New York | 2h 10m | Already closed


From 29 critic and 73 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Funny, Clever, Entertaining, Delightful

About the show

Manhattan Theatre Club presents a a high-stakes comedy by Pulitzer Prize winning author David Lindsay-Abaire about two women of a certain age locked in a no-holds-barred battle to the death. More…

When the cantankerous Abby is forced to share her desirable room in the Bristol Place Assisted Living Facility with new-arrival Marilyn, she has no choice but to get rid of the infuriatingly chipper woman by any means necessary. A seemingly harmless bet between the old women quickly escalates into a dangerous game of one-upmanship that reveals not just the tenacity of these worthy opponents, but also deeper truths that each would rather remain hidden. Starring Emmy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Holland Taylor and directed by Tony and Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce.

Center on the Aisle

"In the hands of a very capable, determined, funny, engaging cast, director Pierce and writer Lindsay-Abaire craft a truly winning, moving, thoughtful evening. The formidable Taylor and Burke are never less than thrilling to watch, deftly wielding blows and laughs within seconds of one another…'Ripcord' is a show that deserves a longer run." Full Review


"David Lindsay-Abaire’s inventive and often hilarious new work...He has created a clever set-up and an even better follow-through…The actors need to compete with the stagecraft, a clever set by Alexander Dodge that seamlessly goes back and forth between the ladies’ well-appointed living quarters and a variety of other locations. Good as it is, the actors win: especially the deliciously haughty Taylor and the delightfully daffy Burke. I could easily watch them for a half-hour every week!" Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Two hours of unrestrained, loopy, rip-roaring comedy...The success of 'Ripcord,' though, stems from the playwright. Rather than simply coming up with a clever situation featuring likably difficult characters, Lindsay-Abaire takes the action in unexpected directions which pay off in grand, comic manner." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

"Author David Lindsay-Abaire combines comedy with pathos for realistic depiction of life where the line between hilarity and heartache blur...Director David Hyde-Pierce and the cast led by a razor-sharp Holland Taylor as Abby and sweet-but-tough Marylouise Burke as Marilyn tread a fine line between laughter and tears, achieving the perfect balance between the two. Slapstick is cheek by jowl with sorrow and it works." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"I roared with laughter along with the rest of the audience. The humor that Lindsay-Abaire writes is thoughtful and intelligent. Somehow he manages to take dark and serious themes and turn them into peculiarly amusing situations...It is inappropriate and wonderful." Full Review


"A combination of witty writing, memorable performances, and smart direction ensures that there's something for everyone in this laugh-out-loud comedy overflowing with massive amounts of heart...You would have to try really hard not to enjoy 'Ripcord.'" Full Review

Time Out New York

"The great fun of David Lindsay-Abaire’s tastily sweet-and-sour 'Ripcord' lies in watching the marvelous Taylor and Burke dig their heels into this stand-off. Solidly crafted, the play is not unpredictable, but it’s larded with moments of surprise...Beyond the high jinks, 'Ripcord' offers a compelling look at the pleasure of a challenge and the challenge of finding pleasure." Full Review

Bob's Theater Blog

"David Lindsay-Abaire has a new addition to his long string of successes at Manhattan Theatre Club...The resolution was a bit disappointing...All in all, it’s a very entertaining, but not very substantial work." Full Review


"With 'Ripcord,' David Lindsay-Abaire adds a new odd couple to the long list of embraceable yous with the deeply satisfying and vastly entertaining story of Abby Binder and Marilyn Dunne, two elderly women thrown together by a comic cosmic force possessed of a wicked sense of humor...A show to treasure." Full Review


"You can figure out pretty quickly where 'Ripcord' will end up. The trip, though, is full of surprises and lots of silly fun...Under the droll direction of David Hyde Pierce, it mixes farce and sentimentality, blends witty lines with loopy settings and even has a few minutes of serious drama. It's very lightweight, and hard to resist." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire has opted here to pleasantly entertain, rather than challenge his audience. He does, however, make some interesting observations about age...Sure, there are some predictable sitcom moments, but they are funny. As directed by David Hyde Pierce, 'Ripcord' shows age doesn't wither invective. And it pushes each lead's specific talent. No one can deliver a snobbish aside better than Taylor, while Burke's zippy simplicity hides canniness." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"We laugh a lot but by intermission of this two act play I’d pretty much written it off as an extended sketch. But no, the author has something else in mind. The second act is the play grown out of its adolescence, and though it has surprises that make us laugh, it’s the work of a fine craftsman, able to give his play substance and tenderness." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"Even as the script explores some strong reflections on reclaiming experiences that the women have put behind them, the razor-sharp barbs never stop flying at a clip worthy of 'The Golden Girls' – and Holland Taylor and Marylouise Burke play gloriously to type. Yes, 'Ripcord' feels too much like a sitcom, but it’s a sitcom where the live studio audience is genuinely laughing." Full Review


"It's easy to see why Lindsay-Abaire wrote 'Ripcord' for Mary Louise Bourke. The part is made to order for her idiosyncratic charm. With his odd-couple style roommate arrangement, the playwright has not only paved the way for some of Ms. Burke's over the top comic business, but has made 'Ripcord' a two-star vehicle...There's really no big surprise as to how things will turn out. Still, it's all lots of fun." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"It’s bing, bam, boom wit and clever direction by David Hyde Pierce as this fast-paced comedy moves through two acts. And as much as you tend to love the perky Marilyn, you would enjoy some moments of quiet. Of course, there are some more serious issues that come to the fore; aging, loneliness, heartbreak but they’re left lurking under the surface. You can’t go wrong spending a night with Abby and Marilyn in 'Ripcord.' Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"You expect more from the playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, and you get it. The author of comedy-dramas that toy with sitcom expectations but then veer elsewhere, he is obviously riffing on television templates like 'The Golden Girls...' Admittedly, this stuff goes on a bit too long. But after upping the ante on the women’s incompatibility for a half hour, the play is ready to take a surprising leap." Full Review

Reviewing The Drama

"Lindsay-Abaire drops breadcrumbs throughout his just pleasant play, signaling a dramatic shift somewhere down the road. The trail doesn't lead exactly where I thought it would, which, in retrospect, made the play more engaging, but the shift did arrive. Ultimately, we see that the women needed to learn when to stop fighting it, pull the ripcord and just enjoy the view." Full Review


"A production directed with cool panache by David Hyde Pierce. It may be a bleak view of the present state of humanity, but it seems accurate and uncontroversial...Hyde Pierce ensures that the silliness factor is high throughout and this deflects from the real issues with the play. Often, it is not clear what is real and what is fantasy. One assumes Hyde Pierce intends to smooth over the vicious self-interest by these diversions and it seems to work on the basis of the reaction of the audienc... Full Review

The New York Times

"For a play centered on a seemingly irreconcilable conflict, 'Ripcord' sustains a low tension level...Some theatergoers may leave 'Ripcord' with a faint, nagging hunger for more substance. At one point, Marilyn, asked about why she never gets mad, says, 'It always leads to an ugly place, and I don’t care for ugly places.' For better or worse, this production seems to share that attitude." Full Review


"The writer has come up with an amiable if simplistic crowdpleaser, in the form of a duel of wits between 'odd couple' roommates in an assisted living facility. Although smartly directed by David Hyde Pierce, the slender sitcom hangs for dear life on the appeal of its engaging stars." Full Review

The Wrap

"At the core of 'Ripcord' is a Lifetime movie struggling to escape the quirky trappings of David Lindsay-Abaire‘s comedy...Director David Hyde-Pierce makes the most of these theatrical flourishes, as well as a few others, to distract you from the basic premise...Lindsay-Abaire turns some of the schmaltzier moments on their head, and things turn out to be not as they first appear." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"The night is not a waste by any means. We are surprised more than once as the plot and these two women pick up steam. And the performances, with the exception of a few blown lines, are pure pleasure. This is a play that entertains without making you think too much. David Hyde Pierce’s direction is solid and unaffected. Still, you may leave the theatre as I did, wanting just a bit more from these two complex women." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"If 'Ripcord' never really decides what kind of play it wants to be, there is the pleasure of seeing two accomplished pros at work. It's too bad that Lindsay-Abaire can't quite extricate himself from the confines of the standard odd-couple formula. Surprisingly, it is most entertaining in its wildest, least-credible moments. Otherwise, the element of surprise is missing; as soon as the author puts his conflict in place, it's all too clear how it will end up." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"He's taken a comedic premise that would seem primed for stage-shaking laughter, and delivered something that gets at best a strong handful of hearty chuckles and a few fuzzy feels. Rest assured, there's no danger that any tickers will stop ticking at this one...Although there's plenty to like in 'Ripcord,' it's more notable for what it lacks." Full Review


"Pulitzer-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire and actor-turned-director David Hyde Pierce bring their professionalism and comic timing -- but little credible justification -- to 'Ripcord.' This is a good-natured formula comedy about a female odd couple in an assisted living facility...Everyone is very good but, we have to ask what is all this talent doing in this sitcom?" Full Review

Clever, Great acting, Hilarious, Quirky, Must see

See it if you love to laugh! GO SEE IT!

Don't see it if your boring!

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Hilarious, Delightful

See it if you want to laugh out loud at the silly antics that these two older women get into. I was so surprised about how much I loved this show.

Don't see it if you expect a deep and serious play. If you cannot laugh at crazy antics, similar to I Love Lucy.

Clever, Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Hilarious

See it if You're in the mood for a comedy, and like sassy old ladies.

Don't see it if You want something big and epic.

Clever, Great acting, Delightful, Quirky and fun guide to aging

See it if you don't mind seeing older actors dealing with the subject of aging, assisted living and you can laugh at the human condition.

Don't see it if You only want to see hot young actors onstage.

Clever, Entertaining, Hilarious, Original, Must see

See it if You want to laugh. The pranks these ladies pulled on each other were great. Was surprised often. Thoroughly enjoyed this show.

Don't see it if You need a big production in a large theater.

Absorbing, Clever, Funny

See it if You want a great play from Mr. Lindsay-Abaire!

Don't see it if you can't laugh at the absurd.

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Hilarious

See it if You love to see great actresses perform with very witty script

Don't see it if You don't want to laugh

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Hilarious, Delightful

See it if you want a funny and poignant evening in the theater with two great actors

Don't see it if you don't like stories about old people.

Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Hilarious, Indulgent

See it if you are a Rachel Dratch, Holland Taylor, Mary Louise Burke, or David Hyde Pierce fan, you love old-school yet contemporary farce, like fun.

Don't see it if You scare easily, can't handle a little cheesy humor, don't like laughter.

Funny, Entertaining, Clever, Original, Hilarious

See it if you love a good practical joke, and brilliant acting

Don't see it if don't like surprises

Absorbing, Great acting, Funny, Clever, Entertaining

See it if You like to laugh, and you enjoy great acting.

Don't see it if You lack a sense of humor.

Hilarious, Great acting, Great writing, Clever, Lovely

See it if you want to see a comedy that's truly funny, expertly executed.

Don't see it if you don't like to laugh.

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if You appreciate funny pranks and a sense of humor

Don't see it if You cannot see humor in growing older and the challenges that older people face

Funny, Great staging, Fluffy, Great acting

See it if you like sweet, funny, surprising stories about feisty old people; or the cast; or the playwright.

Don't see it if you're not in the mood for something light-hearted and fun.

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Hilarious, Relevant

See it if You like great acting, humor. A play about older women -- you'll view these characters very differently when you leave than at the start.

Don't see it if You don't like quirky characters.

Clever, Entertaining, Cliched, Refreshing

See it if You like plot twists! Kept me attention the entire time.

Don't see it if You have a hard time relating to the elderly.

Funny, Refreshing, Original, Delightful, Great writing

See it if you enjoy creative one-upmanship

Don't see it if you have no interest in the lives of seniors

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Delightful

See it if you want to watch 2 master craftswomen - Holland Taylor & Mary Louise Burke - spar in brilliantly mad cap ways.

Don't see it if the setting of an assisted living facility disturbs or unnerves, or if you don't enjoy entirely outrageous(ly enjoyable) plot twists

Funny, Great acting, Great writing

See it if If you love great actresses in great comedic roles.

Don't see it if You are with a theater group from your retirement home.

Absorbing, Relevant, Funny, Original

See it if You want to see two theater pros riffing off each other, a very funny plot and strong supporting performances.

Don't see it if You're age-ist or you're looking for profound messages.

Ambitious, Clever, Great acting

See it if you want to see a good play

Don't see it if if you dont like plays

Hilarious, Refreshing, Heartfelt

See it if you have a good sense of humor about the trials of growing old. You are guilty of being a perpetual prankster.

Don't see it if you are looking for a romantic drama.

Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Hilarious, Original

See it if you want to see two fantastic actresses engaged in hilarious hijinks!

Don't see it if you don't like comedy that is a little bit over the top.

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if You enjoy a small ensemble show with an excellent cast; a funny (occasionally zany) script with poignant moments about senior issues.

Don't see it if You are expecting deep, nuanced and edgy theater.

Clever, Entertaining, Funny

See it if You love to laugh and would like to see some fine performances by this very talented cast.

Don't see it if You have no sense of humor or would not enjoy seeing a show set in a nursing home.

Cast & Creatives (13)