Small World (59E59 Theaters)
Closed 1h 30m
Small World (59E59 Theaters)
82

Small World (59E59 Theaters) NYC Reviews and Tickets

82%
(101 Reviews)
Positive
97%
Mixed
3%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Intelligent, Clever, Absorbing

About the Show

Penguin Rep Theatre brings its 2015 comedy about the creation of Disney's classic movie 'Fantasia' to 59E59.

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (101)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
75
Popular art vs. high art, Talky, Clever, Well acted, No plot

See it if you enjoy polished 2-handers. Here, titans (Disney/Stravinsky) square off. Little conflict, no arc. Interesting POVs. Well drawn characters.

Don't see it if you want more than talk. Act I is strong (w/long descriptn fr Fantasia). Act 2 isn't convincing. Act 3 is silly premise. Jokes rather forced Read more

75
Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if Well written and acted. Interesting snippet of "history". Absorbing.

Don't see it if Simple staging. Conversation only. Little action. Still interesting to watch.

Critic Reviews (18)

Theatermania
September 18th, 2017

"Whatever drama there may have been between these men in real life, none of it carries over in this Penguin Rep production...At times, 'Small World' has a certain amount of potential...But overall, the piece lacks the deep psychological underpinnings and tension to communicate both men's individual struggles. The discussions of art and commerce are unoriginal, and the humor stays at this easy, low-ball level throughout. Still, the performances are charming."
Read more

BroadwayWorld
September 21st, 2017

"'Small World' is an insightful and appealing play, one that will challenge your ideas about art in its different forms...This two-hander is an absorbing, entertaining, and informative show...This behind-the-scenes look at the work and attitudes of two renowned geniuses will captivate you from the first moment to the last. The two characters in 'Small World' are so genuine, you will think that you are in the room with Walt Disney and Igor Stravinsky."
Read more

Lighting & Sound America
September 19th, 2017

"Brief, barbed, often very funny...A premise this slender could easily wear out its welcome, even with a running time of only 75 minutes, but Stroppel makes sure that both characters are never at a loss for a clever, pertinent comeback...Brancato's direction maintains the rat-a-tat pace and vigor of a film by Billy Wilder or Howard Hawks, with fine work from the two-man cast...Even if his characters are eternally locked in the same argument, they never wear out their welcome."
Read more

Talkin' Broadway
September 17th, 2017

"A lightweight yet often surprisingly perceptive comedy...It does remind us that both men had a dark side, something that deepens things beyond the earlier bantering tone...Even with its short running time, 'Small World' would benefit from some editing by dropping the after life section and a few of the too-easy jokes referencing other Disney films. Nevertheless, it generally makes for an entertaining evening, with excellent contrasting performances by its co-stars."
Read more

TheaterScene.net
September 23rd, 2017

"Under Joe Brancato's direction, 'Small World' has been staged with an unobtrusive directness and simplicity. Though they seem, at times, to be giving lectures, both D'Ambrose, with his thick Russian accent, and Shanahan, with the tougher role of going from arrogant to vulnerable, shine."
Read more

Theater Pizzazz
September 20th, 2017

"In the excellent 'Small World' written by Frederick Stroppel, superbly directed by Joe Brancato, we are given a delicious view of how such a marriage of ideas and personalities between two innovators of the twentieth century might have evolved...An enjoyable evening of fun...Actors Shanahan and D’Ambrose are fine accomplices who adroitly manifest Stoppel’s conflicts...Kudos goes to the creative and production teams who made this production a memorable entertainment."
Read more

CurtainUp
September 20th, 2017

"For most of the 90-minute play, especially the first of its three scenes, Stroppel's concept works pretty well....Under Brancato's fluid direction that opening makes for a nice move into the men's interaction...Both actors bring their characters to vivid and watchable life...Unfortunately, the promising start and mostly entertaining middle end with a too-easy otherworldly finale."
Read more

T
September 25th, 2017

"Despite the commendable efforts of Stephen D’Ambrose as Igor Stravinsky and Mark Shanahan Walt Disney, Mr. Stroppel’s play lacks the necessary character development and focus to convince the audience of any consistent thematic strand...The conversation in the second act about the retelling of 'Faust' is perhaps the highlight of the play...One wishes for more of this level of discourse...Mr. Brancato’s direction is serviceable but lacks subtlety."
Read more

Theatre's Leiter Side
September 17th, 2017

“It takes considerable liberty with the facts but still manages to create a viable image of the personalities involved…What makes the play and its performances absorbing is the clash of these titanic temperaments…Stroppel manages to keep the dialogue hopping as Disney and Stravinsky go through the throes of their artistic rites…Whether you're a Disney or Stravinsky fan…you should find 'Small World'…a fascinating backstage confrontation between two of the greatest artists of the last century.”
Read more

Gotham Playgoer
September 28th, 2017

"The dialogue is witty and does not condescend to the audience. The views of both men get their due. D’Ambrose is marvelous as Stravinsky and Shanahan makes a fine Disney...Joe Brancato’s direction is fluid. My only quibble is about the length. At 75 minutes without intermission, it seems either too short or too long...I think it would be even better as a one-hour play on a double bill."
Read more

Wolf Entertainment Guide
September 18th, 2017

"There is much humor in the dialogue between the two men...The dialogue between Disney and Stravinsky is cleverly written, and director Joe Brancato keeps the confrontations between the men lively...'Small World' makes a misstep by tacking on a superfluous coda...It would have been better to have figured out an ending without the clumsy ploy. But even so, the play is filled with enough wit to make seeing it a very enjoyable experience, with special appreciation for the fine acting."
Read more

W
September 18th, 2017

"The play is smart, amusing, and illuminating; both characters are well drawn...A somewhat thin ending might be rewritten for more significant revelations...To watch Shanahan describe an animated sequence is to see it come to life before you. The actor appears boyish but never insubstantial...Stephen D’Ambrose is suave, dignified, dark, and extremely sure of his own genius...Director Joe Brancato uses minimal set to excellent, low-key effect."
Read more

T
September 29th, 2017

"A shallow sketch attempting to address big themes but producing only occasional chuckles and mild nods of recognition...D’Ambrose and Shannan give competent impersonations of the great figures and Joe Brancato delivers a neat staging, but there’s nothing new here. Deep art doesn’t sell as well as pleasant cartoons. Geniuses can be temperamental bastards. Quel surprise!"
Read more

Epoch Times
September 28th, 2017

"One of the highlights of the play shows the creative process of each man...Brancato’s direction works well, keeping the story tightly focused on the issues raised, with numerous bits of trivia tossed in. But the final scene feels rather contrived as though the playwright tries to end on a forced high note. While interest in 'Small World' will largely depend on how one feels about the two depicted, the play has a lot to say about the lengths one will go to realize their particular artistic vision."
Read more

T
September 18th, 2017

“Much of the conversation centers on the major issues all artists face…A lot of this may seem old-hat. But in Stroppel’s hands, all these topics glisten like the morning dew…Best of all, the show is also funny. And it’s funny in a very smart way…Shanahan is excellent as the sometimes clueless animator…But D’Ambrose steals the show because he accomplishes something much more difficult. He makes Stravinsky’s grandiosity, self-love and scorn for the common man equally amiable.”
Read more

TheaterScene.com
September 27th, 2017

"Stroppel’s fantasia, 'Small World,' in which towering composer Stravinsky butts heads and egos with unbeatable Disney, is simply a delight...Director Brancato handles his star-quality cast with kid gloves in this uncanny environment...seamlessly making them real for us...But, of course, it’s playwright Stroppel’s words and thoughts, wit and sensibilities that matter most. I wish there were more, more. I could have danced all night."
Read more

The New York Times
May 24th, 2015
For a previous production

“A friendly and sometimes provocative comedy…'Small World’ has an interesting premise, and the first act of this eager-to-please material establishes their personalities well…But as Stravinsky becomes openly angry, the volume rises on debates with unsurprising refrains, circular and tiresome. Act II digs deeper…The actors pitch their performances to match the exaggerated, conjectured duel of ideas. D’Ambrose is a particularly convincing pleasure as Stravinsky.”
Read more

BroadwayWorld
May 26th, 2015
For a previous production

“An immensely entertaining new work…The spirited banter between the great men is chock-full of clever witticisms...Initially, their argument feels obvious and predictable...However, in the second act, the play begins to add more layers, as the world outside, the war, and the financial pressures weighing both men down add much more reality to the fantasy…Director Joe Brancato has wisely allowed the text to do the talking, providing a clean and uncluttered production.”
Read more

Watch This Next (3)

83
Great
150+ Reviews
Open run
Six
NYC: Midtown W

An exuberant, pop celebration of 21st century girl power featuring the wives of Henry VIII.

Buy
82
Great
500+ Reviews
Open run
NYC: Midtown W

An actor drinks heavily (think Comedy Central's 'Drunk History') and tries to corral others into enacting a…

Buy
77
Good
131 Reviews
Ends Oct 10
NYC: Midtown W

Following a sold-out run at LCT3, "Pass Over" will come to Broadway for a limited run this August.

Buy