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

During previews
Absorbing, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever

See it if You enjoy pholosophy. Debates about what is right and wrong.

Don't see it if You want to sit back and not think

During previews
Great writing, Intelligent, Masterful, Profound, Resonant

See it if have an interest in great storytelling. A truly interesting story told in a beautiful way. 1700s with so much resonance in today's world.

Don't see it if you need something fluffy to eat. This play starts off slow, but sucks you in thereafter. It requires and demands your attention.

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.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Original, Enchanting, Clever

See it if you are willing to think about religions in a new light; enjoy great acting, wonderful and clever minimal staging and a good story.

Don't see it if Don't want to think, don't like parables, can't abandon yourself to the fantastic story being told.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Funny, Great acting, Don't miss!

See it if only for F. Murray Abraham's performance. 1700's play that is profoundly relevant today. Clever directing..delightful thought provoking show

Don't see it if You only like big splashy musicals. Otherwise...see it! (went to an early preview; very diverse audience, standing ovation).

During previews
Classic german play, fantasic performance by f. murray abraham

See it if You want to see a great production of a classic German play you should know but have never heard of, which has huge contemporary relevance.

Don't see it if You'll be okay missing a fantastic performance by F. Murray Abraham and Brian Kulick's last show as artistic director of the CSC.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Current

See it if You like something to think about after.

Don't see it if You don't like deep subjects with a religious taste.

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Must see, Profound, Relevant

See it if you are interested in an entertaining exploration of which of the 3 great religions is the true one. It is wholly accessible, satisfying.

Don't see it if you are not interested in those who do not believe what you do, or you do not like the way Shakespeare resolves his late romances.

During previews
Slow, Clever, Banal

See it if you're a fan of F. Murray Abraham, or if you want a fable that reflects current religious tensions without much depth.

Don't see it if you're looking for engaging dialogue, deep characters, or moving action.

During previews
An old play made new., And an old play still relevant

See it if if you're interested in the history of theater

Don't see it if you're looking for something hip

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

See it if F. Murray Abraham's performance alone is worth the ticket price. Great chance to see a rarely-staged classic in an intimate venue.

Don't see it if It's a classic play about religious characters discussing religion, so take that for what it is. Modern translation sometimes distracted.

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

See it if You like to think. You are open-minded about theology, and appreciate intelligent, provocative theater.

Don't see it if You are looking for escape.

During previews
Thought-provoking, Slow, Excruciating, Dizzying, Absorbing

See it if You like F Murray Abraham

Don't see it if You are hard of hearing. Don't like theatre in the round

During previews
Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Intelligent

See it if want to learn jewish wisdom and religion history

Don't see it if n/a

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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