Prodigal Son
Closed 1h 35m
Prodigal Son

Prodigal Son NYC Reviews and Tickets

(107 Reviews)
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great writing

About the Show

Manhattan Theatre Club presents John Patrick Shanley's world premiere starring Robert Sean Leonard about a 17-year-old from the Bronx attending a private school in New Hampshire.

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Member Reviews (107)

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965 Reviews | 339 Followers
Banal, Indulgent, Disappointing, Strong acting, Meh

See it if you're up for strong performances in a talky play. Set in an all-boy Catholic school in 1966, the play stacks the deck for the young "hero".

Don't see it if you want engaging moral and philosophical discussions. This is the playwright's show-off autobio: see how great I turned out

692 Reviews | 152 Followers
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Indulgent, Relevant

See it if you like coming of age stories, interested in the playwright's teenage years, like stories set in boarding schools, great acting debuts

Don't see it if you expect consistent characterizations, last minute unfair twists, are a fan of Robert Sean Leonard

506 Reviews | 1002 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Must see

See it if It is a must see not only for the question re: morals but to see a star in his youth. 20 year old Timothee Chalmet is superb.. Let us watch

Don't see it if you want fluff.

605 Reviews | 226 Followers
Banal, Cliched, Funny, Insipid, Entertaining

See it if You like coming-of-age stories.

Don't see it if You want something entirely original.

481 Reviews | 315 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if Anyone would like this show. I think that people in their teens and twenties would love it but I'm 54 and I loved it too.

Don't see it if Everyone would like it

501 Reviews | 103 Followers
Confusing, Disappointing, Dizzying, Excruciating, Slow

See it if you want to take a nap. The whole show is about making the world see this "great young actor". He was ok but way over did it

Don't see it if This is the worst show I have seen all year. there is nothing good about it.

407 Reviews | 67 Followers
Excruciating, Indulgent, Original, Overrated, Slow

See it if You are a big Shanley fan, who can dismiss his vanities. Good acting.

Don't see it if You like a drama that makes a point.

300 Reviews | 75 Followers
Cliched, Banal, Disappointing, Insipid, Short!

See it if You like hearing Holden Cauffield-like whining. Timothée Chalamet gives an interesting and thought-out performance.

Don't see it if you find teenage angst tiresome and whiny.

Critic Reviews (36)

The New York Times
February 9th, 2016

"It is filled with the sort of self-worshiping, self-flagellating self-centeredness you associate with boys tormented by their raging hormones. Even when it portrays other characters, 'Prodigal Son' is inescapably all about Jim...Jim is a character in search of an author to explain him to himself. Strangely enough, the man that Jim would become seemingly has yet to achieve the distance to make this struggling artist-in-­the-­making worthy of a play of his own."
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Time Out New York
February 9th, 2016

"A keen, passionate portrait of the author as a poetry-spouting romantic punk torn between literary dreams and his roots in the Bronx...He directs his own production with a tender hand...The play is lean and cool-headed, but it contains one or two emotional explosions that cast the previous action in a new light...The night’s revelation is lanky Chalamet as Jim, nailing the Shanley accent and swagger. He gives one of the most impressive stage debuts I’ve seen in years."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
February 9th, 2016

"Telling the story of the two teenage years he spent at the Thomas More School confirmed him in his artistic path, it displays all of his mature talents for moral inquiry, rich dialogue, and compelling scene-making — and not incidentally creates a role that the 20-year-old actor Timothée Chalamet is able to knock out of the park. But 'Prodigal Son,' like its biblical namesake, is also a mopey and vexing testament to the confusions of self-regard."
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The Hollywood Reporter
February 9th, 2016

"For a work that announces itself as highly personal, this is an opaque portrait revealing little beyond the author's romanticized self-image as an embattled hero...The writing doesn't match the elegance of the production...The chief reward is the acting, which keeps the play involving even as it grows more frustrating."
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Entertainment Weekly
February 10th, 2016

"Shanley crafts a captivating warts-and-all portrait of not only a budding artist but also an average teenager struggling to find himself...We all spent at least a few angst-ridden months (or maybe longer), like Jim, in 'a special, beautiful room in hell.' Thankfully, we have writers like Shanley to bring us back — for a brief, but intense, emotion-packed 95-minute trip."
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February 10th, 2016

"Shanley has done an excellent job of directing his own play, entrusting the role of this overindulged youth to the extraordinarily gifted Chalamet…The real but largely unexplored drama lies in the conflict between the literary Jim, who writes beautiful poetry and philosophical essays, and the self-destructive Jim, who drinks, steals, and seems determined to get himself kicked out of school."
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The Wall Street Journal
February 11th, 2016

"Finely directed by the author himself and exceptionally well acted by a five-person cast led by Timothée Chalamet, 'Prodigal Son' is a heart-sore portrait of adolescent turmoil that bears the stamp of hard-earned truth on every scene…I want to see 'Prodigal Son' again soon, and I expect I will...It strikes me on first viewing as the best thing that Mr. Shanley has given us since 'Doubt.' You can’t get much better than that."
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New York Daily News
February 9th, 2016

"Thoughtful and measured, the show takes its own sweet time to reveal itself...Shanley, who directs, skillfully guides the actors well. His production is less successful. The scene changes are slow-moving, as trees slide and snap into place. The music, even though it’s by the likes of Paul Simon, tugs too heavily on the heartstrings. But those are all quibbles with this satisfying play."
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