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Prodigal Son

From 107 member  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. More…

'Prodigal Son' is a portrait of a young man on the verge of salvation or destruction. A 17-year-old boy from The Bronx finds himself suddenly in a private school in New Hampshire. He’s violent, gifted, alienated, on fire with a ferocious loneliness. Two faculty members wrestle with the dilemma: Is the kid a star or a disaster? Shanley directs his new play, and Robert Sean Leonard stars.


Member Reviews (107)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great writing
78
Avg Score

65
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

90
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.

82
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

78
Banal, Cliched, Funny, Insipid, Entertaining

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

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

100
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

1
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.

65
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.

99
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Epic, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy a drama with clever characters, lots of twists and an open ended ending.

Don't see it if you do not enjoy becoming part of the characters' lives, or if you want to know a final outcome to the story.

77
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Original

See it if enjoy a well performed coming of age story with angst & drama.

Don't see it if you do not enjoy memoirs or coming of age stories.

47
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.

68
Cliched, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Slow

See it if You want to see a performance by Timothée Chalamet before he becomes a big theatre star.

Don't see it if You want to see something more than a Catcher in the Rye rip-off. There was also some gay revelation I found offensive.

85
Clever, Intelligent

See it if You are a literature buff and want to have a cerebral theater experience

Don't see it if Your looking for something easy and light. This is dense and intense theater

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if you like John Patrick Shanley's great dialogue and story-telling. Timothee, the young boy is a fresh, refreshing, and talented new face

Don't see it if you're overly Catholic, sensitive about being catholic, or don't enjoy an interesting, autobiographical coming of age/growing up story.

70
Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you want to be impressed with intelligent, expressive acting and thought-provoking questions about the nature of life and destiny

Don't see it if you want to have all of your questions answered at the end

85
Absorbing, Refreshing, Intelligent

See it if you like good drama.

Don't see it if you don't care for playwright self reflection.

89
Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if You want to see a brilliant young performer.

Don't see it if You are looking for a light hearted romp.

85
Great acting, Intelligent, Indulgent, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if You like philosophical intelligent coming of age stories

Don't see it if Dislike self indulgent plays

94
Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if you love John Patrick Shanley -- and if you like boy's school dramas. The fugue of past, present and future at the end is masterful writing.

Don't see it if don't like interior dramas without much outward action. -- or if you don't want to see an extraordinary performance from a gifted young man.

78
Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant, Must see

See it if you like coming of age stories. good acting

Don't see it if no reason not to

75
Absorbing, Great writing, Great acting, Indulgent

See it if you like John Patrick Shanley's writing and have ever wondered what he must've been like as a teenager. Fantastic performances all around.

Don't see it if you think you might be put off by the occasional uneven, slow, or offensive bit.

83
Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Intense

See it if you enjoy coming of age stories. The playwright explores his with this play.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy coming of age stories or are looking for a diverse cast.

80
Thought-provoking, Profound, Great writing

See it if ...you love Shanley's work. ...you love plays that have a spiritual component. ....you love a complex and nuanced exploration of teen years.

Don't see it if ...you are looking for a yuk fest.

85
Great acting, Riveting, Intense, Absorbing, Intelligent

See it if ...you like coming-of-age bio-dramas, intense scenes of teen angst & confusion, & great acting by Robert Sean Leonard & Timothee Chalamet.

Don't see it if ...you're bored by autobiographical memoirs & tales of teen angst and are not a fan of Robert Sean Leonard or plays by John Patrick Shanley.

79
Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if You like thought provoking plays

Don't see it if You like a lot of action and excitement. This play brews slowly.

69
Great acting, Beautiful sets, Banal, Repetitive, Slow

See it if You enjoy plays dealing with teenage angst and you don't mind a few extra plot twists that don't go anywhere.

Don't see it if You expect a well constructed play from a respected playwright. Very disappointing.


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...
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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 actio...
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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...
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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...
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