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Teenage Dick

From 20 critic and 74 member reviews
Members say: Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Funny, Absorbing

About the show

Ma-Yi, in association with The Public Theater, presents a new comic take on 'Richard III,' which reimagines the most famous disabled character of all time as a 16-year-old outsider in the deepest winter of his discontent.  More…

Richard is in his junior year at Roseland High. Picked on because of his cerebral palsy (as well as his sometimes creepy Shakespearean way of speaking), he is determined to have his revenge and make his name by becoming president of the senior class. But as he manipulates and crushes the obstacles to his electoral success, Richard finds himself faced with a decision he never expected would be his to make: is it better to be loved or feared?  Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel ('Present Laughter,' 'Hand to God') directs.

Exeunt Magazine

"Uproariously funny and slyly subversive...Transports Shakespeare’s deviously warring royals to a contemporary American high school, with all the concomitant drama and fevered emotions such a setting provides...Lew resists the urge to turn his teenage antihero into a purely evil stereotype...One of the strongest ensembles I’ve seen at the Public in recent memory...Something unlike nearly anything I’ve seen on a New York stage, and I’m already hungry for more." Full Review


"Add to this list Mike Lew's new witty and clever 'Teenage Dick' (being given its world premiere by Ma-Yi Theater Company in association with the Public Theater), both an update and a parody of Richard III now set in Roseland High School. However, while most of these other adaptations just want to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of Shakespeare's stories, 'Teenage Dick' has an additional agenda: does society's bullying lead to defining the personalities of those with disabilities?" Full Review

Front Row Center

“Lew’s tragi-comedy is far more ambitious than its punny title suggests, which is not to say that it doesn’t have its share of penis jokes...It is a tribute to Mozgala’s sympathetic performance and Lew’s ability to capture and reshape Shakespeare’s 'deformed, unfinish’d’ monarch that we are constantly back and forth over Dick’s morality...Devido is an ace with the wisecracks." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"While there are many correspondences to 'Richard III'…Lew's play takes enough liberties to be appreciated on its own. It starts off in a satirical vein…but the humor grows ever darker, leading-somewhat disconcertingly, considering the play's earlier tone-to moments of vivid violence…It's hard to praise highly enough this…production under von Steulpnagel's…witty, energetic direction. Mozgala-who'd be perfect as Shakespeare's crookback-leads a diverse, superbly well-cast ensemble." Full Review

The New York Times

“Though the play lands somewhat uncomfortably in the gap between simulacrum and satire, it includes scenes that are moving, exciting and profoundly eye-opening for audiences just beginning to see disabled actors onstage...Whenever Lew’s update questions or complicates Shakespeare’s assumptions, it is riveting...When the play tries to shift gears into a high drama of violence and self-violence, it quickly overheats...Still, I found the play exhilarating.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"A wise and hilariously thoughtful send up of 'Richard III.' Fantastically written by Mike Lew with a full dose of sass and smarts...These amazing actors fly high and strong on their own personal level of skill, talent, and great comic timing. Directed with a smart and sharp witty style by Moritz Von Stuelpnagel...The lines and dialogue are pure genius, creating an anti-hero that we can fully get behind." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"A first-rate production under the masterful direction of Moritz von Stuelpnagel...Richard's scenes with Anne are often quite touching, and despite the dark hue of the humor, 'Teenage Dick' is often quite funny. Overall, the play takes us on a wild roller coaster ride with a mix of well-earned laughs and jolting surprises...Put your trust in the uniformly splendid cast members and director Moritz von Stuelpnagel, who understands well the funny-scary world of troubled teens." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“Lew’s engaging script is a brilliant retelling of Shakespeare’s 'Richard III' that captures the pathos and ethos...Lew has assembled characters whose conflicts are engaging and believable and the plot these 'problems' drive is complex, layered, and relevant to the conversations about the dynamics of bullying. Moritz von Stuelpnagel’s direction is dynamic and he successfully keeps things moving at an appropriate pace. He gives his cast the space to explore their characters in depth.” Full Review


“Brilliantly imaginative...Starring an impressive Mozgala...the play tinkers with lines from the source material along with other Shakespeare works, even 'Hamilton'...But it would be a mistake to let such frivolity take away from the intensity of this play...The bloodbath at the end is every bit as tragic and gruesome as in the original. Truthfully, it's far more frightening, as recent news events have made all too clear.” Full Review

Diandra Reviews it All

"Greg Mozzola’s Richard is everything Shakespeare would have wanted in actor for this role...Lew’s script is genius and can allude to so many themes that pertain to today; like our use of the needy to feel morally ascendant, while failing to actually see them as humans with emotional wants and needs...Perhaps 'Teenage Dick’s' greatest impact is that, even the audience, who Richard confided his evils to, is, ultimately, surprised when he, actually, commits them." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“A slick, loose update of ‘Richard III’...'Teenage Dick' succeeds in navigating the often difficult line between making a play that speaks to today while also nodding toward the past...Von Stuelpnagel steers us through a comedic play, forcing us to confront jokes about CP, wheelchairs, and teenage bullying. As much as we may laugh, we are also indicted in this, where a sharp turn from what has come before delivers harsh impact.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

“The serious and seriously terrific new ‘Richard III’ spoof...Well and tightly constructed — a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining play that zips through humor and pathos, building inexorably to its climax...Mozgala is more than a bit too old to be playing a high schooler, but his performance is a deeply affecting one...A well-paced, smoothly moving production that retains just enough scruffy edge...The ending is perhaps even darker than Shakespeare’s.” Full Review

Time Out New York

"Mozgala is a winner of a malcontent as the title character in 'Teenage Dick,' Lew’s sharp modern-day reinvention of Shakespeare’s 'Richard III'...Lew’s script is suffused with Shakespearean references, but you don’t need to brush up on 'Richard III' to get most of the jokes, which tend toward the raunchy. Director von Stuelpnagel is adept at toggling between humor and heartbreak, as is the impressively diverse six-member cast. Ultimately, however, Mozgala is the one who rules the stage." Full Review


"One of the better Off-Broadway productions to open in recent weeks...Brilliantly dramatized and robustly acted...Much of the theatrical inventiveness that Lew employs is refreshing and cleverly points up the Bard's original tale. But the play's second half becomes rather too heavy-handed...That said, the play is never boring, pretentious, preachy, or afflicted with any other of the deadly sins of bad playwriting. Instead 'Teenage Dick,' is genuinely entertaining and edifying." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"The action sometimes lurches inelegantly between wisecracking comedy and full-throated melodrama, and it is debatable whether the dramatic structure can handle the tragic weight...But the playwright is already a master of caustic, crackling dialogue...Moritz Von Stuelpnagel's direction goes a long way toward papering over the stylistic cracks, and he has put together a cast skilled at takedowns and unexpected moments of tenderness." Full Review


“Lew leans in to the Machiavellian subtext of Shakespeare's ‘Richard III’ for his high school-centric reinterpretation...Unsubtle character parallels...And yet, every implausibility is forgiven when the air of Shakespearean tragedy is exchanged for high camp...The play's strongest asset is its humor, and the company capitalizes on every possible second of it...Anne (and Villarin's self-possessed performance of her) becomes the most pleasant surprise of 'Teenage Dick'. ” Full Review


“Clever new satire by Mike Lew...What starts off as a sitcom-bright show becomes something darker at the end...Lew struggles to make the leap between tones, which leaves the play feeling emotionally muddled...This is a serious structural issue with the play, as is the long, dragged-out ending that doesn't quite feel earned. Yet the concept as a whole is fresh and lively and this kind of creativity is always worth seeing." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

“Von Stuelpnagel’s production is clunky at times, and it still feels like the actors are finding their comedic rhythms. But Lew’s sly commentary is sharp, balancing serious issues with nimble wit...The performances are strong. Mozgala makes the defensive Richard sweet and vulnerable...Villarin as Anne defiantly delivers a scorching monologue about the marginalisation of women...While DeVido is hilariously caustic as Richard’s confidante and frenemy.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

“A comical twist...Cleverly realized by its makers...For a goodly part of its 100 minutes, the play and snappy production are entertaining. Then abruptly and incongruously, everything slides down the drain into seriousness...No doubt the playwright intends to rock the audience with such a bitter ending, but coming out of nowhere as this conclusion does, the effect is more disconcerting than honestly dramatic...A cheerful little gloss on Shakespeare’s story that simply gets nasty." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

“Terrifically titled play...A bumpy ride that bites off more than it can chew, trying to be too much instead of maintaining its focus while making important points about the disabled...Von Stuelpnagel can’t quite get rid of all the choppiness in Lew’s script, which caroms too quickly between realism and abstraction while deciding how close it will or won’t stick to Shakespeare’s general plot. It works best when it stays on point...Doesn’t quite live up to its awesome title.” Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Riveting, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see actors with disabilities play characters with disabilities on stage.

Don't see it if You want to see something that is feel-good and/or incredibly comedic.

Absorbing, Clever, Refreshing

See it if You enjoy seeing a Shakespeare play adapted to current times. You like sharp humor and really good acting.

Don't see it if You are a Shakespeare purist.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful

See it if You are interested in a depiction of the experiences of a teenager with a disability who wants to be anything but ignored.

Don't see it if You don't like plays about people with disabilities. You like plays where the person with the disability is always the hero.

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Masterful, Must see

See it if You want to see a masterful adaptation of a classic.

Don't see it if I can't think one.

Also Mike Lew writes the rare adaptation that succeeds on every level in tr... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Funny, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if you like retellings of Shakespeare and dark comedies

Don't see it if you prefer your Shakespeare pure or want something feel-good

Also Teenage Dick is full of surprises. I know the plot of Richard III well... Read more Read less

Riveting, Relevant, Must see, Great acting, Unforgettable

See it if u want to experience a funny, tragic, moving reworking of Richard III that's never less than original with a superb cast & spot-on direction

Don't see it if u don't want to want to encounter one of the best final acts of the season. The audience when I attended couldn't contain themselves. Superb

Absorbing, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to support incredible actors with disabilities telling compelling stories about disability but also about human nature.

Don't see it if you are put off by a play that is self-referential, a play that admits it is a play.

Riveting, Profound, Provocative, Visceral, Intense

See it if you enjoy John Hughes movies, film Election, or Dear Evan Hansen, and Richard III. want to support diversity and inclusion in the theater.

Don't see it if you looking for a traditional Shakespeare. This is a modern update with contemporary language and more humor.

Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Refreshing

See it if you want to have your mind blown, laugh loudly/often, see super-talented differently abled actors steal the show; & if you like Richard III

Don't see it if you want a perfect package; the ending, in a bow to Richard III, goes further than believable (hold onto your seats)

Also Read the plot summary of Richard III before coming; while this is by n... Read more Read less

Exquisite, Funny, Clever, Riveting, Must have sequel

See it if you like playmakers of varied backgrounds engaging w/ the canon & the culture in savvy ways that illuminate the past & present.

Don't see it if your interest in classics is purely antiquarian; you’re turned off by the blurb—which attracts the right audience. Loose adaptation.

Also Going in, I worried it might be too gimmicky. Loved it. Strong cast of... Read more Read less

Great writing, Funny, Intense

See it if Updated jokes sharp as quills and cyber warfare/fake news to win elections. Supporting Asian American playwright & talented disabled actors.

Don't see it if Abortion / bullying is triggering. Shakespeare not verbatim annoys you.

Also Ticket from online rush on TodayTix for $27.50.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if you like sitting tense on the edge of your seat

Don't see it if you don't like a heavy straight play

Clever, Funny, Profound, Masterful, Creative

See it if Brilliant! I am not a Shakespeare lover but I loved this. The essence of Richard III. Accessible, funny, poetic, tragic & cruel.

Don't see it if You are not interested in Shakespearean characters in any form. You can’t stand the high school setting. You don’t like dark comedy.

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Intense

See it if You love writing and performances that make you cry one moment and laugh out loud the next.

Don't see it if You hate theater that moves you and makes you think.

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if Funny intelligent imagining of Richard III set in high school with terrific ensemble (2 w disability) expanding and rethinking the text

Don't see it if Can’t imagine why - it is fresh and new and imaginative giving new nuances to the text including bullying and exploring path to vengeance

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Clever

See it if you love new plays with outstanding writing, direction and acting.

Don't see it if you are looking to see Shakespeare's Richard III.

Also This is an outstanding play. It is so cleverly written and intelligent... Read more Read less

Creative, Genuinely funny, Witty

See it if you would like a satire with a modern setting that uses Shakespeare as its template

Don't see it if an out of the box satire is not your thing

Also It has been a long time since I saw as a fine a satire as this - I thi... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you want your world view expanded... I loved this show... I also saw the lab production a few years ago... it's one of those special plays

Don't see it if you don't like broad comedy... or if you're especially closed minded

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if a Trumpian soliloquy by Dick @ play’s start made me uncomfortable and off putting...but only temporarily and was prhsps the pt

Don't see it if You do not want to be confronted with current realities of life like diversity, disabilities, bullying, teenage(high school) angst, ethics

Also and civility all presented in an intelligent, well crafted and very we... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Ambitious, Intense

See it if You like your Shakespeare updated and contemporary. This was a riveting production and I held my breath through the second half of the show

Don't see it if You don't like anyone messing with the Bard's original work.

Also I saw this show a few days before it ended its run at the Public. I am... Read more Read less

Clever, Ambitious, Great acting, Hilarious, Must see

See it if You like Shakespeare or dark comedies. Care about representation in the arts & how we treat people/minorities/villains.

Don't see it if You want a straight adaptation or parody. This self-aware play blurs the lines and jumps around a lot from straight to 4th wall busting.

Also This play attempts to cover a lot of ground and, I think, largely succ... Read more Read less

Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Great acting

See it if you like comedic riffs on Shakespeare (Richard III set in high school), support diversity in theater (esp. disabled), like acerbic humor

Don't see it if you don't care for any Shakespearean satires, don't like plays about high school, uncomfortable with disabled characters

Also Greg Mozgala and Shannon DeVido are marvelous!

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if I didn't expect this to work but it does. It's great! And, like its title, it works on so many different levels. Great ensemble of actors!

Don't see it if Ya gotta love the source material so not for the "I hate Shakespeare" contingent

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You want to see a smart tragicomic play with themes of disability, politics and power.

Don't see it if You are put off when pieces take a sudden, dark turn. You want either something light or a straight Shakespeare adaptation.

Also This play is wonderfully written. Although inspired by Richard III, th... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Thought-provoking

See it if you like creative adaptations of Shakespeare with inclusive and clever casting choices. There were profound moments and also funny parts.

Don't see it if you don’t like theater that takes risks particularly with well-known source material or for some reason don’t appreciate diverse casting.

Cast & Creatives (14)