Summer Shorts 2017: Series A
Closed 1h 30m
Summer Shorts 2017: Series A

Summer Shorts 2017: Series A NYC Reviews and Tickets

(11 Reviews)
Members say
Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Clever, Absorbing

About the Show

This annual festival of new American short plays returns to 59E59 for its 11th consecutive year.

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Member Reviews (11)

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Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy a varied program of short plays that are well-performed. I liked it better than Series B.

Don't see it if you prefer full-evening works. Read more

Clever, Intelligent, Great writing, Uneven

See it if you like to see new works, especially short plays that create an entire world in a very short time. 2 of the 3 plays were wonderful.

Don't see it if you aren't willing to suffer through a dud play (the last piece was a bore) in order to see 2 gems. Loved the first 2.

Intelligent, Overrated, Huge differences in quality

See it if you’ll sit through two tedious shorts in order to get to a third, really well crafted one in which Ayn Rand spars w/ intellectual inferiors

Don't see it if you won't google Rand before the show. First 2 shorts are negligible so if the subject of the 3rd doesn’t interest, don't go Read more

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You appreciate the craft of the short play that still provides full dramatic experiences.

Don't see it if You want full-length plot intricacies. Read more

Entertaining, Dated, Dizzying, Edgy, Great staging

See it if You like small "in-the-works" theatre. "Jack" was the most decent of the 3. "Playing God" was funny, but, could be tweaked... The 3rd felt

Don't see it if Dated and pretentious... Overall, decent work, but, the 90-min felt dragged... I'll be seeing "Series B" next week.. We'll see how that goes

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if you like plays that personify God; you want to see the top notch Yale Sch of Drama MFA '17 grad Bronte England-Nelson in a meaty role.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy short plays; you don't want to see 3 plays that aren't connected

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if You enjoy seeing new work, short play format and excellent acting. All three plays were interesting, original and wonderfully performed.

Don't see it if You don't like dramatic or off Broadway theatre.


See it if You like small theater environment with 3 short, but absorbing plays. An inexpensive evening of really good theather.

Don't see it if you want the pomp and circumstance of a big production.

Critic Reviews (14)

The New York Times
August 1st, 2017

“‘Acolyte’ is so tantalizing that you want to know more about what happened, yet it also works perfectly in 30 tight minutes…‘Jack’ is a seemingly lighthearted piece that lands quite the emotional punch...Ms. Ross sometimes flirts with cutesiness but always stops short, and she neatly captures the ebb and flow of a conversation...Zweibel supplies the sugary filling with ‘Playing God’…It may feel like an extended skit, but Mr. Zweibel has a way with old-school one-liners.”
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Time Out New York
July 30th, 2017

"Each of its three playlets takes a situation and diminishes it: We get an inert story about grief, a psychosexual talkfest that builds to an anticlimax, and a divine retribution plot with no thunder...Ross seems a draft away from done. Moore offers ‘Acolyte,’ a one-act burdened with an easy target...Sadly, nothing could rescue Zweibel’s ‘Playing God’...Despite a lazy Trump joke, the sketch seems to have been dusted off after years in the drawer. Back it goes."
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July 30th, 2017

"Ross’s play ‘Jack’ puts a sweet, hyperrealistic magnifying glass to a moment of closure between a divorced couple...Ross understands that dance well and maneuvers her characters through it with humor and sincerity...Zweibel's sketchlike comedy ‘Playing God’...Some of the silliness falls flat, but ultimately the play does raise some interesting questions...Moore's play ‘Acolyte’ is the wildest and most unexpected ride of them all…It's absurdity of the most revealing and fascinating sort."
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August 2nd, 2017

“A superb variety of wonderfully performed pieces with moments that will make you laugh and touch your heart. The shows are tailor-made for your summer viewing…‘Playing God’ is a very clever and thoroughly enjoyable play…Edgy, yet amusing, ‘Acolyte’ is a well-conceived, thought-provoking show…An excellent opportunity to enjoy some of the best new plays that Off-Broadway theater has to offer.”
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Lighting & Sound America
July 31st, 2017

"'Acolyte,' the highlight of the evening...Under Dinelaris' taut direction, each member of the cast delivers...'Jack:' Despite the sad subject matter, what follows is frequently hilarious...Ross has a fine ear for the absurdities of her characters' arguments...After these two offerings, the third, 'Playing God,' is a disappointment. Zweibel's playlet is a limp television comedy sketch...Nevertheless, this is the best evening at 'Summer Shorts' in several years."
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Talkin' Broadway
July 30th, 2017

"A trio of plays, two of which are quite engrossing, with a third that serves more as a featherweight palate cleanser between the others...Ross's ‘Jack,’ a piece that earns both our laughter and our tears…’Playing God’ does seem like a piece of sketch comedy...This play is more chuckle-engendering than memorable...The biggest surprise is reserved for the final work in the 90-minute evening. It's a play called ‘Acolyte’...Moore has managed to create a fascinating piece."
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August 2nd, 2017

"An evening of one-act plays is best when they are unified around a single theme or the plays have something in common. Series A of 'Summer Shorts 2017: Festival of New American Short Plays' is a delightful bill around couples arguing - but over very unusual issues. The three playwrights, each with their own sensibilities, represent Oscar and Emmy winners as well as a finalist for the American Theatre Association's Francesca Primus Prize."
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Theatre is Easy
August 8th, 2017

"'Jack:' Playwright Ross shows a knack for the minor dramas of everyday life, whereas the two-person cast, under the guidance of director O'Donnell, convincingly portrays messy, sometimes illogical emotions...'Playing God' is rather slight, but there are a few witty one-liners worthy of laughs...Compared to the other short works, 'Acolyte' is tauter, with a faster pacing and a more sophisticated premise, providing plenty of food for thought once the curtain has come down."
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Front Row Center
July 30th, 2017

"The powerhouse play is ‘Jack’...The script might be a master class in balance…Second on the bill is ‘Playing God,’ which has the feel of sketch comedy...Zweibel is an accomplished comedy writer...But it feels like he called this one in...Moore invites us into Ayn Rand’s sitting room...Pressing real life into stage characters has its pitfalls. ‘Acolyte’ seemed overlong to me, but I can see why Moore might worry about how much philosophy 101 the audience sat down with."
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Exeunt Magazine
August 15th, 2017

“There's plenty to enjoy for the thoughtful summer theatergoer…The poignancy of Ross’ ‘Jack’ sneaks up on you…Her characters and their concerns grow increasingly three-dimensional…‘Playing God:’ The play doesn’t offer much for non-believers…Some extra complications would make the tale more satisfying…‘Acolyte:’ Moore’s script is sharp and surprising and director Alexander Dinelaris lets his words shine…The results are mightily engaging.”
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Theatre's Leiter Side
July 30th, 2017

“My general reaction to previous…'Summer Shorts' has been tepid…This year's Series A, though, is a vast improvement…Melissa Rose's ‘Jack’ is a bittersweet, park-bench comedy about a…couple mourning a pet's death; Alan Zweibel's ‘Playing God’ is a familiar farce about God coming to earth to teach someone a lesson; and Graham Moore's ‘Acolyte’ is an intellectually engaging drawing room sex comedy satirizing the ideas of Ayn Rand…B+ for ‘Jack,’ B-/C+ for ‘Playing God,’ and A for ‘Acolyte.’”
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Gotham Playgoer
August 13th, 2017

"'Jack' is funny, touching and wise. Mimi O’Donnell's direction finds all the right notes...'Playing God' is funny but slight. Maria Mileaf’s direction finds all the laughs...'Acolyte' is clever and smart, but devotes too much time to a long but interesting monologue by Rand...All three plays are well-cast...All in all, it was a satisfying evening and a big improvement over last year’s edition."
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August 7th, 2017

"'Jack:' The short tale is credibly written and believably performed. Both actors admirably display character specific tension...'Playing God:' Alan Zweibel’s wit is dry and sharp. Bill Buell (God) creates a worthy manifestation. The veteran ‘s comic timing, both verbal and physical is pitch-perfect. Director Maria Mileaf does a yeoman-like job...'Acolyte:' An exquisite Ms. Cassidy...Director Alexander Dinelaris does a crackerjack job, but for a nebulous Nathanial."
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Plays to See
August 9th, 2017

"Light, funny, amusing one-act shows...These bite-size morsels range from funny to introspective to fiery to heartbreaking...Each series is well-balanced, and the plays complement each other, offering just the right amount of ups and downs, fun and whatever the opposite of fun is...Quick and amusing, with a perfect mix of humor and intensity, these one-acts make for a fun night of theater, particularly for those looking for fresh new works."
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