Closed 1h 30m
The Dressmaker's Secret
Midtown E

The Dressmaker's Secret NYC Reviews and Tickets

(6 Reviews)
Members say
Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense

About the Show

The Simon Studio presents a drama set in '60s Romania about a teenager desperate to escape to the west and his mother who's harboring a life-changing secret.

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Member Reviews (6)

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Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Intense

See it if you are interested in the history of Communism in Hungary, how the war affected the lives of real people; how secrets can impact lives.

Don't see it if you expect a tightly written show with extensive staging; this is in a tiny black box with minimalist sets; you dislike intimacy with actors Read more

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if Enjoy a story that takes time to unfold, intimate theatre spaces, and post-WWII topics; I was engrossed throughout

Don't see it if You want a fast paced play; large or traditional precenium stage, and modern topic; it's a little long at 2+ hours

Critic Reviews (14)

February 14th, 2017

"Despite such elements of artificiality, Grunfeld and Simon have written something poignant...The vividness of these characters is matched by the vividness of the production itself...Roger Hendricks Simon's direction shares both the efficiency of the set and the evocativeness of the costumes. What he and his cast and crew have fashioned with 'The Dressmaker's Secret' isn't just a work of art — it's a work of humanity."
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February 15th, 2017

"The bombshells come so thick and fast that the characters spend most of the play in a state of shock...If anything, Simon's direction emphasizes the clunky, portentous nature of the script; generally, the women fare better...'Secret' ends on a modestly touching note, but it could have been so much more; in any case, it is preceded by more than two hours of clanking dramatic machinery. It's a Cold War soap opera that trivializes some of the twentieth century's most traumatic events."
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February 14th, 2017

"On the face of it, 'The Dressmaker's Secret' sounds a bit like a soap opera, one that easily could turn into a mawkish weeper. But thanks to the solid performances and Roger Hendricks Simon's direction, the play shows surprising depths as its themes of love, loss, regret, shame, and reconciliation emerge over the course of the evening."
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February 19th, 2017

"'The Dressmaker's Secret' is an important play that shines a light on the Holocaust, Eastern Europe's submission to Communist regimes, and the toll all this history has taken on a small corner of Europe."
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February 14th, 2017

"A gripping new play...Maria is sensitively embodied by Tracy Swallows; Irma is enchantingly portrayed by Carolyn Koziowski; exuberant Robert, the most complex of the characters, is peeled until fully exposed in a splendid performance by Robert S. Gregory...Bryan Burton wrenchingly extracts every drop of pathos...The work is superbly directed by Roger Hendricks Simon, who turns the small space into an advantage."
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February 14th, 2017

"Skillful playwrights Sarah Levine Simon and Mihai Grunfeld allow these scenarios to unfold with such finesse that one is easily transported to another time and place. Director Roger Simon uses his experienced hand to gently maneuver his actors along in this well-executed story, and expertly peels off each intriguing layer with perfect timing and pace, keeping the audience intrigued from start to finish...'The Dressmaker’s Secret' is one secret you’ll want to share."
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February 14th, 2017

"The story is compelling in its simplicity but, in the telling of it, has become convoluted and overly complex...We become impatient for these fine actors, who are working so hard to flesh out these poor souls, to stop moving around and deliver us to the real emotional core of the secret and the scenario...It’s not that complicated, but the scope of the director and playwright casts too great a net...There is a compelling beautiful story lost somewhere in this theatre and it should be heard."
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February 16th, 2017

"'The Dressmaker’s Secret' suffers from the lack of a clear and convincing dramatic arc. There are too many things going on...Mr. Simon’s direction leaves the talented cast wandering around the stage instead of staying in place and having a realistic conversation...In short, an endearing story with potentially multilayered connections is lost in an overly long production encumbered by inconsistent staging."
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February 15th, 2017

"This promising material is presented over a way-too-long two hours and 20 minutes in 15 dawdling scenes that shift back and forth between apartments, cafés, and restaurants. The play—perhaps because of its origins as a novel—is structurally flabby, spreading its multiple foci and many secrets too thin, creating only the most tenuous tension or suspense. Potentially thrilling emotional moments are buried under the expository lethargy, distancing us from the characters' dilemmas."
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March 2nd, 2017

"Were Simon and Grunfeld’s play filled with experiential details, it would be an interesting story. It is not. Names, places, and events are too often colorless and without detail. A moment many of us felt was the fitting ending is bypassed for an unnecessary additional scene. Tracy Sallows is the only one onstage who consistently holds our attention and elicits sympathy...Director Simon consigns his company to caucus races much of the time, circling round and round the set without reason."
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February 17th, 2017

"No matter how the story shakes up, an incredible amount of cutting is greatly desired. There is a plethora of repeated information that bogs down the pacing...There was truth and sincerity in Roger Hendricks Simon’s direction. That being said, Simon’s passive direction forced the stakes to feel minimal...The quartet of actors tried their best to avoid becoming cookie-cutter characters despite the writing...'The Dressmaker’s Secret' is just bogged down by its length and its lack of stakes."
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February 17th, 2017

"The plot, conflicts, and themes of 'The Dressmaker’s Secret' are meaningful. However, the way they are delivered, primarily through exposition and explanation, is static. Also, some scenes appear extraneous because they further the play’s development only at a snail’s pace. Bits of dialogue may have been truncated to create more of the vibrance of reality. As a result acute action is sporadic, the audience engagement is hampered, the direction appears lethargic."
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February 15th, 2017

"'The Dressmaker’s Secret' has cottoned on to something and could find a receptive audience...Burton does a solid job as mop-topped Robi, Sallows dispenses some effective zingers from her Singer and the second-half arrival of Gregory injects much-needed energy after a somewhat sluggish first half. For sustained excellence, Kozlowski is the show’s standout performer...The actress brings poignancy and pathos to her role, aided by the saddest smile I’ve ever seen."
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February 18th, 2017

“Overall, ‘The Dressmaker’s Secret’ is a commendable play. The conflicts between the characters are skillfully developed, and the plot unfolds intriguingly...The acting is generally sound. Still, at times the actor’s movements seem awkward, and Bryan Burton tends to yell out lines for no apparent reason. And while the script is compelling, the dialogue seems to drag from time to time. Otherwise, the plot is weighty and the performance is satisfying."
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