New York | 2h 10m | Already closed


From 21 critic and 71 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Great writing, Thought-provoking

About the show

From Fellowship for Performing Arts comes the unlikely and true love story of renowned Oxford scholar and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis and the much younger Joy Davidman, a divorced Jewish New Yorker. More…

In the first New York revival of this Tony-nominated play, the smart, brash Joy (a former Communist and Christian convert) bursts into Lewis' sedate, middle-aged life and upends it. Lewis is as shocked as anyone to discover that he and Joy have fallen deeply in love - and then almost immediately he must contend with the equally deep pain of losing her when she is diagnosed with terminal cancer. 'Shadowlands' - also an Oscar-winning film - is a moving portrait of love and loss, faith and doubt, as inspired by Lewis' own 'A Grief Observed.'


“William Nicholson's ‘Shadowlands’ is one of those subtle plays that grows on you as it evolves and weaves its own spell. Based on a true story of one the most improbable love stories of the 20th century, it covers a range of human emotions that should catch you in its web. Under Christa Scott-Reed's assured and astute direction, Daniel Gerroll gives a memorable performance as theologian and writer C.S. Lewis. A play of ideas on the meaning and varieties of faith, it is challenging.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

"C.S Lewis isn’t alone in deriving literature from the romantic alliance. Nicholson’s 'Shadowlands' is another look at his illuminating experience...'Shadowlands', which begins and ends with Lewis lecturing the audience as congregation, is a heartfelt sermon. Beautifully acted by Gerroll, Abramson, and the entire cast and directed with quiet sympathy by Christa Scott-Reed, the production has the effect of a prayer delivered tenderly and even humorously." Full Review


"An incisive piece of writing. And as a mouthpiece for these metaphysical musings, it doesn't get much better than Daniel Gerroll, who stars as C.S. Lewis...Gerroll is infinitely truthful in his manner of blending intellectual confidence with emotional uncertainty, the conflict at the heart of 'Shadowlands'...Gerroll and Abramson are charming stage partners, and it's a delight to see their characters' friendship turn to love." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"A casual correspondence with Joy Davidman Gresham blossoms into intellectual companionship Lewis has never experienced with a woman...Nicholson’s dialogue between the two is eloquent, stimulating, and distinctly specific...Scott-Reed conducts this symphony with a sure and imaginative hand...Authentic in every way, moves fluidly, and holds visual interest. Its tone is pitch perfect.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“A tender love story beautifully told by Scott-Reed and the ensemble. Kelly James Tighe’s set of sliding walls that divide the stage into entirely different rooms is effective and practical; and Michael Bevins period costumes are lovely. Whether or not one is invested in Lewis’s life story or the theological questions encountered, it’s a captivating, well-told and heartbreaking love story that will transport you, momentarily, into another world.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"As C.S. Lewis, Daniel Gerroll is outstanding...He keeps the material alive despite the fact that the wordy, overlong play makes the same point repeatedly in slightly varied reiterations that threaten to become tedious...Gerroll has endowed his character with the spark hidden vitality, and guides us through the verbiage as if he were, indeed, a professor himself...It is beautiful to watch Lewis open the door to his soul, revealing the wonders that lie beyond." Full Review

The Playfixer

“I saw the original Broadway production...and I had my doubts as to whether the cast of the Off Broadway revival could come close...Happily, the leads at the Acorn do come close in this superb production...Scott-Reed’s direction is top notch, and her supporting cast the same. The settings by Tighe are ingenious and absolutely gorgeous, as is Spivey’s lighting...Of the 10 plays I saw last week, ‘Shadowlands’ was by far the best.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"There are a few awkward touches in Christa Scott-Reed's production but she has elicited fluent performances from her two leads, who easily convince us that these two polar opposites could be soul mates...A solidly constructed piece of work that builds to a heartbreaking climax. Even those who aren't particularly sympathetic to Lewis' ideas can be moved by the painful lesson that he learns." Full Review

Two on the Aisle

“If there is a dry eye at the end of ‘Shadowlands', you have never experienced the loss of a loved one...This play could easily become too talky, too melodramatic or too snobby. Scott-Reed has managed to avoid most of these pitfalls. She does not let anyone overplay the elements that are in the script...Excellent acting and direction by Scott-Reed...Yes, the ending may seem melodramatic but this is play is based on what actually happened." Full Review

Eyes on World Cultures

“This is a deeply moving production that never succumbs to melancholy. Gerroll as Lewis is absolutely spot on – understated yet conveying the intense trauma of loss. His brother, Warnie, played by Vennema is the delightful and sweet – and at times – bumbling Englishman. The one misstep is when Abramson mistakes Yankee enthusiasm for a character oblivious of her surroundings. Then she is more the British idea of a crass American than a convincing spirit.” Full Review

National Review

"'Shadowlands' blends the lightness and humor of a good romantic comedy with just enough theological depth to engage the intellect without feeling like homework...'Shadowlands' asks a simple question and proposes a tough answer. Where is God when we suffer?...The cast is excellent...Gerroll plays his part with the right mix of cool manners and hidden warmth. Abramson is vibrant and commanding." Full Review

First Things

“Although ‘Shadowlands’ glosses over some of the problematic implications of Lewis’s marriage, it nonetheless presents marriage as something holy, sacred, and desirable...For this treatment of holy matrimony, ‘Shadowlands’ is to be commended—as it is for its celebration of old-fashioned romance...Offers a lovely picture of romance as it ought to be...Requires us to ask questions about the goodness of marriage and the consequences of sundering it.” Full Review

Thirty Four Flavors

"One of those slow, romantic, and feel-good plays that are not for the faint of heart. The dialogue is short and sweet but echoing of content far deeper that we can all relate to...The actors work seamlessly in sympatico with one another...The chemistry between Gerroll and Abramson is warm, kind, and compassionate...‘Shadowlands’ is a wonderful feel-good play as we head into the holiday season to bring family and out of towners for the holidays." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“The historically balanced drama marches forward, sometimes a bit too slowly and properly, but all with very good taste indeed. The cast all do a fantastic stiff-upper-lipped job...A heart warming play about the bravery of stepping into the arena of Love. Knowing full well that pain and suffering comes on the backside...Jack dives in to the pool of Love and Pain, gracefully and quite properly, like any good solid Brit would do. And we applaud that brave step forward.” Full Review

Theater Life

"This might seem to have all the earmarks of a sentimental, even smarmy drama. But 'Shadowlands' narrowly avoids this fate through the vivid contrast between the very rigid and formal Lewis and the very Jewish and extremely outspoken Davidman. If Abramson pushes her portrayal a bit too far into the realm of stereotype, Gerroll occasionally manages to surprise us with the depth of his feeling. Best of all, the play is not infrequently quite funny." Full Review


“A somewhat pat though nonetheless touching drama...The sturdily-written play is nothing less than competent. The cast is solid, and is led admirably by Gerroll as Lewis and Abramson as Gresham. Both excel at finding the nuances in their characters’ initial odd couple relationship, and are endearing as their love blossoms. It’s to the actors’ great credit that I was genuinely moved when the admittedly old fashioned story takes a turn upon Gresham’s illness.” Full Review

The New York Times

“It can be calming to sit for a while with a sturdily crafted, nicely cast play that was mild even when it was new...The plot is wholly unsurprising...This iteration doesn’t always trust the pauses in the script...But Mr Gerroll and Ms. Abramson are appealing comic actors, smartly restrained and surrounded by a strong company...In its old-fashioned-ness, ‘Shadowlands’ is hardly a breath of fresh air. But it is a breath of different air, less charged than our own.” Full Review

Epoch Times

"Stirring drama...A particularly nice touch is how many of those closest to Jack see the change in him after meeting Joy long before he himself does...Gerroll is excellent as Jack...The only problems with the show can be found in Christa Scott-Reed’s direction. Some of the scenes don’t flow into one another as well as they should...A tale about making the most of the time allotted to us and shows the importance of never taking for granted those we care about most." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“The play's brief moments of fantasy are embedded in an otherwise realistic, mildly stuffy drama…Gerroll gives a believable portrayal of the mild-mannered, bookish, British intellectual, shy with women, and retiring…Abramson's Joy…is almost a caricature of the pushy New York Jew…and lacks the brainy heft the role demands. 'Shadowlands' requires two equally balanced leads to keep us honed in on what should be a tear-jerking relationship; absent that balance…there are no tears to jerk.” Full Review


"A sincere enough revival...Although I enjoyed seeing the contrast in personality that Abramson brings to Davidman's slightly abrasive facade, it is really hard to imagine what sparks could have been ignited between Jack and Joy. Certainly in real-life it must have...Director Christa Scott-Reed does what can be done to keep the protracted predictabilities at bay." Full Review

Reflections in the Light

“The philosophical banter between Joy, Christopher Riley and the others is amusing and tautly directed by Christa Scott-Reed. The humor blends with deep thoughts to create empathy for the characters as well as to force us to contemplate our own emotions...This is kind of a sad story, so be prepared, even if Joy's pain doesn't play out as totally believable (it seems acted, especially if you ever have been with someone dying the horribly painful death she did).” Full Review

Profound, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want a thoughtful, literate, moving period piece with outstanding acting.

Don't see it if You want fluff.

Also A tragic love story about real people..

Masterful, Great staging, Great acting, Exquisite, Enchanting

See it if You want to see a human story that will touch your heart. All aspects were extraordinary!

Don't see it if You have a cynical perspective.

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if A masterful. must see play. Bring tissues. Can't say enough about how moved I was.

Don't see it if If you want light and fluffy this one is not for you. But it's worth seeing it anyway.

Intelligent, Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a wonderful play about real people.

Don't see it if you dislike discussions about God. Actually there's no reason not to see this terrific play.

Also The play is sheer delight. The actors are amazing.

Must see, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy fine drama at its very best. Excellent acting, good staging. There is wonderful humor and also extremely moving moments.

Don't see it if you like fluffy dialogue or comedy.

Also After seeing a new show called The Portuguese Kid which was a waste of... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Profound, Great writing, Great acting

See it if Poignant tale with deep emotions, love, religion, hope, etc all mixed together. Show runs 2 hrs 20 min but flies by.

Don't see it if You'd be upset at pain and suffering and the tragic outcome at the end. But the show really makes you think.

Exquisite, Profound, Masterful

See it if You want to see a play that explores the concepts of love , death, and suffering with a delicate touch. Also, it's about CS Lewis.

Don't see it if While Shadowlands isn't depressing, it's not exactly a feel-good tap musical.

Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a well-written play about interesting people finding each other despite their differences with an amazing Daniel Gerroll

Don't see it if you require jazzy productions and dislike intellectual discussions; this play about a major Christian philosopher is thoughtful

Fine production, Wonderful writing, Masterful, Intelligent, Superb acting

See it if you like love stories, clever writing, perceptive characterizations, fine direction, excellent production values and superb acting.

Don't see it if dislike sad endings, intellectual gamesmanship, dialog that is, at times, difficult to understand and characters that are intellectuals.

Great writing, Must see, Profound, Romantic, Enchanting

See it if if you like great actors in a great ensemble beautifully directed. working off of a great script.

Don't see it if if your looking for a farce or an escapist romp.

Also Came out of the theater feeling like I did when I first saw "It's a Wo... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You enjoy noble characters who evolve through pain in love and truth.

Don't see it if Need show tunes, camp, or action!

Resonant, Great writing, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Whether you are an avid reader of C. S. Lewis, a fan of his or not you will be moved by the story of his late-in-life, love affair.

Don't see it if You don't like late-in-life romance.

Funny, Must see, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Enchanting

See it if You like romantic story with witty dialogues. Great staging. It's much more than the movie can convey. Will like to see it again if possible

Don't see it if Everyone should see it

Exquisite, Great writing, Great acting, Profound, Intelligent

See it if you believe and accept the power of love. It also helps if you like C.S.Lewis.

Don't see it if you are looking for some light entertainment.

Charming, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if This is a compelling character study and love story, told with humor, that also addresses serious questions. Daniel Gerroll is superb.

Don't see it if You're looking for something light, fluffy or not at all serious.

Smart, great acting, well-paced, well-written, Absorbing

See it if You like British period dramas, powerful writing, or care about CS Lewis or Oxford.

Don't see it if You want a zippy, upbeat, modern piece that moves at a clip.

Also I loved this play and would see it again. Full disclosure: I'm a PhD c... Read more Read less

Moving, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like a love story; like true stories

Don't see it if You want something light and upbeat

Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great staging

See it if you are a fan of CS Lewis or like to be in a most intimate theater setting where you feel a part of the show. Cast is strong and set is good

Don't see it if you do not like stories based on some truth. This show differs greatly from the 1991 B'dway version and yet feels so real and true to life.

Intelligent, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy philosophical and thought provoking story telling.

Don't see it if you want to see a light, fluffy show. This is a show for the deep thinkers.

Also I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this show. It really reso... Read more Read less

Funny, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you like plays base on true stories, very good directing, liked how the director intertwined his stories with the life events

Don't see it if may seem a bit old fashioned

Funny, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you are interested in an engaging story about two fascinating people

Don't see it if you prefer a mindless play that encourages your brain to go idle.

Also I was worried that this show might be depressing but it was not. Many ... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Absorbing, Great staging, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you are interested in an intelligent drama about faith and the life of a great intellect

Don't see it if if ¥ou ar bored by philosophy or theology

Entertaining, Informative, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Delightful

See it if want to see a thoughtful drama about CS Lewis late in life. The staging was great and the script kept my interest - a story still relevant.

Don't see it if you don't like any discussion of philosophy or religion; don't like period pieces; or talk about cancer and death.

Also A nice story well told with just the right amount of humor intersperse... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Romantic, Profound, Intelligent

See it if you like offbeat, improbable romances b'twn intellectuals who say more than "please pass the salt", & actually enjoy intellectual discourse

Don't see it if you want to miss a very well acted, well written revival or don't care for C.S. Lewis's writings and not interested in his bio,

Also Unfortunately, this show is now closed and so this review which slippe... Read more Read less

Great staging, Intelligent, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if Classic drama with excellent acting Thought provoking.

Don't see it if Not interested in serious drama. Tries to avoid shows with dying people and terminal cancer