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Straight

Members say: Great acting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Relevant, Funny
79
Critics
67
31 reviews
Members
81
240 reviews
 

'Straight' is a drama about the complexity of relationships and sexual attraction in our modern age.

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Meet Ben. Ben is a 26-year investment banker. Ben likes beer, sports, and Emily. And Chris. This three-character drama meditates on fidelity, identity, and the moral complex of a generation that prides itself on the pretense of acceptance.

 

Cast & Creatives (9)



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Reviews (271)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
67
Avg Score

85
The New York Times

"A smart, bracing production brimming with clever wisecracks, some thought-provoking observations on sexual identity and one very promising newcomer…'Straight' is by no means a balanced dialectic comparing homosexual and heterosexual love...The standout is Mr. Sullivan...He delivers the play’s ribald asides with laserlike timing." Full Review

35
Theatermania

"Director Andy Sandberg directs this competent cast to believable performances, despite his frustrating choice to stage nearly everything on the couch downstage center...It's hard to think of this as anything more than needless, low-stakes melodrama. In 2016, the off-Broadway audience deserves something far more challenging." Full Review

45
Time Out New York

"If the setup sounds fustier than a '70s issue of 'Blueboy' magazine, playwrights Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola are actually attempting to explore loaded contemporary issues, such as the reductive nature of identity labels and the way some straights fetishize queerness. But these intriguing ideas come through in clunky debate-club dialogue, two-dimensional stereotypes and a surprise-free storyline that makes you yearn for some much-needed drama to come out of the closet." Full Review

60
Lighting & Sound America

"Just as Ben talks a good game when whichever of his two lovers happens to be on hand, the authors work to create a potentially juicy situation, then punts just as it is about to get good...The playwrights are pretty good at bright dialogue...Just as it looks as if the situation must break wide open, however, the authors throw in a twist that earns a gasp from the audience, but which, frustratingly, leaves far too many plot points dangling." Full Review

60
The Huffington Post

"Director Andy Sandberg directs with fluid, compact efficiency, keeping the show at a brisk 90 minutes that actually feels longer in a good substantial way without ever wearing out its modest welcome...Ultimately, 'Straight' feels too superficial to really deliver. It has some amusing repartee but the story they've hinted at needs a darker, more nuanced script to mine all of its possibilities…Still, it's blessed with a trio of strong actors who make the most of the material they're given." Full Review

60
Theatre's Leiter Side

"In a sense, ‘Straight’ is simply another cheating hearts play, with the twist being the same-sex angle. Ben must make a decision, for which we’re forced to wait patiently. Audiences will surely take sides about which partner he chooses...Much of ‘Straight’ is clichéd but Andy Sandberg’s direction keeps it moving, there's some entertaining dialogue, the actors are engaging, there’s a lot of smooching and underwear displaying, and, best of all, it’s over in an intermissionless 85 minutes." Full Review

80
Talkin' Broadway

"A few moments stretch credulity too much...Even in its current form, however, this is a creative and thought-provoking play, an unexpectedly potent spin on what many might (perhaps rightly) consider a superannuated genre. If many stigmas have been removed from our theatre and our society, 'Straight' smacks us in the head and the heart to remind us of the many that still remain—and that, just maybe, exist more in the eyes of the beholders than in the eyes of the beheld." Full Review

75
Front Mezz Junkies

"It’s directed with a lot of heart and soul by Andy Sandberg taking us on a twisted journey of emotional and sexual discovery that felt very real and true...Here I guess is where I was impressed. The standard but well-orchestrated setups were all there, none of them that surprising, but all handled in a fresh and emotionally-centered manner that brought me in and engaged me. This isn’t Shakespeare, but it’s not without merit." Full Review

75
Theatre Reviews Limited

"The premise of 'Straight' is an engaging one...However, one longs for deeper understandings of the characters…Under Sandberg’s steady and discerning direction, Epstein and Gavigan do their best to bring believability to their characters...But it is newcomer Thomas E. Sullivan who really excels in this new play…It is worth seeing 'Straight' just to witness this young actor’s prodigious craft…The cast and creative team are to be congratulated on their work evidenced in this important new play." Full Review

75
TheaterScene.net

"'Straight' is elegantly written and equally smartly directed by Andy Sandberg...The play works partly because of its appealing and attractive cast...We learn very little about all three other than their interest in football, beer, college, sex and career...'Straight' will either strike you as old-fashioned and dated or right up to the minute depending on your point of view. However, the engaging cast makes this worth the price of admission." Full Review

65
Bob's Theater Blog

“'Bisexual' or 'Closeted' might have been a more accurate title for this dramedy. Perhaps the authors were aiming for irony by their choice...There are occasional comments that relate to the status of 20-somethings in today’s America, but the core issue of the play seems a bit dated. Andy Sandberg’s fluid direction moves the action along briskly." Full Review

75
Broadway & Me

"'Straight' starts off in typical sitcom/romcom mode...But the co-authors of 'Straight' have something else in mind...The answer is a little didactic...Still, under the unfussy direction of Andy Sandberg, the three-member cast does a fine job of making you feel for each member in this romantic triangle...The choice Ben finally makes caused several people at the performance I attended to cry out in dismay. A play that provokes such a visceral response deserves to be seen." Full Review

30
Stage Buddy

"Because of the great cast, it might be tempting to pat the show on the back and move on, but the script is already patting its own back so hard, and so constantly, that one wonders whether there is a sadomasochistic subtext somewhere in there. The play would seem fresh if we were in the year 1983, or any time before 'The Normal Heart' really, for its takes on sexuality and gender are positively medieval...The play spends most of its 90 minutes trying to fit these characters into boxes." Full Review

65
Out Magazine

"Depending on your point of view, Ben is either a free spirit who won’t be bridled by traditional, black-and-white ideas of sexuality or someone who lies to others, and possibly to himself, about his true longings...Jake Epstein, Jenna Gavigan, and Thomas E. Sullivan are game as the lusty trio and there are some well argued ideas, but the tone was too cute and then too pseudo-profound for me to 'bi' into it." Full Review

65
Broadway Blog

"Epstein, Gavigan, and Sullivan handle the controversial material with ease, and although there is no offense meant here, it is sure to polarize. The provocative work would prove more effective without the dippy musical interludes that minimize it to the level of an after-school special. Still, it accomplishes important objectives of theater, which are to create dialogue and perceive other’s lives through a lens other than our own." Full Review

65
The Observer

"A tender exploration of the pros and cons of being bisexual in a contemporary society that often insists you can only be one or the other...What’s wrong with 'Straight' is there’s a lot of talk about things like genetic engineering and Socrates’ bisexuality, but the talk is stiff as a Yankee spinster’s corset and not always believable...It’s sensitively written and well played by an excellent threesome (no pun intended), but 'Straight does' not entirely convince." Full Review

45
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"The problem I had with 'Straight' is not that the scenario reminded me precisely of what my husband and I went through when we met, but that was in 1979 and the play takes place now, almost 40 years later...The writing gets a bit choppy here and there. A pivotal point of the narrative strains credulity. The script could have gone off the rails into an unintentional, millennial 'Design for Living,' but the playwrights have their hands firmly gripped on the wheel of traditional melodrama." Full Review

90
What's On Off Broadway

"A surprisingly honest play that refuses to offer simple answers to complex questions…‘Straight’ is a remarkably well acted piece of theater…’Straight’ covers this seemingly familiar ground wonderfully. It is a combination of smart writing, great sound, and fantastic acting by the ensemble. It races by in 90 minutes without feeling rushed or hurried. 'Straight' simply feels honest, and that is tough to pull off." Full Review

30
Theatre Reviews by John Clum

"Did the writers intend 'Straight' to be a comedy or a serious drama? There was a lot of forced laughter for the first few minutes but it soon subsided. Eventually, my audience wanted to take the play seriously but Ben isn't deeply enough written for a successful serious play. However, comedy needs funny lines and these are rare in 'Straight'." Full Review

70
Show Showdown

"A compelling, affecting new play by Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola...'Straight' is a little clunky in passages...The acting is a little tentative in parts...'Straight' is an important play: it reminds us that while contemporary sexuality is far less culturally rigid--or dangerous--than it was even a decade ago, coming to terms with oneself is not automatically easier or less terrifying as a result." Full Review

80
Motherhood Later

"The play is smart, with some super-clever lines, and the cast is appealing. Jake Epstein gives a charged, multi-layered performance, gradually building upon emotion...Sullivan is an actor to watch...Jenna Gavigan as Emily, turns in an effective if not inspiring performance, but then, she is offered way less meaty material. The 90-minute piece is deftly directed by Andy Sandberg, who keeps the actors moving about seamlessly, and treats the intimate moments with respect." Full Review

85
Edge New York

"With little to draw upon, Gavigan produces a warm and heartfelt performance, especially with a jaw-dropping last-ditch plot twist that could polarize skeptics...But neither Gavigan nor Epstein holds a candle to Thomas E. Sullivan now making his off-Broadway debut...Canny, cringe-worthy, and yet discerning, with a hint of shrewd mischief, this 90-minute production achieves what some of the best theater aims for, pondering the profound and without providing any straight resolutions." Full Review

85
Gay City News

"'Straight' is a first-rate comic drama about wrestling with sexuality and being torn between two worlds. Here labels, however inadequate, are a very big deal. Could it have been written 20 years ago? Sure. But in the capable hands of director Andy Sandberg and a terrific cast, the well-worn subject feels as potent and relevant as ever...This tight-as-a-drum production is well cast, with actors teasing out emotional depths from what could be cookie-cutter characters." Full Review

90
White Rhino Report

"'Straight' is beautifully written, brilliantly directed by Andy Sandberg, and superbly acted by the trio of Jake Epstein, Jenna Gavigan and Thomas E. Sullivan...My one criticism of this drama is that I would have preferred to see more time with the three characters on stage together...But I quibble, for the overall effect of 'Straight' is stunning in its power and nuance...New Yorkers, there is no excuse of not ordering your tickets to 'Straight'." Full Review

80
Forbes

"'Straight' features one of the finest acting debuts of the season. Recent Tisch grad Thomas Sullivan plays Chris, the youngest member of a disoriented love triangle. The show itself is solid – a fun, smart take on modern love – and Sullivan elevates it whenever he’s onstage." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
81
Avg Score

98
Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You like drama based on current racial topics.

Don't see it if If you are not open-minded about racially charged topics.

82
Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you can deal with a story dealing with different sexuality.

Don't see it if if you are closed minded

63
Ambitious, Relevant, Cliched, Slow, Dated

See it if you're interested in gen-x contemporary theater about sexual identity, handled with simplicity; small productions.

Don't see it if you're looking for in-depth, original, well-thought-out drama about the fluidity of sexual identity; this one is sadly full of stereotypes.

70
Relevant, Resonant, Disappointing, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a piece about young people trying to figure out the world and their place in it.

Don't see it if you don't like to see characters do unbelievable things or experience an outcome that the plot does not support.

54
Absorbing, Resonant, Banal, Cliched

See it if Meh. Ok, but missable

Don't see it if Kinda slow.

87
Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if Are questioning Love a good "straight" play Open-minded

Don't see it if You're close-minded and .... Phobic

74
Absorbing, Delightful, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy watching up and coming actors performing well.

Don't see it if you need the script itself to be deeper than a scraping of the surface.

80
Original, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you like contemporary themes, good acting

Don't see it if you don't care about personal life challenges

85
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Cliched

See it if you are free tomorrow (May 8th) because it is closing and if you like plays that explore sexuality.

Don't see it if you have a closed mind.

85
Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant, Great writing

See it if you'd enjoy a thoughtful, funny, and affecting examination of whether our society is really as accepting as we want to think it has become.

Don't see it if you're only in town one day and absolutely must see a musical.

77
Funny, Romantic, Disappointing, Cliched, Fluffy

See it if you like "romcom" type of shows and writing.

Don't see it if you want a deep reflective show that will leave you questioning the idea of love

100
Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Profound, Great writing

See it if you enjoy powerfully thought-provoking theater that is unafraid to examine contemporary social issues without flinching. This one is raw!

Don't see it if you are homophobic, think being gay is a choice, or if you're a closed-minded bigoted right-wing conservative.

82
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you enjoy plays that examine complicated relationships. Straight is particularly relevant in today's society of sexual & gender fluidity.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with the subject of straight, bi, and gay sex.

94
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to relate to challenges that humans face in their relationships.

Don't see it if you do not have tolerance for the variety of human conditions.

85
Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if You want depth of character and relationship in an everyday setting. Makes you think and pause.

Don't see it if You need a big story or anything out of the ordinary.

84
Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if You like to debate sexuality and gender roles and if you like plays with young, realistic characters talking about love, sex & relationships

Don't see it if Plays about sexuality make you uncomfortable.

80
Clever, Refreshing, Entertaining, Unexpected

See it if you want to see an unconventional and unexpected take on what is becoming a hackneyed premise (questioning one's sexuality) in NY theatre.

Don't see it if you are expecting (and looking for) the usual, stereotypical, sitcom-style handling of the gay-straight-bisexual question.

82
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great staging, Great set

See it if you want to see a story that explores sexuality without getting raunchy.

Don't see it if frank discussions about sexuality offend you.

75
Romantic, Cliched, Overrated, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if the subject matter interests you.

Don't see it if you're familiar with bisexual love triangles.

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if You want to see some great acting, especially about what it's like for the two gay characters. It felt very real to me.

Don't see it if You don't like gays...? Other than that they joke about sexual activities a couple times, but nothing too crude.

89
Funny, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you like issue plays, want to explore how people lie to themselves, see a cute little romance grow, have a starj reaction to a sudden ending

Don't see it if you are married and in the closet, you think you know the subject already, gay plots upset you especially gay PDA's

79
Funny sad poignant intelligent relevant

See it if The excellent Jake Epstein as a gay man who feels he must conform and date a nice girl even if it means a life of unhappiness.

Don't see it if A bit anachronistic as I'd hoped we'd gotten beyond this point by now. Tom Sullivan is fine as the college boy he sees on the side.

66
Dizzying, Raunchy, Confusing, Slow

See it if you want a drama

Don't see it if you want a thought provoking show

26
Great acting, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you like plays about sexuality.

Don't see it if you're really sick of bisexual erasure.

95
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you enjoy a well-written, interesting play about contemporary relationships and if you appreciate excellent acting

Don't see it if plays with gay themes/situations make you uncomfortable