"Based on the results of an online survey asking people to rank what they like best at the theater...So what do people want from a play? Turns out, many pollsters now equate theater with a certain blockbuster musical...The team struggled even more with requests like 'to be transported,' as skits floundered in the twilight zone between comedy and earnestness. If 'The Great American Drama' established one thing, it’s that theater is more than the sum of its parts." Full Review
"The cast is ever game and always personable...But this is a largely shapeless, hit-or-miss evening of comic and/or dramatic bits, and around the two-thirds point my patience ran out. It doesn't help that the piece seems to end several times...If you visit 'The Great American Drama' not expecting anything great or dramatic, you may have a passable time...To my eyes, it's a collection of talent in search of a viable format." Full Review
"Each of the performers is friendly, approachable, and personable. They may even have acting chops that would prove satisfactory in a more conventional theatrical framework. But they're not especially strong as improvisers or satirists, nor, as an extensive solo called 'Soulbird'...demonstrates, would you ever see them on 'The Voice.' Nothing here comes close to the kind of wit and panache we associate with even the weakest routines on 'SNL' and other comedy showcases." Full Review
"There are instances of audience interaction both direct and indirect, and it's at these moments that 'The Great American Drama' feels most alive and the performers closest to connecting. Too much of the rest of the time, there's a crisply pressed artificial quality to the proceedings...The actors are dynamic, resourceful, and apparently tireless, equally adept with the comedy and tragedy that emerge...But they can't quite make it add up to anything." Full Review
"The cast is talented, inventive and energetic, however the best moment is when Connor is left alone and gets real with the audience. In that moment he exposes his truth, his fears and his hopes...I would like to see this piece developed, but with a broader scope of all ages and opinions. This needs to come from people other than artists, like the people who really buy tickets." Full Review
“A jagged series of meta-theatrical vignettes with the broad theme of The American Dream…It’s an uneven experience. Essentially it’s a glorified and arch 90-minute, scripted, sketch-comedy show…The staging of the scenes is swift and achieves the suitable tones of humor and occasional seriousness…Some of the sequences ramble and are not so accomplished, but then it’s on to the next one as they are uniformly short…The result is sporadically entertaining and modestly provocative.” Full Review
"On the surface, 'The Great American Drama' looks messy but the inherently thrown-together feel is overcome with passion and heart...Co-directors Sampson and Greg Taubman needed to figure out a way to tighten each moment so any flaw or flub that arose felt deliberate...'The Great American Drama' is unlike anything you’ve seen before. And yet it’s exactly like everything you’ve seen before. It’s an ambitious undertaking that I’m certain will find its footing." Full Review
"The scenes alternate between serious and humorous, well-rehearsed and frantic. Some of the most well-received and most powerful moments are the solemn ones...But humor also has an important part to play in the show...This show would be impossible without a great deal of honesty, compassion and joy on the part of its actors...There are definitely still improvements to be made...Clarity is sometimes a concern...But overall, the play is certainly a success." Full Review
"The moments where the next part of the show was decided by fate or by a decision from the audience felt the most truthful and raw. It was times like these that had me thinking that they really were giving us what we wanted, and the actors’ vulnerability in those moments was thrilling. In contrast to these lovely scenes there were some sections that felt overly choreographed or a way for actors to show their unique talents." Full Review
"Sampson and co-director Greg Taubman wisely take on the challenge by using broad comedy as a starting point and daring to be uncomfortable and even pleasantly boring at times, allowing an actively participating audience to take an occasional breather. When the show goes for maximum discomfort, it’s astonishing...In being daring, however, it is never crass, and in being honest, it is thankfully never saccharine." Full Review
"A ticket is a guaranteed new, fun experience. Some parts admittedly founder while others shock the theatre with a poignancy that any Broadway play could only aspire to achieve. What makes these moments even more special is that the performers are so tangible and personable...The four minds behind 'The Great American Drama' are sure to entertain, and sure to set a classy example of what it means to be a truly humble, selfless actor." Full Review
See it if you're up for experimental theater. This is a clever, original premise that kept us guessing what was coming next; we weren't disappointed!
Don't see it if you want a plot, a 'through line,' or everything spelled out for you. You'll be thinking and talking about this for a while figure it out.
See it if You like interactive theatre that is creative and innovative. You like current topics and creativity!
Don't see it if If you like traditional linear shows and dislike being asked to be part of the theatre experience
See it if You want to take a unique journey w/the actors & audience for a moving & funny experience that's part theatre & social experiment.
Don't see it if You don't like experimental theatre. You don't like shows that were created through improv. You want a show w/a story.
See it if you like to participate in your theater, and you want to help a very earnest young playwright with an ambitious theatrical experiment.
Don't see it if you like traditional theater, you're unwilling to accept that when theater is created by the audience, sometimes it's pretty disjointed.
See it if You want to laugh uproariously in one scene and be on the verge of tears in the next. You care about what's happening in the world.
Don't see it if You're not familiar with theatre, you don't appreciate "meta" commentary. You want to see something that's just silly without a message.
See it if You're up for a fresh & different theatrical evening. Timely questions abound about the nature of time, life, ethics & the American Dream.
Don't see it if You don't want to engage, expect a storyline or traditional scripted play; or dislike having to think.
See it if you like starving artists in a therapy session on why they choose acting over another vocation. get over it & don't burden the audience!
Don't see it if you want entertainment. its original & creative but not enjoyable or worthy of a broader audience. dont burden us w/your financial woes
See it if you like episodic shows that are topical as well as entertaining
Don't see it if you need a show with a strong through-line or are put-off by a show that is hit or miss; some material works, some doesn't
See it if you want a show with no plot and jumps all over the place. The acting was fine, but it wasn't a show. Very disappointed.
Don't see it if you don't want to waste 1 1/2 hours thinking to yourself, what am I watching. there are a few scenes that are decent, rest awful.
See it if you trust high scoring members reviews. Show is experimental mishmash of short vignettes. Approval is audience demographically oriented.
Don't see it if you trust critics' reviews. I could not connect with the show, yet audience give 90+% approval. This time for me improv stands for improve!
See it if you like devised pieces experimenting with outside ideas and a non-linear structure.
Don't see it if it is painful for you to see a style of show that feels dated and periodic forced moments.
See it if You want to see experimental threaters: including interactions with the actors and the actors' carrying out feedbacks from the audience.
Don't see it if You want a coherent story. Experimental theater is not your thing.
See it if You want to see an innovative concept executed well. It's an easy to swallow yet complicated enough experimental piece. Solid performing.
Don't see it if Experimental shows are not your thing. You don't have a curious mind.
See it if you enjoy theatre outside the box. Very tongue in cheek but in a sincere way.
Don't see it if You don't enjoy theatre that will make you think. But if that's the case then stop going to theatre.
See it if you enjoy watching actors "stumble" (the stakes aren't all that high but you're supposed to see them as such) through "interactive" bits.
Don't see it if you think hipsters and "experimental" theater suck.
See it if you like audience participation, actors speaking directly to the audience.
Don't see it if Indulgent and performers repeatedly commented they had no money. However, they were in a brand new, beautiful ARTNY space...weird.
See it if you like experimental shows and are willing to provide the show with the space as it tries to improve. The show is edgy
Don't see it if you would like a show designed by committee (i.e. the audience) or a show that does not really have a focus.
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