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The Michaels

From 80 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Slow, Intelligent, Absorbing, Disappointing

About the show

Tony Award-winning playwright/director Richard Nelson returns to The Public with the next installment of his Rhinebeck Panorama, exploring the rich humanity within the incidental moments of a single day. More…

From the show:

Tony Award-winning playwright/director Richard Nelson returns to The Public with the world premiere of THE MICHAELS. Part of Nelson’s critically acclaimed RHINEBECK PANORAMA, which includes The Apple Family and The Gabriels, this new drama places the audience directly into the kitchen of Rose Michael, a celebrated choreographer. Dinner is cooked, modern dances are rehearsed, and the meal is eaten — all amidst conversations about art, death, family, dance, politics, the state of America, and how the world sees our country... and a host of everyday questions that make up the richness of ordinary life.

With grace and depth, Nelson once again creates an intricate, moving snapshot of modern-day America. Laced with humor and heartbreak, THE MICHAELS is a beautiful new play, illustrating the rich humanity within the incidental moments of one day.

Member Reviews (80)


Great acting, Slow, Intelligent, Absorbing, Disappointing
Avg Score

Sweet, Great staging, Intimate, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if You want to experience a true, honest slice of life-almost like being dropped into these people’s lives for 2 hours. Beautiful, sincere.

Don't see it if You can’t sit quietly WITH the actors. You almost have to eavesdrop at times to catch all the dialogue.

Also Don’t go to this show hungry! They prepare dinner during the two hours... Read more Read less

Resonant, Slow, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if If you enjoy a modern family play that looks at the lives of the family and inner turmoil. Good acting

Don't see it if Actors at times hard to hear. A Nelson play that you can read early what will happen.

Sad, Warm, Great dancing, Intimate, Resonant

See it if Family of dancers gathers to honor their dying matriarch. Love of dancing ties the family together. Wonderful intimate dance performances.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy "slice of life". Slow, ponderous conversation and mundane tasks fill a lot of the time.

Aromatic, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if u want to observe the latest family in Nelson's Rhinebeck Panorama & witness the best, most naturalistic acting anywhere on the NYC panorama

Don't see it if you're hungry [An entire meal is prepared on stage]; you don't like kitchen-sink drama or cerebral plays that unravel slowly in real-time.

Also The magnificent Plunkett & Sanders return with a new cast of actors to... Read more Read less

Pales in comparison to nelson’s previous family plays, Indulgent, Disappointing, Banal, Ambitious

See it if Fan of Nelson, enjoy realistic, intimate family stories that take place in real time on actual week, genuine heartfelt issues, believable

Don't see it if Want a lot to happen in plays, don’t enjoy contemporary slice-of-life portraits of middle class life, trouble hearing soft-spoken dialogue

Consistent, Exquisite, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting

See it if Delicious return to the Rhinebeck table . The team of Plunkett & O. Saunders (spouses) and Nelson masterly mesh verite acting and writing.

Don't see it if Slow and meandering are no deterrents when realism slices through Life's trials providing a consistently satisfying night of TRUE theatre.

Also Not the Apples. Not the Gabriels. Just the Michaels.

Be fly on the wall as family & friends get together 2 take stock of career of charismatic choreographer who's dying; pedestrian but profound

See it if poignant interaction of dying woman who will not go quietly/those honoring her; dance scenes brilliantly reveal inter-generational dynamics

Don't see it if 4 some Nelson’s approach/observing everyday scenes among family/friends is agonizingly slow; I find it revelatory here

Also It's important to note that the subject of the choreography of the dyi... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Masterful, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if The acting is incredible, so natural, you feel like these are real people just sitting and talking. I loved the dances.

Don't see it if you don't want to sit for two hours with no intermission at a play where not much happens. I did like it a lot, but it really felt too long.

Also I loved the opening when the music played and the actors set up the ki... Read more Read less

Great staging, Mostly great acting, Intelligent, Slow, Pleasant

See it if u enjoy slice of life stories that don't necessarily go anywhere but can give insight into the lives of a family; mostly well acted/directed

Don't see it if you are tired of straining your ears to hear the words of the Nelson plays; you prefer action over words; cut 30 minutes to be more engaging

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

See it if You are a fan of Richard Nelson’s family trilogies. This is about modern dance, family and friends, and death. It is poignant and relevant.

Don't see it if You sit far away from the stage set as the dialogue is in a conversational tone. Do you like fast action? This is not the play for you.

Also The modern dance sequences are refreshing.

Exhausting, Slow, Quirky, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if You really like Richard Nelson's style. This plays exactly the same as most of his previous work. An interesting slice of life play.

Don't see it if You want a story that is engaging all the way through. Besides a couple of moments towards the end, it was completely uninteresting.

Dull, Overrated, Indulgent, Excruciating, Banal

See it if If you like Richard Nelson's slice-of-life, conversational, talky style. If you enjoy a character study where nothing much happens.

Don't see it if If you don't, you'll find this dull as dishwater. A group of people prepare and eat a meal while talking about their lives. Quietly.

Overrated, Indulgent, Excruciating, Dated, Ambitious

See it if You enjoy the Rhinebeck saga

Don't see it if You are tired of the Rhinebeck saga

Quiet, Intelligent, Disappointing, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you are an avid Nelson fan. This was not his best but valuable still. I missed the politically nuanced discussions.

Don't see it if you have hearing problems and like plays with action

Slow, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if Like Nelson's slow naturalistic soft-spoken conversational plays but with the added twist of modern dance in place of politics

Don't see it if don't like the above or like Nelson's work & expect the same level of engagement; don't believe that art in any form helps during low*

Also *periods, don't want a central character with cancer... Read more Read less


See it if A meditation (figuratively and literally) on work and relationships with love ones while one is aging/dying. Not much happens in the 2 hrs..

Don't see it if Beginning scenes are super slow. Lots of dance world jargon. Harder to hear when they face the other way. Many sleepers in the audience...

Also Diversity: Protagonist is an older queer white woman. 1 Indian woman a... Read more Read less

Slow, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if You are a fan of Richard Nelson. This play is centered on the dance world which I found very interesting. Enjoyed the dialogue and actors.

Don't see it if You need action and do not like talky plays. Was a bit slow at 2 hours without an intermission.

Also I was sitting close to the stage so I could hear very well and felt th... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You relish spending time being an observer of human behavior among an intriguing array of people. The Apple's neighbors .

Don't see it if You prefer heavy plotting and all questions to be answered

Nelson's latest play examines living, dying, and what is left behind

See it if You're a Richard Nelson fan; you enjoy plays that unfold gradually and don't hit you over the head.

Don't see it if You're looking for a comedy; you like a lot of action.

Also I'm a huge Richard Nelson fan. I love the way his plays take their tim... Read more Read less

A little slow, Great writing, Great acting, Intelligent, Indulgent

See it if you liked THE GABRIELS. Similarly set in a Rhinebeck kitchen, now with extended family of dancers gently confronting matriarch's mortality.

Don't see it if you want spectacle. This is a NATURALISTIC, quiet drama - beautifully realized without fireworks. Family dynamics, transitions, food.

Also Don't need to know or love dance, but for those who aren't dance fans,... Read more Read less

Less engaging than apples or gabriels, Sanders & plunkett shine (again), Dance pieces and theme are unique, Classic nelson family meal-making drama, Absorbing

See it if You are wanting more of the Rhinebeck family stories by Nelson. Want to see Sanders & Plunkett shine again. Like dance and stories about it.

Don't see it if Need fast pacing or high drama. This as if you are observing a family and their friends in their kitchen during a difficult life transition.

Profound, Masterful, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if an examination of the life of a complex artist and her legacy as it relates to her family and death --very profound and moving

Don't see it if splintered stories, complex relationships between family untold slowly through mundane life experiences, just brilliantly executed.

Also Exquisite acting, story-telling, incredible dance sequences, very laye... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Slow, Masterful, Disappointing, Absorbing

See it if You're a Richard Nelson fan (I am), because he clearly has his technique: real-time family plays set in Rhinebeck. Small, intimate dramas.

Don't see it if You want all the dancers to the be good actors, you don't give a hoot about modern dance, you don't like conversational plays in the round.

Also Nelson is at it again, and while I'm not mad about it, I sort of hoped... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if you will enjoy a family drama, replete with a dying dancer who won't go easily and some beautiful dancing by her "daughter" & "niece".

Don't see it if a drama set in a family kitchen is not your style.

Masterful, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Exquisite

See it if Another gorgeous slice of life by Richard Nelson -this one about life and death and the the legacy of performing arts & stories we tell

Don't see it if It’s Nelson so the talk is low and people are talking while perfect meals are prepared - but life and art both ephemeral are unfolding so go

October 28th, 2019
CRITIC’S PICK "Dance as Life in Upstate New York: In this delicately wrought portrait of a dying choreographer and her family, Richard Nelson’s play considers the redemptive powers of art in fractious times."
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October 29th, 2019
4/5 Stars "Part of the power of these plays lies in the naturalism and lack of sentimentality with which Nelson...allows them to unfold. And he's fortunate to be reunited here with Sanders and Plunkett, who bring affecting honesty to seemingly ordinary interactions."
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November 4th, 2019
"Richard Nelson’s Family Cycles Capture Life in Real Time: The up-to-the-minute timeliness of the playwright’s work is like a magnifying glass that focusses and intensifies the moment."
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October 28th, 2019
"Playwright-director Richard Nelson continues his intimate portraiture of our troubled times with the latest elegiac chapter in his 'Rhinebeck Panorama.'"
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