Perfect Arrangement
Closed 1h 45m
Perfect Arrangement
82

Perfect Arrangement NYC Reviews and Tickets

82%
(19 Reviews)
Positive
89%
Mixed
11%
Negative
0%
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.

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Member Reviews (19)

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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. Read more

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.

Critic Reviews (20)

The New York Times
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 responsibilities don’t land."
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Time Out New York
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 performances. Even when the play seems overarranged, they are damn near perfect."
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Deadline
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."
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Theatermania
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 targeted for dismissal from federal employment) manages to keep us in hysterics even as the circumstances become no laughing matter."
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BroadwayWorld
October 21st, 2015

"The sitcom tone smoothly transitions into something more serious and rebellious. 'Perfect Arrangement' is beautifully structured like an episode of I LOVE LUCY that never would have aired. Under Michael Barakiva's snappy direction, the nutty twists and turns are played with crisp comic panasche instead of as a parody, by a terrific ensemble."
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Lighting & Sound America
October 16th, 2015

"This is an imperfect 'Perfect Arrangement' -- sometimes sharply witty, sometimes almost leaden in its moralizing, and sometimes too silly for words. It doesn't help that the play climaxes with a come-to-Jesus finale in which too many characters successively realize that honesty is the best policy."
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Talkin' Broadway
October 15th, 2015

"There's much that's entertaining and thought-provoking about 'Perfect Arrangement,' but it would be better if Payne didn't himself discard Kitty's lesson so readily. He may have happened on a compelling way to immerse us within the mores of a different time. But by working too hard to connect that era to ours, he forgot that all revolutionaries, like all housewives, are not easily categorized."
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TheaterScene.net
November 1st, 2015

"'Perfect Arrangement' is a witty and engrossing well-made play in its depiction of a life style that now seems foreign in an age of same-sex marriages and openly gay heroes and icons. However, the ending in which the author presupposes a gay civil rights movement, circa 1950, does not ring historically true. Nevertheless, up until the ending, 'Perfect Arrangement' is taut, humorous and absorbing in its use of the most popular dramatic form of the 1950’s, the well-made play."
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Theater Pizzazz
October 25th, 2015

"This is a well-written sitcom with a lot of laughs about a very serious topic, under the fast paced direction of Michael Barakiva with a first-rate cast."
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CurtainUp
October 16th, 2015

"Payne hasn't quite managed to make the funny and serious elements coexist comfortably. As the play progresses there's an increasing sense that he's still deciding what kind of play he wants to write...When 'Perfect Arrangement' strays into more and more into serious territory it becomes rather unbalanced. In fact, it ends up on the preachy side."
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Front Row Center
October 16th, 2015

"'Perfect Arrangement' is, well, a nearly perfect arrangement. Check your ordered brain cells at the door and buckle your seat belts...This is an extraordinary play that pulls you into an argument you might just as soon avoid...In 'Perfect Arrangement' we meet some of the people on whose shoulders we ride. This is a play that makes you want to go back and thank them. And once that is over, pull up a pitcher of martinis and have a serious sartorial discussion."
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Stage Buddy
October 15th, 2015

"Topher Payne’s moving comedy, 'Perfect Arrangement,' will appeal to a broad audience with its sharp dialogue and beautiful visuals, and that’s important, because this plucky piece of theater is a Trojan horse delivering a complicated conversation about gender equality, LGBTQ rights and personal shame...The play feels meticulously well-crafted under the direction of theater director, Michael Barakiva, with quick changes and rapid entrances galore."
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New York Theater
October 15th, 2015

"At its best, Payne’s play tells the story of the government’s persecution of gay people in the 1950s by borrowing giddily from a 1950’s sitcom like 'I Love Lucy...' But the play ultimately stumbles...There is a shift in tone, from comic to gravely serious. That would not be a problem if the resolution of the play were not so self-satisfied and implausible."
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C
October 16th, 2015

"Topher Payne’s incredibly smart, funny, and remarkably topical comedy is now being presented under Michael Barakiva’s excellent direction...Payne not only writes clever yet realistic dialogue, but it’s a real joy to watch how his four main characters add depth and dimension as the evening progresses...The end result is at once surprising and inevitable. Isn’t that just perfect?"
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Theatre's Leiter Side
October 15th, 2015

"The setup is an excellent one...Unfortunately the writing and direction diffuse much of the impact by hitting too hard, placing a distracting emphasis on broad, sometimes farcical comedy that's not funny enough to sustain itself and begins to feel strained...It generates a few good laughs, but, for the most part, cheats the characters of reality, making them seem like abstractions.."
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The Huffington Post
October 15th, 2015

"On the surface, 'Perfect Arrangement' appears to be a hard-hitting look back at a period in America when fear of the other manifested itself hideously. Certainly, if 'Perfect Arrangement' had materialized then, it would have been. The thing is, however, that it wasn't written 65 years ago...In the play's belatedly timely circumstances, Barakiva's cast members acquit themselves well, although he might not have encouraged them to behave so much like cartoon characters during the opening scene."
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W
October 20th, 2015

"This is a beautifully crafted piece. It feels authentic and hits home without resorting to histrionics or novelty...To Director Michael Barakiva’s credit, his couples seem genuinely natural, both romantically and in physical clinches. Every actor has illuminating personal attributes. The stage and props are imaginatively used. Timing is adroit, mining the piece as skillfully for comedy as drama."
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Broadway & Me
October 21st, 2015

"Playwright Topher Payne and director Michael Barakiva know exactly what they're doing. The domestic comedy hijinks at the start of their production make all the more poignant their eventual ruminations on all the obstacles—including shame and self loathing—that had to be overcome before gay people could stand up for their rights and openly tell their stories...Payne's well-constructed play sheds valuable light on that era. "
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American Theater Web
October 16th, 2015

"Zestfully directed by Michael Barakiva, the play zips along merrily up until the moment when the quartet faces exposure. At this juncture, Payne’s script loses some of its bubbliness and veers toward the pedantic as Payne attempts to make grand statements about gay self-loathing and complicity in persecution. Despite this shift in tone, the production overall proves difficult to resist."
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E
October 10th, 2015

"Perfection is the only word that can describe Primary Stages’ 'Perfect Arrangement.' Somehow, a show set in the 1950s is fun, contemporary and completely relevant to today. Topher Payne’s script engages, makes you laugh, and also cry, as you follow the lives of Bob and Norma and their seemingly perfect marriages...The entire cast does a wonderful job of pulling you in. You leave, forever changed, viewing the world today just a bit differently than you did before."
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