Public Servant
Closed 1h 35m
Public Servant
75

Public Servant NYC Reviews and Tickets

75%
(98 Reviews)
Positive
81%
Mixed
13%
Negative
6%
Members say
Relevant, Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Slow

About the Show

Theater Breaking Through Barriers kicks off its 40th Anniversary season with this world premiere drama by Bekah Brunstetter ("This Is Us") about a county commissioner and a woman who needs his help.

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Member Reviews (98)

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968 Reviews | 226 Followers
68
Indulgent, Edgy, Funny, Ambitious

See it if A show that starts out fine but spirals after an hour. Good set design and lighting and Ed 's role is well done.

Don't see it if If you dont want a show that gets needlessly political. If you dont want a political show that is pointless in its politics.

677 Reviews | 152 Followers
70
Sincere, Amusing, Ambitious, Quirky, Relevant

See it if you're a fan of TBTB, enjoy slight but edgy works, interested in civic vs. individual responsibilities, family relations, like optimism

Don't see it if not interested in issues faced by the disabled or out of touch elected officials, don't like father-daughter stories or awkward set changes

567 Reviews | 146 Followers
70
Slow, Relevant, Disappointing

See it if Three who try to deal a clean hand in a political world stacked with wrong. Care given to avoid southern caricatures. TBTB.

Don't see it if TBTB. Picket fence set. Theatre with purpose often sacrifices theatricality, as in ALL the basics: What's left is a "yeah, but..." Read more

510 Reviews | 129 Followers
79
Great staging, Ambitious, Slow

See it if Great use of minimal set; not easy being a public servant or a father - then again, life isn't easy; caring conquers opposing viewpoints.

Don't see it if you want a fast paced play with action & snappy dialogue; sometimes the plot & the acting feel forced - is it the writing or direction?

504 Reviews | 56 Followers
70
Okay but doesn't go deep enough and have a real point of view.

See it if You appreciate new plays about relevant subjects.

Don't see it if You want a sharp honed play about a sensitive matter.

432 Reviews | 93 Followers
71
Relevant, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Great staging

See it if You like small shows with talented casts, an interesting story, and great staging.

Don't see it if You want a story that has more depth. While the characters are interesting and the story worth telling it felt very one note.

411 Reviews | 72 Followers
74
Good acting, Well written, Creative set design, Real contemporary issues

See it if A local councilman deals with political issues & tries to meet the needs of both constituents & family; simple at first then it gets harder.

Don't see it if You are an ardent right to lifer. Many themes intertwined by three actors, confusing at times.

419 Reviews | 61 Followers
72
Slow

See it if Young, idealist woman leaning left asks why commissioner dad is in pub service, for himself or for good? Disabled woman character is great.

Don't see it if Abortion is triggering. Slow for 80% until the end when things get more interesting. Read more

Critic Reviews (16)

The New York Times
June 11th, 2019

“’Public Servant’ is the second part of a trilogy that started with Ms. Brunstetter’s ‘The Cake’...The new play is about parenthood, paternalism and what it means to work for the people...’The Cake’, though, is a more polished and organic work than ‘Public Servant’, whose plot and dialogue can seem forced...Dramaturgically, it feels engineered...It’s a handsome production, though.”
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Theatermania
June 6th, 2019

"A heartwarming vision of how life could be, if not a particularly enthralling drama...Although their performances feel broad, the three actors fully commit to each beat...Director Geordie Broadwater crafts some tender moments between the actors, but it's not enough to compensate for a sluggish production...Brunstetter wraps everything up in an almost ludicrously happy conclusion."
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Lighting & Sound America
June 7th, 2019

“Under Geordie Broadwater's direction, the action ambles at an unhurried pace, taking time for moments of insight into three sadly deprived lives...And sometimes Brunstetter's throwaway sense of humor casts a strangely revealing light...The cast is adept at inhabiting this scratchy, solitary trio of lost souls...But ‘Public Servant’ is dogged by a certain falsity, a problem not helped by an eleventh-hour scene.”
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Theater News Online
June 6th, 2019

"Edmund T. Morris' white picket fence that greets us inside Theatre Row for Theatre Breaking Through Barriers' world premiere of 'Public Servant' may not initially impress us, but it proves before long to be the ideal metaphor for Bekah Brunstetter's gripping play - it's both deceptively simple and deceptively smart.
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TheaterScene.net
June 7th, 2019

“’Public Servant' attempts to combine two separate and unconnected stories, twisting the play out of shape in order to join them...The two stories not only seem unrelated but it is rather contrived...The play is to be complimented for giving work to actors who might be marginalized but without the story being solely about those issues but making it part of the lives of the characters...Nevertheless, the cast is quite engaging and sympathetic."
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Theatre is Easy
June 18th, 2019

"The evident awkwardness and discomfort the characters display regarding Miriam’s CP, and their discussions with her about it, allow 'Public Servant' to tackle misconceptions and stereotypes head-on without ever becoming too preachy or PC. This accomplishment is one of the strongest aspects of the production...'Public Servant,' much like a TV drama, is quick to pivot towards a happy ending and a heart-warming message."
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Front Row Center
June 7th, 2019

“Brunstetter throws Ed, Hannah, and Miriam together at critical moments in their lives...But the play winds up without a strong single central core. It becomes about the intermingled relationships between the three of them...There is a lot of heart, there is a lot of truth, but I missed some humor which was only sparsely in evidence...One of the things she absolutely aced was the character of Miriam whom she endowed with Cerebral Palsy.”
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New York Theater
June 7th, 2019

“Worthy and worthwhile new play...’Public Servant’ feels similar to 'This Is Us' in the way it weaves in social/political issues gently into the characters’ lives, and how it shares with that show its emotional and optimistic approach: The individuals are each sad and flawed but loving; they have problems, they have disagreements, there will be losses and sacrifices, but if they can support one another as a family/a community, things will work out at the end.”
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