Closed 1h 45m
The Originalist
Midtown E
83

The Originalist NYC Reviews and Tickets

83%
(42 Reviews)
Positive
88%
Mixed
12%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Four-time Helen Hayes Award winner Edward Gero portrays Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. 

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Member Reviews (42)

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79
Profound, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Clever

See it if Ed Gero doe a masterful job of portraying Supreme Court Judge, Antone Scalia's human side and deep thinking side. Intermissionless hour half

Don't see it if Show goes bye quickly. If you like musicals or are intolerant towards conservatives.

91
Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy an intelligent drama about the late Judge Scalia. The dialogue is intelligent and intense. This show grips you.

Don't see it if you are an intolerant liberal without an open mind and hate Scalia. Read more

Critic Reviews (23)

July 19th, 2018

“Thought-provoking (and equally contrived) play...A lot like a Norman Lear sitcom featuring Scalia as Archie Bunker with a Harvard Law degree. This results in a certain amount of sitcom acting from Gero and Ifeachor, who commit to the more ludicrous exchanges in Strand's script with forced gusto...Strand's play is foremost about ideas and national trends, so director Molly Smith wisely spotlights the text with an uncluttered and highly focused staging.”
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July 21st, 2018

"This is a vital story for our times. It contrasts political and social perspectives while still proving that people can maintain a sense of civility. This enthralling theatrical piece features the finest staging and stellar acting...Gero as Antonin Scalia masters the demanding role of the controversial judge and Ifeachor as Cat captures the part of his tenacious law clerk...A thought-provoking, insider's view of our American judicial system and makes you realize the importance of respectful discourse."
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July 24th, 2018

"Does anyone think that New York theatre audience wants to see a play in which Scalia rants and raves for over an hour, only to be revealed as a teddy bear under the black robes? The premise of 'The Originalist' is pure sitcom...Trouble is, Strand struggles to make it minimally believable...Strand undermines his plot with tired television-comedy tropes...Too much of the time, however, 'The Originalist' settles for easy, odd-couple comedy at the expense of character and real conflict. "
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July 19th, 2018

“A play that could hardly come along at a more opportune moment...That ‘The Originalist’ is little more than a thinly disguised debate does have its drawbacks as the Scalia-Cat exchanges accumulate and range from bickering to knock-down-drag-out disputes...It’s likely that Manhattan audiences will differ in their inclinations from many other parts of the nation where 'The Originalist' also deserves to play."
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July 23rd, 2018

"While conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may have been 'the most polarizing figure in American civic life,' there can be little doubt that actor Edward Gero gives a bravura performance as the jurist in John Strand's 'The Originalist,' now having its New York premiere at 59E59 Theaters. This fictional biography which uses excerpts from Scalia's dissents and opinions is part courtroom drama, part debate and partly a portrait of a man who never compromised on his convictions."
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July 27th, 2018

“Playwright Strand has crafted his characters well...’The Originalist’ feels authentic and its dialogue rings true. Gero and Ifeachor maximize the tension and humor in their well-staged debate scenes, and Gero is especially charismatic as Scalia, evoking empathy and a sense of humanity despite his hardline conservatism. Under the guidance of director Molly Smith, he maximizes the humor of the character, pushing the laugh potential in each wisecrack.”
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July 22nd, 2018

"Perhaps more relevant than ever before...Gero’s respect for the Justice is transparent as he moves through a transformative, articulate, and lovable performance. It is a masterful and surprisingly sympathetic portrait...Ifeachor’s acting is like a virtuoso jazz musician. Her instincts command this fiery character...Strand’s play is a brave and talented work...It’s a great performance from two very different actors and it’s their exceptional performances which make the ideas accessible."
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July 20th, 2018

“Strand's sharp dialogue draws a character study of the audacious spirit, feisty charm, and brilliant mind of the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia...Gero paints the larger-than-life Scalia with a love-hate spirit, a stout theatrical intellect performing from the bench...Ifeachor gives Cat a robust conviction and inflexibility...Its timeliness now is particularly glaring.”
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July 20th, 2018

“One of those plays. You’re either going to love it or hate it. Much like the subject matter itself...What ‘The Originalist’ does brilliantly is to reveal the humanity and integrity behind each character and to therefore declaw them. I doubt it will radically change anyone’s political opinions one way or another. Although it may help to understand the other side...Outstanding performances...A brilliant match of talent.”
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T
July 19th, 2018

"Who would have thought a play about an ultra-conservative Supreme Court justice…could rivet a New York audience for an intermissionless hour and 50 minutes and even snare the self-righteous Solon some sympathy?…'The Originalist' manages…to dramatize and humanize Scalia via lively, intriguing discussions that press many of the nation's hottest constitutional buttons…Gero's Scalia is about as close to the real thing as you can expect of an actor…Ifeachor's Cat…is lightweight and unconvincing."
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July 20th, 2018

"Engaging and intellectually stimulating...A lot of the back and forth arguments in chambers between Scalia and his clerk as depicted seem unlikely, but they are nonetheless engrossing, thanks largely to the acting as well as the writing by playwright John Strand...Despite some of the play’s hokum, it has the advantage of laying out issues sharply and a performance by Gero that makes Scalia come dramatically alive."
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July 20th, 2018

“The sturdy, compelling production rivets our attention with ultra-contemporary panache. The play explicates both the character and the philosophy of that most polarizing of jurists...Directed smoothly...Some of the earlier dialogue gets a tiny bit dry, perhaps necessarily so given the matters under discussion, and some of the sequences around the climax are a touch stagey. But the play retains dramatic solidity and remains engaging.”
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July 17th, 2018

"The key to the play’s warm reception is a remarkable performance by Edward Gero as Scalia. He not only has an uncanny resemblance to the late justice, but builds a rounded believable version of him...The play could hardly be more timely with its mention of Roe v. Wade and growing polarization. While generally well crafted, the play occasionally becomes more didactic than dramatic."
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July 16th, 2017
For a previous production

"The glory of Gero’s performance is how artfully it balances the actual man with the comic demands of John Strand’s crowd-pleasing play...Gero woos the crowd beautifully with a virtuosic blend of bluster, intellect and devastating wit...Rather than being strictly realistic, Cat gives robust, unadulterated voice to Scalia’s critics...It may be that rare play of political ideas that can woo audiences in territory marked blue, red, or purple."
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May 21st, 2018
For a previous production

"Since Scalia expounding in a lecture — entertaining as that might be — does not a play make, Strand imagines that Scalia has knowingly hired a young, lesbian law clerk, Cat...Even if you are willing to go along with that contrivance, it is still mighty hard to buy the exact nature of their interaction, mostly because it just feels so reductive...You're not getting a profound work of theater. But you are in the presence of a thoroughly enjoyable performance from Gero."
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April 20th, 2017
For a previous production

"'The Originalist' gives off its flintiest sparks when justice and clerk are in battle mode...Strand's characterization of Scalia, drawn from his writing, feels largely correct, and Gero's physical resemblance to the late justice is striking...For a play that tries to pivot around the nuance of constitutional interpretation, Smith's production often feels ham-fisted...'The Originalist' heavily underlines its metaphors and contains no surprises."
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February 4th, 2017
For a previous production

"I came away with a better understanding of the man's written opinions, mostly descents...Gero bears a striking physical resemblance to Scalia, and plays him much more kindly than his scathing opinions might suggest. This comes mostly from the script, which is quite sympathetic to the man...A play that is largely built on conflicting ideologies needs a sharp director to keep it in focus and interesting, which Smith does very well...It is lively, intellectually stimulating theater."
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March 20th, 2016
For a previous production

"After much back and forth...the dialogue, the debate, takes on the subject of the Defense of Marriage Act. And there's no letting it go...The same arguments are made repeatedly...Where 'The Originalist' loses momentum is when Brad starts a food fight with Cat. The scene is totally unnecessary, a director's self-indulgence...Whether audiences in cities other than Washington...will have the sitzfleisch for 105 minutes of dueling ideologies remains to be seen."
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February 5th, 2017
For a previous production

"Gero is giving a superb performance as the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and the play has great resonance...An artful examination of how and if people can ever get beyond their political differences in order to meet somewhere in the middle. If ever a play hits home more than this one does today, I cannot name it...It’s enlightening and it offers hope to us in a time when hope is needed."
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July 21st, 2017
For a previous production

"Not only a finely tuned and sharpened play performance, but a masterclass in acting...Some of Gero’s best moments come when he underplays a line or using a protracted pause to allow for his facial expressions to say everything. But he doesn’t shortchange Strand’s strong text either...Strand really doesn’t take sides. His play works to show how two humans with more in common than they first realize can find a level playing field, no matter what their political leanings are."
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C
May 24th, 2018
For a previous production

"This contrived and tormented attempt to turn what is essentially fascinating and funny stand-up into high drama...Gero is marvelous...There are two welcome, not to say merciful, timeouts from the debates in chambers...But those moments of legitimate drama are offset by the incursion of Brad...The character Brad is unneeded. He’s little more than a straw man...Gero’s finely crafted Scalia would be better served without any of these trappings."
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July 13th, 2017
For a previous production

"Gero is rigid yet gentle and turns Scalia into a real person instead of the heartless man that so many believe him to be.This show is only set a few years ago so it resonates deeply and is a clear commentary on the political climate under President Obama. It is still relevant in the Trump administration...‘The Originalist’ makes the audience ask if they’d be willing to set aside their biases to listen to the other side."
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May 21st, 2018
For a previous production

"There’s little Americans like more than a legal drama...'The Originalist' does not deliver the customary satisfaction through exploration of the case, choosing instead to go the even more hackneyed route of reconciling unequal rivals on emotional stakes that never obtain palpable tension. In other words, 'The Originalist' attempts to vindicate Scalia’s impact on American law by arguing he was a pretty nice guy...Expertly acted and beautifully produced."
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