Smart People
Closed 1h 50m
Smart People

Smart People NYC Reviews and Tickets

(70 Ratings)
Members say
Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent

About the Show

Second Stage Theatre presents this comedy-drama tackling issues of race, sex, and class, starring Joshua Jackson and directed by Tony-winner Kenny Leon.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (70)

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145 Reviews | 34 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Funny, Intelligent, Original

See it if You like to see really smart, funny, thought provoking dramas with very good acting.

Don't see it if There is no reason not to see this, so good!

173 Reviews | 46 Followers
Clever, Absorbing, Funny, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you want a play that discusses race in a complex but funny way & doesn't shy away from uncomfortable situations & conversations.

Don't see it if you're disinterested in the analysis of race & racism or don't enjoy complex & often overly intellectual dialogue.

153 Reviews | 44 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you want to see a relevant play addressing racism, sexism, and privilege in a microcosm of these 4 characters.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable talking about racism, sexism, or privilege. A few old white people walked out during the performance (super rude).

535 Reviews | 155 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Funny, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy plays that are up to the minute current and have significant messages that make you think. You are a fan of actor Josh Jackson !

Don't see it if You can't deal with some male nudity and being forced to think about your personal prejudices.

407 Reviews | 66 Followers
Absorbing, Edgy, Great writing, Great acting, Resonant

See it if you love great scripts with great actors following a great directors lead. Excellence abounds!

Don't see it if you dislike intense dialogue with strong usage of big words!

94 Reviews | 26 Followers
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you like having your views challenged, you enjoy smart theater and don't mind seeing nudity.

Don't see it if you don't want to see Joshua Jackson in just his underware.

82 Reviews | 37 Followers
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you enjoy mostly conversation-based theatre of ideas on intersectionality; open-ended plot; thoughtful writing & committed performances

Don't see it if you are offended by some explicit content (e.g. male nudity); you need closure and don't like shows that make you think Read more

106 Reviews | 14 Followers
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting

See it if great small group acting

Don't see it if closing sunday

Critic Reviews (30)

The New York Times
February 11th, 2016

"A brainy but overstuffed drama…The script is stuffed with academic and psychiatric jargon and the characters often seem to be mere receptacles for the ideas they espouse rather than fully fleshed-out people. Although Ms. Diamond is clearly herself a powerfully smart writer, you come away from 'Smart People' feeling like you’ve attended a marathon series of seminars, not a persuasively drawn drama."
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Time Out New York
February 11th, 2016

"As their lives intertwine, albeit in ways that are not always convincing, their assumptions, flirtations and arguments sit on promising fault lines of conflict. So why doesn’t the play shake us more than it does?...the production’s flaws bring out some weaknesses in the writing...Although Diamond raises resonant questions, much of her spitballing hits right on the nose. Audiences may be smarter than the play seems to believe."
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New York Theatre Guide
February 22nd, 2016

"We hear some very smart people saying some very smart things. We see their lips moving, but we don’t hear a word they are saying. Diamond has given these fine actors little to work with in terms of depth. Kenny Leon’s direction does nothing to elevate or simplify the evening. These characters remain a conglomeration of facts and figures...Who these people are, however, and why we should care is never discovered."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
February 11th, 2016

"On the evidence of this unsatisfying production, Diamond is more interested in addressing the complications of race as a kind of laboratory puzzle than in embodying characters that credibly exist beyond that issue…All of these permutations and involutions of the theme make 'Smart People' the kind of play that’s fascinating to read and think about. It is not, however, very fascinating to watch…The bigger problem is that there is very little plot.”
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The Wall Street Journal
February 18th, 2016

"'Smart People' is a sharp-edged satire, and Ms. Diamond’s ear for the foibles of her subjects is so precisely tuned as to make 'Clybourne Park' and 'Disgraced' look downright tone-deaf...But as funny as 'Smart People' is, it’s also quite deeply felt...The play’s the thing, and it’s a gem. Not only is 'Smart People' soundly constructed, but it’s intelligent and provocative enough to put you in mind of Tom Stoppard."
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New York Daily News
February 11th, 2016

"As the comedy-drama 'Smart People' covers the combustible subject of racism, it delivers a couple of other undisputable truths. First, a play that’s topical isn’t necessarily illumininating. Second, an actor who has given solid performances on screen isn’t a sure thing on stage…It’s terrain worth exploring. But for every scene that comes alive with humor, there are two that turn didactic."
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February 11th, 2016

"A sexy, serious and very, very funny modern-day comedy of manners...At the end of the play, when the characters meet at a dinner party and lay all their race cards on the table, sparks really fly…The playwright puts this incendiary topic in a realistic context, and addresses it in a refreshingly honest manner."
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The Hollywood Reporter
February 11th, 2016

"A provocative dialectic and a lively comedy, with prickly characters that push back against one another's preconceptions…The occasional scene doesn't entirely ring true…And the play at times feels less like a developing narrative then a succession of whip-smart scenes illustrating variations on a theme...But it's hard to quibble with a play that remains so consistently intelligent, scathingly funny and even affecting in its understated way."
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