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Our Lady of 121st Street

From 189 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Great writing, Absorbing

About the show

Signature Theatre presents a new revival of Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Adly Guirgis's brash and dark comedy. A vivid comic portrait of what happens when old friends meet old wounds and how old habits die hard. More…

After the death of the beloved Sister Rose, a group of her former students return to their Harlem neighborhood to pay respects. But at the Funeral Home, there's a problem—her dead body has been stolen. Directed by Phylicia Rashad.

Member Reviews (189)


Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Great writing, Absorbing
Avg Score

Clever, Funny, Profound, Sad, Devastating

See it if Dark comedy that grabs you with its humor, then sinks you with regret, pain and longing. Brilliant writing and language. Brutally honest.

Don't see it if You would not enjoy a play that explores lack of fulfillment in the human condition, where life gets worse and nothing is resolved.

Entertaining, Absorbing, Slightly disappointing, Great acting, Insubstantial

See it if u enjoy Guirgis' crisp, biting dialog & sharply drawn, colorful characters, here in a poignant, funny, aimless story of hope, fear & regret.

Don't see it if you expect a play with the heft, substance and payoff of Guirgis' other recent works. [This is mostly a plotless multi-character study.]

Also Stephen Adly Guirgis is a masterful observer of urban life, and this s... Read more Read less

Great acting, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Funny

See it if An early exquisite ensemble does poetic justice to Guirgis' poignant, funny & scathingly satiric drama of "arias from the street"

Don't see it if Rashad's staging is haphazard; not aided by Spangler's extra-wide set which often hinders necessary intimacy of scenes Actors still triumph

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if We attended with a group of students . They all were in the 90%-100% range for rating. .The various mini-sagas hit home for many .

Don't see it if Foul language may upset some theatergoers, stories of the various mourners although dissected are not solved. This may also present a prob.

Guirgis under guise of showing a funeral for a memorable teacher attended largely by former students causes fascinating assemblage of ny characters, hilariously and poignantly, to come to terms w their past

See it if in raucous 1st act audience screams at 7 brilliantly comedic but vulnerable scenes mixing sense of God w wild profanity; fine ensemble

Don't see it if 2nd act/comedy abates as mourners try to atone 4 letting down deceased teacher/symbolically their “Lady”; some scenes/ending uninspired

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great writing

See it if you have never seen a production of Stephen Adly Guirgis' gem of a play.

Don't see it if you have seen the original production. This production mines the humor, while missing the humanity in the characters.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Brilliant ensemble acting, Brilliant sensitive direction

See it if You enjoy plays about close community problems and situations. This play is structured around unique characters, each very believable.

Don't see it if Only reason not to see this wonderful play is if you absolutely cannot deal with rough street language spoken throughout.

Masterful, Intelligent, Great writing captures street chatter, Great ensemble acting

See it if The funeral of a nun who touched many lives brings people together in twos and threes allowing the audience to discover who they are.

Don't see it if You want plot with a resolution rather than a continuum of real life interactions that leaves you wanting more. Rough & irreligious language

Great first act, Terrific acting, Weak ending, Disappointing

See it if you love good writing.1st act has marvelous short scenes that are brilliant character studies.Acting and set are top notch.Ending is not.

Don't see it if you want a play with an ending.In this one, they just turn out the lights leaving way, way, way too many loose ends.Very unsatisfying.

Kept me engaged, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Atmospheric, Needed meat

See it if you like good actors inhabiting undernourished characters. Audience laughed thru. Some moments I won’t forget...ever. But mostly superficial

Don't see it if You care what happened to Our Lady. You don’t like swearing and adult themes.

Also I think the problem with interweaving plots is that they are sometimes... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Refreshing, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if you like getting involved with and interesting and intelligent set of characters.

Don't see it if you expect a cohesive plot. This is more like a series of vignettes.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Funny

See it if dark comedy about a variety of characters who return to a Harlem neighborhood for the wake of an admired nun; colorful characters

Don't see it if bothered by profanity even if it goes with the characters, or if you don't want acute social observations mixed with laughter

Great acting, Intense, Funny

See it if you're interested in seeing a darkly comedic play by one of the greatest contemporary playwrights out there.

Don't see it if you're put off by colorful language or are looking for a play with a satisfying conclusion.

Thoughtful, Excellent acting, Well-directed, Somewhat uneven pacing between the acts, Resonant

See it if you like urban settings and painfully honest tales about growing up in Harlem; don't mind imperfect characters; invested in human frailty.

Don't see it if vulgar language (within a church setting) upsets you; you're seeking uplifting, upbeat stories; disinterested in tales of grief and loss.

Also Our Lady of 121st Street is an earnest love-letter to Harlem, a farewe... Read more Read less

Great writing, Relevant

See it if Funerals find feelings and regrets from the woodwork to stop, reflect, and sometimes seek forgiveness.

Don't see it if Multiple parallel, slightly intertwined story lines without clean, real resolution irritate you. Sight of a coffin & profanity trigger you.

Also Ticket from box office for $30.

What may have been clever and shocking 20 years ago just ain't now!

See it if You want to see what was edgy almost a quarter century ago on stage, or if you enjoy mindless TV comedies that go no where.

Don't see it if You are looking for intelligent dialogue and/or a decent plot.

Great writing, Resonant, Clever, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see a well written play that is character driven and explores the behavior of people living in a Harlem neighborhood.

Don't see it if You are more interested in a plot with a conclusion. I enjoyed the humor and reflections of the characters.

Funny, Entertaining, Cliched, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you are a fan of the writing of the very talented playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis.

Don't see it if a play on modern themes about fucked up characters in uncomfortable situations and all spouting humorous dialogue isn't your cup of tea.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You enjoy interesting stories with unforgettable characters.The ensemble cast is outstanding.

Don't see it if You disapprove of plays that deal with issues such as religion,sexuality,drug abuse and disabilities. There is also much foul language.

Funny, Refreshing

See it if You like portraits of a community, rather than a narrative.

Don't see it if You dislike fragmented pieces. This feels more like a series of scenes than a play.

Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Funny, Ambitious

See it if You appreciate fine acting and intriguing characters.

Don't see it if Offended by language or negative depictions of Catholicism.

Also Several terrific individual performances (Rooftop and Inez, for instan... Read more Read less

Great acting, Disappointing, Intense, Riveting, Unfinished?

See it if You like plays with an assortment of characters that (almost) add up to a portrait of a neighborhood.

Don't see it if Speechifying and lack of resolution bother you.

Also Lots of raised voices substitute for conflict and resolution, creating... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if You are a fan of playwrite Guirgis & his sometimes query, often surprising story twists. A very fine group of actors made it work!

Don't see it if you like even predictable story lines.

Funny, Disappointing, Overrated, Raunchy

See it if you enjoy clever banter or a play that discusses very real subjects. The actors were all quite good and it was well directed.

Don't see it if you want to quality writing. None of the characters are likable and nothing really happens from start to finish. It was kinda depressing.

Funny, Great acting, Great dialogue, Entertaining, Quirky

See it if You enjoy lively characters brought to life by fine actors and engaging dialogue.

Don't see it if You don't like plays with minimal plots and cannot forgive what feels like an unfinished ending.

May 20th, 2018
"A raucous, rough-edged revival...The cast offers a very rich, primary-color rendition of a complicated group of people. But good as they are, they too often seem to cut corners rather than hug the curves of the play’s contours. Rashad’s staging, blurry and amorphous, is responsible for that. It ...
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May 22nd, 2018
“The production is a curious creature: It’s powered by a number of individually gutsy performances, yet, taken as a whole, its punch doesn’t quite hit the gut. It rails and rants and gets characteristically raw, but under the actor-friendly direction of Rashad, its energy can feel diffuse and its...
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May 20th, 2018
"The flimsy plotline is less important than its procession of darkly hilarious scenes...This superb production, staged to perfection by Rashad, provides a master class in how it's done...The characters unveil their hopes, fears and disappointments in a series of confrontations that are frequently...
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May 24th, 2018
"The results, if uneven, are mostly pleasing, and the play itself, of which much the same could be said, comes through with all sails billowing. It isn’t perfect, but it’s smart and touching—and fun...In the hands of a less talented playwright, this premise would lead to a steady accumulation of ...
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