Closed 1h 30m
The Cake
Midtown W
79

The Cake NYC Reviews and Tickets

79%
(148 Reviews)
Positive
91%
Mixed
7%
Negative
2%
Members say
Relevant, Great acting, Funny, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

About the Show

In MTC's new play, when a celebrated baker is asked to make a cake for a lesbian wedding, she is forced to re-examine her deeply held beliefs, as questions of morals, judgment, and family swirl around.

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Member Reviews (148)

92
Resonant, Relevant, Intelligent, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You like plays that help you see topics from other people’s point of view. No one is portrayed as the villain or the victim here.

Don't see it if You’re afraid to look at your own culpability in a recent news topic that most of us took a side in without knowing very many facts. Read more

72
Quirky, Intelligent, Funny, Ambitious

See it if A funny show that is a little corky and has some good moments. Not very political.

Don't see it if If you want a very strong written play. If you want a big production.

Critic Reviews (30)

March 5th, 2019

"One of those 'issue' plays that goes down easy and leaves you undernourished...Whenever the play allows Della’s contradictions to flower, it feels dramatic, raising usefully unanswerable questions...These are stories that burnish the audience’s progressive credentials without really testing them against formidable opposition...Della — like 'The Cake' itself, if you can get past its cloying elements — is nevertheless trying to grapple with something quite complex for a comedy."
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March 5th, 2019

"Brunstetter's compassionate and nuanced depiction of Della, a woman some might dismiss as a bigot, is 'The Cake's' biggest treat, and Rupp is delectable in the role...If only the rest of the play were so multilayered...Brunstetter is a master at mixing punch lines and sight gags with insightful sentiment, but she stirs in some unnecessary plot twists. And despite the actors' best efforts, Macy and Della's husband, Tim, mostly come off as two-dimensional mouthpieces."
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March 5th, 2019

"The biggest surprise about 'The Cake' is how sweetly inoffensive it is...Brunstetter isn't particularly interested here in exploiting her topic's incendiary aspects...The play ultimately isn't very thought-provoking, but it's certainly entertaining...It's hard not to wish the playwright had explored the situation in greater depth or given her characters more nuance. But Brunstetter's crowd-pleasing instincts prove spot-on...Rupp's terrific performance is key to the evening's success."
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March 6th, 2019

"'The Cake' is a play about our changing world that tries to understand every opinion in it, leavening the underlying seriousness with laughs. The comedy only works intermittently. Most of the time, I just wanted to strangle everyone onstage...Eventually, the author’s backbreaking determination to make everyone lovable leads to some happy-ending compromises I found unconvincing...Ultimately doesn’t provide much nutrition to take home...Its values belong in a doggie bag."
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March 5th, 2019

"Brunstetter succeeds in creating compellingly real characters by exposing these contradictions...Rupp gives a fleshy, vulnerable, and deeply sympathetic performance as the Christian baker. On top of that, she's really funny, with near-perfect comic timing...Meadow supports these four excellent performances with a well-paced and handsomely designed production....If I can fault 'The Cake' for anything, it's an almost too-optimistic ending."
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March 6th, 2019

"The conflict between seeing multiple sides of an issue and the insistence that there is only one correct side is the power that fuels Bekah Brunstetter's sweet and provocative multi-layered comedy/drama...An endearing and frequently moving production...If there seems to be a missing ingredient in 'The Cake,' it's because the situation appears to only be about the civil rights issue of purchasing a cake with no mention of the First Amendment."
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March 13th, 2019

“The tastiest thing by far in ‘The Cake’ is Rupp...Brunstetter has crafted a madly scatterbrained steel magnolia, and Rupp brings her fully to life...A comic sketch, no matter how delightful, does not a play make, however, and ‘The Cake’ is on less solid ground when it turns to other, more serious matters...Still, under Meadow's smooth direction, Rupp opens up to us every step of Della's journey to an appreciation of a world that is far more complicated than she ever imagined.”
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March 5th, 2019

"A hoot, and also a full, satisfying meal that clings to the ribs well after its hour and a half...Beneath the straightforward narrative, and along with Brunstetter's many comic lines and characters changing the subject when the subject becomes too uncomfortable, is a smart exploration of why, even in a land where so many of us watch the same TV shows and post on the same blogs and social media, we're so radically disunited...'The Cake' is delicious."
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March 5th, 2019

"This one is played for laughs and a feel-good ending, which is a perfectly practical choice by the playwright but trivializes what hinted to be a provocative message...The play is produced with Manhattan Theatre Club’s typically high standards...Here, the comedy doesn’t exactly diminish the potential power of the drama; but it doesn’t enhance it either, which makes 'The Cake' interesting and entertaining enough. But the layers don’t quite rise as high as the recipe suggests."
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March 5th, 2019

"'The Cake', which initially seems a goofy confection, turns out to be a thoughtful examination of changing cultural mores...Rupp brings charm, daffiness, and heart to her character. And it’s refreshing to see a culture-war depiction that presents all its combatants as good-hearted and struggling...But even with its flaws, this play works, on the strength of its sympathetic takes and Brunstetter’s sharp script. T'he Cake', as it turns out, is sweet."
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March 19th, 2019

"Bekah Brunstetter's 'The Cake' is an entertaining attempt to deal with religious discrimination in the workplace. While the play neither goes as far as it could, nor sticks to the initial problem, it does open up the issue in an appealing manner. With its hard-working foursome and a perfectly cast Debra Jo Rupp, best known for her Kitty Forman on That 70's Show, 'The Cake' is more than a comedy but less than a total success."
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March 5th, 2019

"'The Cake' captures the tensions dividing our modern moment...Debra Jo Rupp plays a warm anti-hero. While her growth and confusion drive the piece, it’s often tough to agree with her, even though she's the protagonist...'The Cake' feels a bit like it's preaching to the choir, yet doing so in opposition to the main character. While simple in essence, Brunstetter’s writing presents an enigma of a woman who plainly exists in everyone’s daily lives, in our very country."
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March 5th, 2019

"Della is the show's fulcrum and Rupp makes a three-course meal of this rich character, beautifully employing her trademark earthiness and peerless comic timing. Even her imagined conversations with the baking show's sharp-tongued chief judge - earn guffaws. But Ruff isn't just playing for laughs. When Della says things that could make us hate her, Ruff does nothing to soft-pedal these statements; yet, we also see the pain these words cause her as well as those who hear it."
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March 5th, 2019

"Beautifully staged and more relevant as ever...The result is an entertaining and compassionate exploration of four people on opposing side of the what to believe in spectrum...A dramatically satisfying, intensely emotional 90-minute play...'The Cake' manages to touch our hearts even as it tickles our funny bones...If anyone can make a character most New York theatergoers would tag as a bigot delightful company, it's Brunstetter her creator and Rupp her dynamite interpreter."
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March 5th, 2019

"A tasty treat that’s not just empty calories...Food for the soul, full of filling ingredients that will make you think and feel, as well as satisfy your sweet tooth with plenty of laughter...The brilliance of Brunstetter’s 'The Cake' is that it takes on some very weighty social and personal issues head-on with sensitivity, honesty and humor. It neither vilifies or deifies anyone’s point of view, rather it humanizes everyone...'The Cake' wouldn’t work without the superb Debra Jo Rupp."
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March 29th, 2019

“The important issues of equality and human rights become cute and dishearteningly charming, easy to brush off and forgotten...The topic has complexity and weight, and the playwright valiantly tries to present the conflict with humanity and heart...It succeeds, mostly, as a comedy of character...Brunstetter tries hard to find a balance that serves up understanding without selling out to the sugar high. She almost succeeds, but with the last mouthful, I didn’t feel satisfied."
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March 6th, 2019

“The play often feels like it’s patting comfortably liberal NYC theatergoers on the back for trying to understand the white working class/the Bible Belt/the Trump voter, while wrapping that examination in a sunny comedy that comes awfully close to asserting a moral equivalence, or at least an equal level of absurdity, between believing homosexuality is a sin and not eating cake...Meadow’s direction is fairly static and uninspired."
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March 9th, 2019

"The playwright makes Della a sympathetic character...The actress makes her a delight, with great comic timing...Della feels like the only fully believable character in the play, with the other three characters primarily serving the mechanics of the plot...The cast does what it can to charm us into accepting the characters as credible...There are some lovely moments in the play. If it has too many artificial ingredients, still 'The Cake' is undeniably sweet."
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March 5th, 2019

"Too sweet for my palate in spite of its efforts to get to the underbelly of newsworthy headlines...Brunstetter is adept at punchy one-liners, but her deeper dive into the characters’ struggles with religion, race, and sexual orientation often feel overwrought rather than extensions of their life experiences. Even so, Rupp finds the humor and humility in the baker with existential questions about her faith...Given this choice between a squall or a sweet, I’d head into the superstorm."
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March 28th, 2019

"More a good-natured, sit-com treatment of a serious situation than a dramatic take on the historic case that went to the Supreme Court…Some mild jokes about the different values of liberal Northerners and conservative Southerners provide icing, but the play's pursuit of laughter sometimes seems more urgent than anything much deeper…Rupp's pleasing presence as the conflicted baker-housewife provides what flavor this confection has."
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March 9th, 2019

"Those expecting a serious look at the legal ramifications of denying a wedding cake to a same sex couple won’t find it here...What we get instead is a sympathetic look at a Southern woman whose religious beliefs are out of sync with her loving personality...The ending seemed a bit facile. The production is greatly enhanced by an amazing set by John Lee Beatty...Lynne Meadow’s direction is seamless. The play is entertaining but doesn’t really have much depth."
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March 8th, 2019

"The issue is dealt with in terms of relations between the characters involved, not as a political drama, and that gives it a fresh take...The baker is Della, played by Debra Jo Rupp in a luminous performance that is entertaining and ultimately emotionally critical to the plot and relationships...The play’s resolution makes for more potent drama and perspective than a rehash of the real-life legal battles might have been."
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March 21st, 2019

"Della is a sympathetic character, in many ways realistic...We might cite playwright Bekah Brunstetter for lack of confrontation, but coming from Winston, Salem, she likely knows her people. Characters are believable in context. Though the piece goes down tasty and attractive, one less Bake-Off vision would serve...Debra Jo Rupp is in full control of Della, who’s warm, spunky, sad, and palpably challenged by the situation."
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March 11th, 2019

"A first class production directed with great wit and humanity...Rupp gives a fantastic, full dimensional performance...The frustrating problem with 'The Cake,' though, is that Della doesn’t change much at all, or at least not nearly enough...As a gay audience member, I felt oddly othered by this play—a comedy—which, I suppose, isn’t aimed at me...Brunstetter’s flat and argumentative writing of these lesbians, though no doubt well-intentioned, is unconvincing and inauthentic."
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March 11th, 2019

"It wraps a highly charged topic into a pleasant but sometimes gooey confection...The play’s most gripping moments come when Macy relates the experiences of her youth as a gay black woman...For the most part, though, Brunstetter’s writing has a soft-focus grace, with easy-to-take jokes and likable characters...In trying to give us both a thorny problem play and a feel-good entertainment, Brunstetter may be proving the old adage that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too."
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March 5th, 2019

"In this very human look at a very politicized issue, Brunstetter makes little attempt to sway opinion. Instead she goes to great lengths to suggest it might be wise to consider this issue — and many like it — from multiple points of view...Though the play is a brisk 90 minutes, it bogs down at times with tedious, been there, done that arguments...It's Rupp who gives the production a reason for being...It's a beautifully nuanced, layered portrait of a woman in conflict with her own beliefs."
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March 5th, 2019

"One of the freshest approaches to the daily injustices the LGBTQ must face...It is brisk in writing and direction...Jo Rupp’s performance reveals new layers to the ignorance and hate tethered to those that refuse to treat the LGBTQ community as equals...Though 'The Cake' is witty as hell, throwing in punch-lines and one-liners that sprinkle with random, colorful humor, it really is a tragedy...Both Angelson and Jo Rupp give endearing performances."
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March 6th, 2019

"Tidily composed by Bekah Brunstetter and straightforwardly directed by Lynne Meadow...As Della, Debra Jo Rupp is unilaterally in control. All the elements of her performance - movement, timing and accent - are set like concrete. Brunstetter fleshes out the other characters well enough, so the actors are working with something besides their cultural type...'The Cake' isn’t bold or provocative: It’s considered and gentle in confronting political and cultural divisions."
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March 6th, 2019

"What makes her play truly stand out is the way it deftly and stealthily takes on important, topical social issues in the guise of warm, wholesome comedy...As Della, Debra Jo Rupp delivers a winning, deceptively layered performance that mirrors the qualities of the play itself...Even if the rest of the cast doesn’t balance the sweet-and-savory qualities of their respective characters quite as masterfully, they provide Rupp’s performance and Brunstetter’s play more than adequate support."
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March 9th, 2019

"It examines the intersecting obligations of faith, friendship, conscience, and tolerance...It’s the kind of story in which every character’s dominant flaw — harsh, rigid, weak, rude, silly, indecisive, etc. — is overdrawn when we first meet them..It doesn’t quite manage to transcend the limitations of its familiar plot...Everyone comes out of the blow-up a little wiser and a little happier and a little more humble than they were before — just like real life, sort of."
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