Already closed | 2h 45m | East Village

The Low Road

From 147 member  reviews
Members say: Clever, Great acting, Ambitious, Relevant, Intelligent

About the show

From Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Bruce Norris ('Clybourne Park') and the Public Theater comes this epic play examining the basic beliefs upon which we’ve built our economy and our country. More…

Set in the 18th century, this wild new work imagines America’s first laissez-faire capitalist, a young man inspired by a chance encounter with Adam Smith to put his faith in the free market. But his path to riches becomes inextricably entangled with that of an educated slave, a man who knows from experience that one person's profit is another’s loss, in this parable about the true cost of inequality. Four-time Tony nominee and three-time Obie winner Michael Greif directs.

Member Reviews (147)


Clever, Great acting, Ambitious, Relevant, Intelligent
Avg Score

Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Dizzying, Resonant

See it if Lively, funny, intelligent overview of American capitalist movement Staged w/brio by Greif & broadly acted, Norris' innate pessimism shines

Don't see it if Heavy-handed flash-forward opening to 2nd Act sets sour tone & play never fully recovers Norris' tone gets darker, black comedy turns lethal

Rollicking takedown of naked capitalism and how it is inextricably bound up with slavery at america’s beginning

See it if related thru tumultuous Dickensian tale of abandoned child who becomes rapacious capitalist & slave owner; narrated w wit by Adam Smith

Don't see it if wild 2nd act which shows unchecked capitalism in past, present and future inventive but out of control; we get the pt: it's toxic!

Also This play cleverly plays with the form of a typical Dickens' bildungsr... Read more Read less

Clever, Too long, Uneven, Good acting

See it if You’d like an introduction to the workings of capitalism and greed. Daniel Davis and Harriet Harris keep the story moving. Great ensemble.

Don't see it if Perfetti’s performance is dull and uninteresting; play is a bit repetitive and long.

Unique, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if You’d like to see Adam Smith’s “Wealth Of Nations” embodied in a young entrepreneur of the 1700s. Unregulated capitalism, invisible hand.

Don't see it if You don’t like a show that needs a narrator or a midshow flash forward contemporary panel of the 1% or a peek into a sci-fi future.

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you like inventive & absorbing theatre. This is The Public at its best.Script is clever, fast paced, fun, relevant, and delightful.

Don't see it if you want a realistic, straightforward play.This takes you on a ride, teaches you a lot without ever preaching. It's a gem.

Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you're interested in a clever play focusing on capitalism and self-interest. You enjoy intelligently written and well-acted plays with humor

Don't see it if you don't like plays dealing with history, race, class, and inequalities. You're not alert enough for a dense and somewhat complicated play.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant, Relevant

See it if You want a palatable primer on economics and social history revealed brilliantly and incrementally. THIS IS FUNNY.

Don't see it if You aren't up to the 2:40 running time. You have no interest in 2008 melt down vis a vis Trump and 2018 in 1700's clothing.

Banal, Ambitious, Cliched, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you enjoy convoluted explanations about how our economic system was created.

Don't see it if plays that wander through history with odd interpretations of characters is not your thing

Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if story set in 18th century (with brief diversion to a modern econ. summit) with humorous look at A. Smith's hands-off view of capitalism

Don't see it if don't want to see issues of racism & greed with any humor; 2nd half that is darker and slower; don't want to be reminded of Econ 101

Also Characters play multiple rolls and all very well. Mr. Davis was great ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if Wonderful ensemble cast in a play about the roots of American capitalism and it’s inevitable outcome of greed. Very well written .

Don't see it if If you are not interested in historical plays about American economy and finances.

Clever, Confusing, Overrated, Intelligent, Repetitive

See it if You want to be reminded of a grad school course on economic history albeit with an interesting Professor .

Don't see it if You hate having the same points made multiple times , it could have been done in half the time (and spectacle ).

Ambitious, Disappointing, Excruciating, Indulgent, Quirky

See it if you are hungering for a comedy (written with modern day voice) set in the 18th century containing a low brow vaudevillian sensibility.

Don't see it if if a comedy set the 18th century about crafty, self-made colonial American capitalist doesn’t first appeal to your innate curiosity, SKIP IT

Also Bruce Norris’s new play is about as far a departure as the playwright ... Read more Read less

Funny, Great writing, Great acting, Hilarious, Relevant

See it if you're a fan of absurdist comedy and nudity.

Don't see it if you're a billionare who thinks they're doing the world good. or if harsh language bothers you.

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Resonant

See it if Terrific ensemble skewering laissezfaire economics with a Tom Jonesish romp through the 18th century and self interested foundling

Don't see it if Your hate satire and love the invisible hand

Ambitious, Entertaining, Great acting, Intense, Relevant

See it if you like a long-ish play that tackles economic and world events in a cheeky manner.

Don't see it if male nudity, crude language or economic talk are not for you.

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if Like period pieces, large casts, intelligently written and impeccably acted plays. It's very Dickensian in it's scope and feel.

Don't see it if You have no interest in history or economics.

Great acting, Great staging, Entertaining, Quirky, Resonant

See it if Great performances. It’s absorbing & entertaining even tho main character is so unlikeable. Depicts dangers of free wheeling capitalism.

Don't see it if You don’t like involved plot and some jumping around the story. It’s a wild ride. Fun but dark.

Funny, Great staging, Resonant, Ambitious, Quirky

See it if this is a terrific, strange historical tragi-comedy, a very creative vehicle for incisive political commentary. Norris is a great writer.

Don't see it if it's a bit overlong. In spite of abundant humor, it is not light, and has dark and cynical moments. Skip if you dont like political theater.

Great staging, Great acting, Quirky, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You want to see a stellar cast.

Don't see it if You like a play that doesn't take detours.

Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Ambitious, Funny, Highbrow

See it if a complicated history of capitalism dont scare you and double/triple castings can be convincing

Don't see it if you prefer a more entertaining piece that is not provoking.

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if For original clever interesting & funny.Off Broadway theater. Stage filled with huge amount of talent & varied topics.

Don't see it if you can't sit through 2 1/2 hrs of original theater touching on many large and small ideas . May be confusing at time but worth seeing.


See it if you want to see a terrific ensemble of actors doing their best to entertain you. Perfect costumes and perfect direction awaits you.

Don't see it if Do not see it if you are expecting anything too profound. You get the author's point, but his point is not that illuminating.

Also The audience was laughing throughout the first act. I chuckled a coupl... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you are game for some funny misadventures that follow the money and its many twists and turns through the ages. So much fun and lessons too.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable around slavery, piety, greed, hypocrisy, robbery, and income inequality, since all of this is right there on stage!

Indulgent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Unexpectedly funny

See it if you're willing to invest the time and go along for the ride. It's not short (2 1/2+ hours), but engrossing. The narrator is exceptional.

Don't see it if you have to like the protagonist. He is deliberately unlikeable. In the end, it works for the piece but you have to stick it out to see how.

Great acting, Relevant, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if you enjoy terrific ensemble acting and a contemporary and historical critique of capitalism. Great surprise in second act and fun to watch.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy a critique of capitalism. If you are not in the middle of the theater hard to see. The play​ is too long and too ambitious.

March 7th, 2018
"Norris and Greif pull off the not inconsiderable feat of keeping us fully, even breathlessly engaged, without presenting a single character who entirely captures our sympathies...Yet after a cliff-hanging first-act finale, the play seems to lose faith in its audience's capacity for inference...W...
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March 8th, 2018
"Sensationally prickly and entertaining new play...In the course of this wide-paneled epic—marvelously assembled by director Michael Greif—Norris aims liberating arrows of skepticism at a diverse range of targets...'The Low Road' enjoys being a play, and its dramatic weaponry is wielded with skil...
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March 9th, 2018
"Norris's rancid, rollicking picaresque...under the sharp-as-a-hatpin direction of Greif...Its parody of the classic young-man-sets-out-to-make-his-fortune story is smart, well-crafted, very well-acted, darkly funny, and beautifully designed...Also so filled with bitterness and loathing...Leaves ...
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March 7th, 2018
"Norris doesn't fully succeed in weaving his expansive theatrical canvas. Although several episodes register dramatically or comedically, the proceedings are more often than not jumbled and confused. The play's themes regarding the rapaciousness of unchecked capitalism feel forced and repetitive....
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