene- you will be lost.

During previews
Astonishing intelligent absorbing relevant great acting

See it if Amazingly absorbing historical drama. Exciting and intelligent. Jews, Christians and Muslims find common ground. Trump would be ashamed.

Don't see it if you don't go for modern language adaptations of classic plays. F. Murray Abraham is exquisite. Stark Sands gives another outstanding perf

During previews
Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you want to see a piece that is still so relevant to our current state of the world today. F. Murray Abraham is divine.

Don't see it if you don't like shows where everything is perfectly resolved.

During previews
Absorbing, Profound, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see something that relates to current situation and will make you reflect. Great cast, F Murray Abraham is wonderful. Good show.

Don't see it if You expect the Broadway "trappings" or expect a musical. If thought provoking is not for you, don't go see it.

During previews
Relevant, Interesting

See it if you like a well acted play. Timely themes from a play written in 1779. All the threads are tied up nicely in the end.

Don't see it if you don't like to pay close attention to the plot.

During previews
Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if passionate cast, engaging storyline

Don't see it if slower first act, but it pays off in the second

During previews
Relevant, Resonant, Slow, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

See it if You are a fan of F. Murray. He's really great. The cast does a nice job with the script. Nice direction. Intimate space.

Don't see it if It's a little slow to start. Act two is much better than the first. Even one of the actors fell asleep in Act one.

During previews
Profound, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if like theology and tolerance

Don't see it if simplistic plot

During previews
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Profound, Great acting

See it if you are a real theatregoer who wants to see something relevant for our time and all time. Full of love, religion & great acting.

Don't see it if you don't want to think and feel. Or want to see HAMILTON.

During previews
Great acting, Intelligent, Original, Absorbing, Profound

See it if Love original, thought provoking theater and great acting!

Don't see it if You want to think and be totally absorbed!

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Funny, Great acting

See it if Wonderful Brian Kulik production headed by the always excellent F. Murray Abraham and a fine ensemble. Humorous, touching, intelligent,

Don't see it if you don't like classic plays

During previews
Delightful, Great acting, Spare

See it if a charming, ageless parable examining religious tolerance (and intolerance) among the three Abrahamic religions could lift your spirits.

Don't see it if the accoutrements that go with a large-budget production are important to you; this is no-frills story telling.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Resonant, Relevant

See it if you want to see F. Murray Abraham deliver a fine performance; no frills show; beautiful story telling; old play, but still relevant

Don't see it if discussion about religion bothers you; Act 2 is much better than Act 1 - but that's because of the script, not the acting.

During previews
Slow, Relevant, Great acting

See it if you'd enjoy a lesson on religious tolerance in the form of an extended parable. You appreciate translations using today's parlance.

Don't see it if you hope to learn anything about historical context (just after the Third Crusade) or religion(s). Emphasis is on message's timelessness.

During previews
Relevant, Slow, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

See it if you want to see a piece very relevant and reflective of our times and current political situation. F Murray Abraham is stand out, of course.

Don't see it if you aren't up for an updated 1700s German play which has a very cliche happy/resolved ending which became quite obvious as the play went on.

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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