Closed 1h 30m
The Hairy Ape
Upper E Side
86

The Hairy Ape NYC Reviews and Tickets

86%
(288 Reviews)
Positive
95%
Mixed
4%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intense

About the Show

Park Avenue Armory and the Old Vic present O’Neill's expressionist drama, a searing social commentary on the divide between the rich and poor in the industrial age. Starring Emmy winner and Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale.

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Member Reviews (288)

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75
Ambitious, Visually stunning, Thought-provoking, Intense, Memorable

See it if you like avant garde works. THA was more to be admired than enjoyed. The spectacle dazzles more than the words engage. Bobby C. works hard.

Don't see it if you like easy entertainment. Some parts drag. The staging is operatic, clever, imaginative. Sometimes, tho, it distracts from the content. Read more

78
Great staging, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Relevant

See it if you enjoy declarative expressionist texts. More philosophizing than actual dialogue. The staging and Cannavale are absolutely outstanding.

Don't see it if The acoustics are not the best, but expected in a venue so vast. It does get slow at time. Read more

Critic Reviews (25)

March 31st, 2017

“A mesmerizing revival…O’Neill’s nightmarish parable of alienation and class conflict still feels close to home…Mr. Jones’s interpretation is ravishing enough to please the sort of aesthetes who worship Robert Wilson’s exquisite dreamscapes. But this production also rings with primal pain...Mr. Cannavale’s emphatically flesh-and-blood presence makes him the perfect odd man out in a dehumanizing world of machines, literal and otherwise…The supporting cast is excellent.”
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March 31st, 2017

"A staggering, last-word revival...Cannavale's body is giving us expressionism while his smooth interpretation of the speech is giving us realism...It anchors a production, gorgeously directed by Jones, that is otherwise full-tilt expressionism on the grandest scale...The performances of the other supporting actors are just as subtly calibrated...What I’m not sure it matches is O’Neill. You don’t have the sense, reading the script...that something this chic could ever have been what he sought."
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April 10th, 2017

“Yank is an embodiment of the playwright’s ideas about theatrical naturalism and how to elevate it beyond the proscenium and make it deeper, spookier…Reading ‘The Hairy Ape,’ you’d never imagine what Jones comes up with, and those surprises are the reason the production is such a thrill…Jones’s talent is genius. By engineering this spectacle of O’Neill’s tragedy, he makes the playwright’s twenties modernism modern now, just for us, and it’s astonishing.”
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March 31st, 2017

"Environmental theater doesn’t come any more powerful than the staging of 'The Hairy Ape'...Cannavale superbly brings his raw, macho physicality to the leading role...The play is not exactly subtle in its language and themes. Director Jones exploits that artificiality by visually emphasizing the elemental aspects...Throughout the piece there are striking visual tableaus...This landmark production provides a sense of the bone-chilling excitement it must originally have generated."
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April 3rd, 2017

"The cognitive dissonance between a work of art and a setting that inherently encapsulates the disparities at its heart is a jarring but ultimately effective tool...Director Jones also helmed a 2015 production, and the newly added American actors benefit from his intimate knowledge of the material...Cannavale brings an animalistic physicality to the central role...O’Neill’s cutting critique of American social and economic structures couldn’t be more relevant."
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April 4th, 2017

“A stunningly beautiful staging…If you temporarily submit to the manipulations of O’Neill and Mr. Jones, you also come to see that the play is both more and less than agitprop. It is more because there are magnificent soliloquies in which we hear the rhythms and phrasings of actual people…At such moments, if you forget the author’s hectoring, you admire his artifice. The play is also less than agitprop, because it doesn’t fully accept the message it begins to peddle.”
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April 13th, 2017

"Could any play be timelier than this wrenching, tragic cry of an outsider looking for acceptance?...There’s nothing realistic about it, except for the emotional truths of alienation and dehumanization that suffuse the events leading to the play’s inevitable, tragic climax. Against this, and with the assist of a brilliant company, Cannavale gives a performance that’s utterly lacking in affectation, so completely open and raw, that by the end we’re left spent as well as rattled to our own core."
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March 31st, 2017

“The lives of the working stiffs in Eugene O’Neill’s ‘The Hairy Ape’ may be brutal, but the portraits of their labors in Richard Jones’s visually stunning new revival are sublime…Surrealism and naturalism mix marvelously…The tableaux are mesmerizing…The visual panache extends all through the production’s 90 minutes…With excellent assists from the ensemble...the 'nightmare distortions' of 'The Hairy Ape' come exhilaratingly into focus."
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April 9th, 2017

"This massive and mighty revival of O’Neill’s 1922 play is awash in blaring, glaring yellow. It’s the color of a cage-like box representing the bowels of a ship, where grimy, brawny stokers do their drone-like thing...Which fits since nothing pleasant goes down in O’Neill’s expressionist look at class and identity as seen through the eyes of Yank (Cannavale, outstanding)...Jagged beauty abounds in the stirring production guided by British director Richard Jones."
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April 2nd, 2017

"Never again are we likely to see such a massive, thoroughly designed, technically complex staging of an early 20th century expressionist play as the stunning production of O’Neill’s tragedy...Everything about it is huge: the venue, the mechanized set design, the scale of the performances and the main character’s agony and desperation...Cannavale gives a raw, layered and highly physical performance...The ensemble reinforces the play’s otherworldly style through synchronized movement."
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March 31st, 2017

“Director Richard Jones gets to the essence of the playwright's intention by giving this expressionist work a staging that is both clear and confrontational…In this nightmarish realm, Cannavale is the only actor who seems convincingly human: O'Neill's salty prose feels at home in his mouth...We also feel implicated in his downfall thanks to Jones, who pulls no punches in this gorgeous and forceful revival…This revival could not have arrived at a better moment.”
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April 9th, 2017

“A spectacular revival of Eugene O'Neill's masterpiece about identity and class struggle is stylized to the nines, yet misses the opportunity to be searing social commentary…Cannavale convincingly portrays the earnest hothead…Jones's interpretation of the text is a playwright's wildest dream coming true…It's difficult to recount all the good things about this production. However the lack of diversity onstage diminishes the play's potential for searing social commentary.”
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April 2nd, 2017

"Rarely does a production explode upon the theatre scene like O’Neill’s 'The Hairy Ape,' now receiving an extraordinary revival...It’s a sensational set, bringing an appropriately gargantuan scale to O’Neill’s tragic tale...The setting is vast, and the spectacle is breathtaking...This special combination of directorial vision, design brilliance, star power, and seamless ensemble work has brought forth a unique revival...The stunning images evoked here will long be remembered."
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April 13th, 2017

"A brilliantly staged and vibrantly performed production...There's plenty to keep you enthralled as you watch those eight scenes unfold in this stunning production...Though O'Neill's dialect is a challenging mouthful, Cannavale ably tames it, and at the same time meets the role's ape-like physical demands...It all adds up to his being an intensely heartbreaking, often gasp-inducing stage presence...The rest of the cast is also superb...A not-to-be-missed theatrical outing of this season."
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April 22nd, 2017

“An exceptional revival…O’Neill has never felt so unique and powerful...Cannavale seems to be born to play this prototype to all the brutes that Cannavale seems to play…It’s a miraculous use of space…The environmental production is a non-stop wonderland of visuals and metaphors…These are the unique moments that we theatre junkies live for…It’s a challenging and miraculous in-your-face spectacle, filled with beauty, intelligence, and exploration, with a layer of judgment.”
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April 1st, 2017

"Jones’ brutal, cinematic and stunning visuals and sublime acting make this production a must-see. This is the theatrical event of the season...Cannavale’s feral encompassing performance is mesmerizing...Cannavale embodies Yank in his brutish emotional journey to perfection; the rest of the cast supports him to the fullest...This show, though artistic in every way. will punch you in the gut and leave you feeling changed. It is impossible to not be moved by this piece."
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B
April 15th, 2017

"This gripping revival accomplishes the difficult task of making this problematic play acceptable for a 21st-century audience...Bobby Cannavale’s visceral performance as Robert Smith (Yank) anchors the production...The other cast members also excel...While O’Neill’s take on class conflict and the search for identity in the industrial age may have lost some of its power today, this production makes the best possible case for giving the play another chance."
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T
April 6th, 2017

"High-caliber direction, design and acting...Richard Jones’ brilliantly bizarre production of the O’Neill play takes full advantage of the cavernous Park Avenue Armory space...Jones turns Yank’s journey into a road trip to hell, creating one amazing encounter after another. A noirish jazz-age dance number (Aletta Collins provided the frantic choreography) is followed by a riot in a cell-block...A daring example of unconventional theatrical forms."
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Z
April 3rd, 2017

"As masterful as the sets, costumes, movement, and direction by Richard Jones all are, it is the mesmerizing performance of Bobby Cannavale in the born-to-play role of Yank that brings it all to life, and to heart...The performances and the staging will leave you speechless. And then you will exit that glorious edifice and find yourself on Park Avenue at the epicenter of money and the upper class, and you won’t know whether to laugh or cry. Either way, you’ll be glad you were there."
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April 3rd, 2017

"A superlative production...It should also spark a revision of how we receive Eugene O’Neill’s work in the twenty-first century...As relevant today as the drama of Lynn Nottage’s 'Sweat'...Cannavale is a wonder...Director Richard Jones deserves a standing ovation in his own right. The production was flawless from the character work with the actors to the design elements to the production logistics...From start to finish, it was a dazzling achievement."
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May 8th, 2017

"Cannavale delivers a viscerally charged performance that drives the show. He roars with conviction but also hints at the vulnerabilities that lie just below the surface...The aggressively blunt dialogue can grow tiring, but viewed in service of an allegory, it feels somewhat fitting. There are some thoughts that subtlety fails to express and need to be declared with a wallop. This sense of a breaking point propels the play foreword to its tragic conclusion."
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April 12th, 2017

“There are constant amazing sights...Bobby Cannavale carries off the truly difficult task of convincing us he is the tough, vigorous, and imposing, verbally and emotionally restricted Yank. He and his inordinately skilled and devoted ensemble of fellow actors, work themselves to the bone to bring this nearly century-old play to electric life…To this landmark revival, that uses phenomenal theatricality to express both dreamlike, bitter farce, and very real tragedy...Thanks.”
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April 5th, 2017

“A muscular, visually astonishing production…Bold gestures help the production transcend what seems at first a simple agitprop premise, becoming something unruly and unreal. The searching, restless fury in Cannavale's knockabout performance likewise pushes the production past an exercise in raising class consciousness…Aided by O'Neill's relentless truth-telling and Jones's gritty visual poetry, Yank's hopeless struggle comes off as a Job-like plight of unusual urgency."
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March 31st, 2017

"This isn’t a play; it’s a piece of art...Such pyrotechnics are necessary, since much of O’Neill has trouble translating across the decades since his death, not least 'The Hairy Ape'...Subtle it ain’t...O’Neill’s writing tends to land like a punch in the face...The show lives or dies on its production values, and in this case it’s the former...Each of the eight scenes is somehow more spectacular than the one before it...It is not possible to look away, even for a moment."
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March 26th, 2017

"A-larger-than-life experience. Director Richard Jones’ vision is titanic...Bobby Cannavale is riveting in the title role, leading an ensemble cast of brilliant actors in Eugene O’Neill’s classic, naturalistic tale...The themes of Eugene O’Neill’s play are viscerally understood as every element of this production comes together...You have to experience the magnitude of this production. It is a true testament to the potency of Eugene O’Neill’s writing."
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