Already closed | 1h 45m | Midtown W

Perfect Arrangement

From 19 member  reviews
Members say: Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining, Funny

About the show

Primary Stages presents the story of two gay U.S. State Department employees in 1950 who have been tasked with identifying "sexual deviants" within their ranks. More…

It's 1950 and new colors are being added to the Red Scare. Federal employees Bob and Norma are gay, and have married each other’s partners as a carefully constructed cover. Now they are being asked to investigate and name the homosexuals in their department. Inspired by the true story of the earliest stirrings of the American gay rights movement, madcap 'I Love Lucy' sitcom-style laughs give way to provocative drama as two All-American couples are forced to stare down the closet door, confronting the very struggles facing society today.

1h 45m | Already closed | The Duke on 42nd Street (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (19)

MEMBERS SAY:

Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining, Funny
83
Avg Score

70
Clever, Absorbing, Visually rich, Well acted, Uneven tone

See it if you like polished plays and don't mind a problematic script. The premise is great, but the tone careens from flippant/humorous to serious.

Don't see it if you need more than a gorgeous set/costumes and strong performances. The look at 1950 gay relations gets muddied. Disappointing.

Also I'm reviewing shows I saw pre-Show Score. This show started out like a... Read more Read less

70
Clever, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Relevant

See it if it's a great play. Really well acted. None of the actors stand out as being the weakest link so the flow is never broken. Fabulous costumes!

Don't see it if ending is self righteous, hard to believe and, in historical terms, misguided. Some shows think that a sad ending makes them more serious.

77
Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Resonant

See it if You enjoy dramedies about relationships and stories about the LGBT community and what they faced back in the 1950s.

Don't see it if You don't like stories focusing on the LGBT community.

60
Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Resonant

See it if you enjoy campy comedies with serious themes.

Don't see it if you want a fully realized play. The playwright hasn't decided if he wants this play to be a farce or something more serious.

78
Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You appreciate socially relevant stories, are interested in recent history, have strong memories of the 1950's.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy seeing shows with gay characters.

81
Clever, Funny, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if Terrific performances. Handled a serious topic deftly.

Don't see it if I didn't love the ending. It was a bit cliched.

85
Funny, Resonant, Great acting

See it if you're looking for an entertaining evening of 1950s style (dialogue, costumes, setting) with an edge. The cast is fantastic.

Don't see it if you can't get past a few well-intentioned cliches. The ending is heartfelt and true to the style of the piece, but a bit cliched.

64
Funny, Cliched, Muddled

See it if you like safe plays. You want to consider LGBT issues through an old-fashioned lens. You like 50's-60's fashion.

Don't see it if The performances were just OK. The ideas never really came together for me in spite of some entertaining moments. The sitcom part fell flat.

81
Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant, Great costumes, Great casting

See it if You like getting tense with anticipation, knowing things as an audience member that some characters don't know.

Don't see it if You don't want to be immersed (through decor, costumes, dialogue) in the period in which the show takes place.

96
Clever, Funny, Relevant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you want a hilarious play that turns on a dime to become a heart-wrenching drama that is all too close to home

Don't see it if you don't want to be depressed by finding out that many of the issues that were present then are still prevalent today

95
Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a hilarious play about a subject that's rarely talked about that also makes you think

Don't see it if you're not a fan of shows with stressful situations

100
Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious, Thought-provoking

See it if great story, humor, acting, & characters. My friends and I have taken to calling it "the best play-no qualifiers." I can't praise it enough.

Don't see it if you have a very conservative sense of humor

95
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Resonant

See it if you are willing to be a champion of change, freedom, and choice. Smart, complex, well written and nicely acted. Great.

Don't see it if you think great theater needs to have a movie star in it. The actors here are off-bway masters and each offer a must-see performance

98
Clever, Entertaining, Great writing, Intelligent, Delightful

See it if You want to see one of the best plays of the season - with sharp wit and smart writing.

Don't see it if You prefer large-scale musicals or brainless comedies.

82
Ambitious, Clever, Edgy, Original, Quirky

See it if You are interested in a brand new voice talking about American History that went largely overshadowed-but has incredible relevance today

Don't see it if You are a conservative republican.

During previews
75
Great acting, Resonant, Sad, Engaging, Intelligent

See it if you want to see a fresh take on an old theme, with some great performances.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy period pieces (specifically the 1950s in this case).

During previews
89
Clever, Engaging, Smart, Well acted, Fine staging

See it if You want to see a well written, funny and engaging play that explores themes of authenticity and the perils of duplicity.

Don't see it if Mixed tone comedies are not your thing.

During previews
90
Absorbing, Clever, Relevant, Touching

See it if You are interested in America's history of prejudice and persecution

Don't see it if You don't want to learn about the witch hunts of the McCarthy era.

During previews
90
Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if great writing and acting present a shameful time in our history; its touching, educational, entertaining and laced with humor

Don't see it if you have no empathy


October 19th, 2015
"Mr. Payne is a deft and witty writer...Under Michael Barakiva’s direction, the cast is uniformly appealing and mostly able to negotiate the tonal sashays that the script demands...But so much of the play is so quick and so quippy and so very near farce that more serious discussions of rights and...
read more
October 15th, 2015
"Contrivances build up, and the ending veers into righteousness. What looked like a 1950s sitcom turns out to be a 1980s sitcom in disguise, capped with liberal messages to applaud. But 'Perfect Arrangement' moves quick and looks nifty. Better yet, it features a pair of really capital performance...
read more
October 16th, 2015
"An attractive and engaging curiosity...How long they will remain complicit in order to maintain their secret lives is the moral dilemma that gives the 'Perfect Arrangement' unexpected power. It’s lovely to look at — and treacherous as hell."
read more
October 15th, 2015
"Usually a playwright has to choose between writing a laugh-out-loud comedy and a very serious drama. Topher Payne has written both with 'Perfect Arrangement.' With a stellar cast and zippy direction, this 1950s sitcom-style comedy set during the Lavender Scare (in which sexual 'deviants' were ta...
read more

Related content


Cast & Creatives (15)