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The Crusade of Connor Stephens

From 12 critic and 135 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant, Intense, Thought-provoking

About the show

This new drama focuses on a Texas family trying to come to terms with a tragic act of violence. More…

In the midst of widespread media attention, their story becomes an allegory for the national debate over religion, tolerance, and the seedlings of hate. With humor and resilience, they confront the ghosts of the past and discover the brutal universal truths that define the American family in the 21st century.

Stage Buddy

"A devastating, heartbreaking and timely piece...This is a full two hours containing the kind of plot revelations and family secrets that make us decide how we want to be remembered as a country...Mr. Moss’s direction keeps the story moving with simple, effective staging. His writing allows us to examine both sides of every issue...It’s gorgeous, devastating stuff, folks. Run, save yourselves, do not miss 'The Crusade of Connor Stephens.'" Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“Dewey Moss directs his engaging play with the care of a playwright and – after creating some distance between himself and his work – he will surely quicken the pace of the action to more exactly match the emotional strength of this important play. The intermission seems unnecessary and serves to break the action and affect the energy of the performances in the second act. ‘The Crusade of Connor Stephens’ could not be more relevant in the current climate.” Full Review


“A very complex and illuminating family drama about acceptance, loss, religion, and hate…The play cunningly reveals each character’s values and builds to a climax that forces each to take action…However, the current production does not fully realize the potential of the play…Mr. Moss’ direction once again demonstrates that playwrights should let someone else direct their works...This production is still worth seeing for a New York audience." Full Review

Off Off Online

"James Kiberd as the patriarch is wonderful...He endows Big Jim with surprising nuance and even sympathy...The positioning of the players at certain points in the play is a master class in stage direction...The ending is a touch too facile; what had been an hour and 45 minutes of carefully layered exposition and a study in familial relationships takes a surprising turn toward sentimentality...This concern notwithstanding, the drama isn’t forced for much of the play." Full Review


"A play that comes roaring out the gate like a bull let loose from its corral...Even though Mr. Moss proffers some hope for humane redemption, such redemption is couched realistically in small amounts, with no phony reconciliation to wrap things up on a cheery note...'The Crusade of Connor Stephens' is a bit of a sledgehammer as a play, but it is equally a cri-de-coeur by the playwright, Dewey Moss, who also directs the fine company." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"While the intensity of Moss’s theme sometimes crosses the line into melodrama and histrionics, the impassioned beliefs contained in the story are not unfamiliar. A compelling cast of eight displays the characters’ deeply felt emotions...The final family showdown lacks credibility...It seems counter-intuitive that the inflamed characters would wait patiently to be heard...A powerful examination of important issues that plague our society, shining a spotlight on bigotry." Full Review


"Disappointingly, all we get is a tear-stained melodrama of the most obvious variety...Moss's script is perfectly calibrated to stoke our righteous gay fury, to the point that it often strains credulity...The cast impressively turns on the waterworks for this schlock. It's hard not to feel something in such close proximity to pain...Moss has not written about real people...We know who to cheer and who to jeer, making 'The Crusade of Connor Stephens' not much more than a secular morality play." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Because 'The Crusade of Connor Stephens' is designed to be so entirely moving, it fails as a piece of construction—in between the histrionics, the play never lifts off the ground...The text of 'The Crusade of Connor Stephens' doesn't inform the performance; every actor has so much charged emotion that there's no room for subtlety...As much as I didn’t enjoy this particular play, I realize that 'The Crusade of Connor Stephens' is not meant for me." Full Review

Broadway Blog

“It's asking too much for us to accept that an otherwise normal boy would be so swayed by such a comment that he'd shoot, not Junior but his child, and then kill himself, especially as absolutely nothing is done to explain Connor's mental state…Some left the theatre wiping their eyes, but the only emotion I felt was pity for the actors unable to form a cohesive ensemble in this well-intentioned but poorly staged, lugubriously paced, dully acted, emotionally forced, and awkwardly written drama.” Full Review

Time Out New York

"Excruciatingly sincere, Moss’s melodrama about intolerance is all bleeding heart. That leaves no room for anything else in 'The Crusade of Connor Stephens,' an overwrought tale of two gay Texas men whose lives are shattered by an act of gun violence sparked by hateful religious rhetoric...In midtown Manhattan, it feels like preaching to the choir, and the sermon is rarely inspiring...The actors strive valiantly to enliven the lugubrious material." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Dewey Moss, the author and director, keeps arranging and rearranging the characters in a series of artificial-looking stage pictures when not dispatching the minor characters offstage on a series of lame pretexts, so those remaining can take part in yet another turgid confrontation...The result is a kind of Southern-fried Ibsen, with everyone hurling accusations at everyone else...The acting is of the clenched-jaw variety, with bursts of rage and floods of tears flowing as needed." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

for a previous production “Moss treats all perspectives with equal compassion, and shows that both sides can sometimes be guilty of finger-pointing…A well-cast ensemble embodies these contradictions effectively, but they are somewhat inhibited by the limitations of the production. Moss exhibits good directorial instincts, but the venue itself seems to fighting him…These problems will likely diminish if ‘Crusade’ gets a longer run in a theater the right size and shape. It deserves to.” Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Exquisite, Great staging, Masterful

See it if you appreciate theater that leaves you still thinking and talking about what you saw days later.

Don't see it if you are a close-minded person who is filled with hate and has no desire to better yourself.

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You want to see a story about Christianity and homosexuality. If you care about social and familial issues.

Don't see it if You're expecting comedy, or are offended by homosexuality.

Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, Overpowering

See it if Williams, Inge and Foote country. Drew me in completely. Wonderful, intense acting. Will see it again and take friends.

Don't see it if If you are a homophobe, religious fanatic or don't wish to be involved with a moving, heartbreaking story.

Also At one point I became so involved that when a pompous, hateful ministe... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great writing, Great acting, Must see, Relevant

See it if You want to be challenged and blown away by the ultimate showdown between fundamentalist rigidity and the power of gay love. Explosive drama

Don't see it if You only want light fluffy entertainment and avoid serious theater examining the crucial issues of today.

Also This powerful emotional play deserves a much wider audience in a first... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if You are not to confront and acknowledge the dangers of fear, hatred, and anger. Very powerful.

Don't see it if You live in a bubble.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you want a well-acted, well written play about themes which are relevant today. Aside from being a bit long, this was a very satisfying show

Don't see it if you dislike themes of hatred and homosexuality; otherwise no reason to not see this show unless you only like musicals.

Also Acting was so good that I really hated the father by the end of the sh... Read more Read less

An absorbing new play in the style of tracy letts and tennessee williams, Tracy letts and tennessee williams: meet a new ally----dewey moss

See it if Brilliant acting and a story that needs to be told and heard and held close to our hearts (and minds).

Don't see it if You want to grow as a human being (liberal or conservative).

Also Wonderful ensemble playing (Kathleen Huber a special treat as the gran... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if You enjoy great acting and a solid drama.

Don't see it if You do not like thought provoking, serious dramas about relevant topics

Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you are interested in the times we live in, a desire to understand people, that many are in denial about & what moves them to action

Don't see it if you don't have the patience or gall to face the truth of intolerance within and without

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

See it if you want a serious, dramatic story about the struggle of a homosexual couple who lost their daughter

Don't see it if you want a happy ending.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if are interested in a meaningful family conflict about ultra-religious people and their conflict with homosexuals.

Don't see it if seeing thought-provoking shows are not your thing.

Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Clever, Entertaining

See it if See it for the great writing and acting that brought to the forefront, hatred, homosexuality, religious intolerance and other social issues.

Don't see it if You want a fluffy, non thought type play. It's in your face on family and relevant social issues of today.

Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Emotional

See it if You are curious to know how most of the rest of the country feels about subjects that we, here in NYC, are more tolerant & open minded about

Don't see it if You are homophobic, or deeply involved in organized religion.

Also This show did its job. I was angry, sad, emotional & feisty. I am not ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if You enjoy great acting in an intimate theater, drama, relevant to what happens in today's world

Don't see it if You don't want to see a drama or need a big production

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Intense, Profound

See it if Want to see a play that is very relevant for today's climate. And if you want to see superb acting, this was so well done.

Don't see it if It is intense, if you are looking for a lighter form of entertainment, don't see this.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant

See it if you enjoy a great drama. One action brings so much reaction and changes all the characters' lives. Excellent acting and very relevant.

Don't see it if you like comedy.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You want to understand religious hypocrisy and its effect on a family.

Don't see it if You need lots of action.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if you want to see a moving play dealing with LBGT issues versus organized religion.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a playwright's first play with emotional issues.

Delightful, Absorbing, Great acting, Must see

See it if you want to be surprised in a great way like I was.

Don't see it if you think its going to be a big broadway show, yes that play is located on broadway but not a broaday show. Not much bad to say

Also I don't know why but this show was not at the top of list. Maybe the t... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Relevant

See it if you would like to see matters of tolerance, religion and acceptance handled maturely

Don't see it if you expect something light; it's serious

Perfect ensemble casting, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy well written & acted contemporary drama exploring themes of loss, religion, gay adoption, hate, violence,& dysfunctional families.

Don't see it if you are offended by realistic portrayals of evangelicals using religion to espouse hatred. Sorry if my bias shows in this comment.

Texas preacher's hate upends his family

See it if Family melodrama of fundamentalist religiosity, same-sex marriage and gun violence. Intense plot,relevant issues and good acting. Well done

Don't see it if you are looking for light entertainment. Inconsolable sadness leavened by Granny's pathos and humor. Loved the boys, too.

Also The son Jim Jr. is played by Ben Curtis, the Dell Dude in a series of ... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Intense, Confusing, Relevant

See it if You would like a well-acted, riveting show regarding a hate crime. Despite the confusing about-turn in attitude by the mother - worthwhile.

Don't see it if You want a fluffy show or don't like intense dramas dealing with religious beliefs.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing

See it if really well done tale about intolerance; well written, excellent acting

Don't see it if you don't want to deal with religious issues of intolerance

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if you like a moving treatment of how social customs and religious belief run headlong into the reality of human love, like great acting

Don't see it if you're a conservative evangelical Christian who is uncomfortable with how faith can lead to tragedy

Cast & Creatives (15)