Lincoln Center Theater presents playwright Douglas Carter Beane's fond remembrance of his immersion into a life in the theater. More…
"Shows for Days" is a comedy set in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1973. 14-year old Car, the play's narrator and the author's alter ego, is introduced to the world of theatre when he meets the devoted cast and crew of the Prometheus Theatre, led by Irene, an indomitable force of nature whose life is dedicated to putting on productions she directs, designs, and stars in.
"'Shows for Days' is exactly what you’d expect from a combo of coming-of-age story and love letter to the theater. But while it’s light on surprises, this production, expertly directed by Jerry Zaks, is a well-crafted hoot...Happily, Beane goes easy on the sentimentality that’s hampered some of his work, and the emotion is earned." Full Review
"Community theater gets a lot of knocks for being amateurish, but Douglas Carter Beane may have elevated it to sympathetic comedic heights with 'Shows For Days.' The quirky coming-of-age comedy is a fondly autobiographical look at Beane's induction to life in the theater...Director Zaks keeps the whirlwind production running smoothly." Full Review
"Director Jerry Zaks makes sure Patti Lupone is front and center when she is onstage. He gives her oversized personality room to scheme, sweet-talk and meddle. Zak successfully maneuvers Michael Urie’s narrator as the unifying force of the play. He skillfully and proficiently shepherds the actors around the small performance space." Full Review
"Backstage theater-memory plays tend to have an inbuilt charm. And so it is with 'Shows for Days,' Douglas Carter Beane's sweet mess of a good-natured comedy...Director Zaks can't quite herd the playwright's conflicting intentions into a single coherent voice...Despite that, and a title I can't decipher, his affectionate production is a lark." Full Review
"Often the play shifts back and forth between its two subjects, losing momentum as we wonder whom the evening is really about. There's a mild plot, which director Jerry Zaks, known for his aggressive approach to comedy, sometimes over-stages. He takes a fast, noisy, physical approach that can overwhelm the text." Full Review
"What seems to be intended as a semi-autobiographical memory play about his earliest days in the theatre turns out to be an expertly performed laugh riot. Nothing wrong with that except the jokes have hijacked the story...Veteran director Jerry Zaks aces the comedic scenes but is less successful with the dramatic elements. Still, it is all worth it for LuPone alone - zinging one-liners effortlessly the way the rest of us breathe. In the play...Too reliant on humor at the expense of real emoti... Full Review
"In 'Shows for Days,' he’s written not merely a vehicle for Patti LuPone but a glossy,curve-hugging Ferrari of a comedy...So yes, a star vehicle. But whether it can be steered is a different matter; neither Beane, nor the director, nor anyone else seems to have found a way to keep it from veering all over the place." Full Review
"Few playwrights hone quips as sharply as Beane does, and LuPone is frequently hilarious. Thanks to them, 'Shows for Days' goes by speedily—sometimes too speedily. The uneven cast of six often seems to be rushing; important plot beats are blurry and confusing...Diverting and touching as it often is, there’s not much meat in this pottage." Full Review
"Broad-as-a-barn performances are par for the course in this funny — but faulty — comic valentine...As stage reflections go, it’s pretty standard. Characters are paint-by-numbers kooky. Beane is a proven king of the zing. And director Zaks knows his way around fast-paced comedy. But even the gags lose power when a story collapses into implausibility...Fortunately, the cast of pros compensate." Full Review
"Affection and even — gasp — sentimentality muddy the waters so much that comedy, to say nothing of insight, is of at best secondary consideration. And though it may still have its moments, 'Shows for Days' does suffer somewhat as a result...'Shows for Days' is likable enough a depiction of this world, and what it means to approach it from both the inside and out, and those who have worked at the lower levels of theatre will probably find some of it too familiar for comfort. But his past depl... Full Review
"Delicious and toothsome as each of these characters is, 'Shows For Days' comes with an outer costume more like the hard armor of situation comedy. The wise-crackling zingers prevail, and our own laughter, some forced, some guilty, prevents us from getting inside the Prometheus players in any meaningful way. And so 'Shows For Days' dissolves in the ether before we’ve even left the theater." Full Review
"While 'Shows for Days' is no masterpiece, it’s unfailingly funny and disarmingly sweet, and if you’ve ever had anything to do with amateur theater, it will fill you with memories of the way you were once upon a time...'Shows for Days' has a loosely knit, Kleenex-thin plot that makes an unconvincing swerve into melodrama after intermission. But the six actors, Ms. LuPone above all, squeeze every drop of comic juice from their campy zingers," Full Review
"'Shows for Days' is another prickly valentine to the theater, in a semi-fictionalized recollection of the playwright's simultaneous discovery of his vocation and his sexuality. The personal investment is dulled by characters that too rarely escape stereotype, and by writing that's not short on humor, but sacrifices poignancy through lack of focus." Full Review
"Something went awry in this particular journey from truth to fiction, as if the play had become stuck in midmetamorphosis, like some mutant fairy-tale character frozen in an incomplete spell. 'Shows for Days' wants to be both harshly realistic and charmingly sentimental. And these disparate sides never entirely connect." Full Review
"'Shows for Days' is both a love letter to and a satire of amateur dramatics...Most of these characters are stereotypes. Though there are fine actors inhabiting them, Zaks’s amped-up style overwhelms much in the way of nuance or personality. The result is strangely insular and ultimately inconsequential –a story about community theater that doesn’t create a sense of community." Full Review
"Beane’s plot is missing a necessary coherence, though there are some funny jokes and monologues that certainly make 'Shows for Days' a worthwhile undertaking. 'Shows for Days' introduces itself by showing how Car [the playwright stand-in] met a passel of theater eccentrics and ends with his adult self rhapsodizing nostalgically over their real-life counterparts' role in making him the pro he is today. Ultimately, it doesn't do enough in between to help us understand how he got from there to... Full Review
"Bor-ring. Douglas Carter Beane tries to minimize the ho-hum factor by setting this play in a 1970s community theater troupe ruled by a diva played by Patti LuPone. Shrewd move, but the scribe neglects to fortify his spirited star and the boychick apprentice with a lucid plot, a coherent structure or even believable supporting roles." Full Review
"'Shows for Days' tugs at the theater-lover's heartstrings as the playwright indulges in his own adolescent nostalgia...And yet, the sentiment leaves us cold, as the candle playwright Beane clearly holds for these figures in his own mind fails to make it to the stage." Full Review
"'Shows for Days' is the author Douglas Carter Beane’s muddled, tonally wonky ode to growing up during a Pennsylvania stage troupe’s salad days in the early ‘70s. This memory play aims to be Beane’s own 'Glass Menagerie' via Borscht Belt, but what results here attempts to rise but does not shine." Full Review
"Virtually every theater fan or professional has a personal story about when he or she first fell in love with the art form. Douglas Carter Beane's new comedic drama 'Shows for Days' is loosely based on his own coming-of-age tale about how he was introduced to the theater. Not surprisingly, it's unoriginal and self-indulgent...The play is a rambling, undeveloped, sentimental mess." Full Review
See it if you love LuPone, you love shows about shows, you love historical, coming of age stories, you love coming out stories.
Don't see it if you hate LuPone, you want to use your phone during the show.
See it if Patti Lupone was of course great. It's a touching story that resonated with this theatre geek.
Don't see it if It's a bit inside baseball for those unfamiliar with the ins and outs of community theatre.
See it if you enjoy a show about the inner workings of a theatre company. This show also includes drama and comedy.
Don't see it if you prefer a more elaborate show, because this one is very minimalistic
See it if you want to get up close and personal with Patti; you don't own a mobile phone (or if you do, you're willing to have it taken away by Patti)
Don't see it if you do not like plays about community theater; you are looking for anything too deep in the writing
See it if you can't get enuf of theater about theater. SFD has some charm (Urie and Lupone!) but not much insight. Yes, it's tough to grow up.
Don't see it if you want something memorable. Both the script and the production seem tired. Nothing new under the spotlight.
See it if you grew up in or around a community theater, or if you love coming of age tales.
Don't see it if you're looking for something really meaningful. This is a very autobiographical show that's not always relatable. The end is very indulgent.
See it if you just want a chuckle. Or you want to see la Lupone. In a bad play.
Don't see it if you want any nuance or truth or... well, anything. So many super-talented people went so wrong with this one.