New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

The Stone Witch

From 14 critic and 178 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great staging, Entertaining, Slow, Absorbing

About the show

This imaginative Off-Broadway premiere about a children's book author explores the power and the cost of creativity. Starring Dan Lauria ('The Wonder Years.') More…

Extraordinary art must be tamed. Simon Grindberg is the world’s most illustrious children’s book writer and illustrator —but his next masterpiece is a decade overdue. Peter Chandler is a starving artist with unparalleled potential—but he doesn’t yet know his own value. The two men are thrown together by Clair Forlorni, an ambitious editor who hopes Peter’s youthful exuberance can unleash Simon’s aging genius for one final story.

1h 30m | Already closed | Westside Theatre Upstairs (Midtown W)


"The art of creation is a difficult one to portray on stage but playwright Shem Bitterman and cast have done a beautiful job of dramatizing the highs and lows of this well-worn theme. The additional theme of the mentor-pupil relationship is superbly depicted by Dan Lauria and Rupak Ginn. Carolyn McCormick brings a sense of both drollery and danger to her role as the high-powered agent who will stop at nothing to get what she wants…this is one of the few recent plays to be entirely satisfying." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Fascinating and beautifully rendered...An intriguing and thrilling ride...Adroitly, sensitively directed by Steve Zuckerman...The stone witch appears and haunts...The metaphor for what it represents evolves brilliantly throughout Bitterman’s play...Zuckerman’s acute direction propels Bitterman’s rich themes and questions about art. Brilliantly, the actors move the action with suspense and engagement...Every lustrous design aspect of 'The Stone Witch' makes the production soar." Full Review

Diandra Reviews it All

"A wondrous, hopeful and heartbreaking new play where imagination runs wild...Directed by Steve Zuckermann, 'Stone Witch' has to be one of the most impactful Off- Broadway plays premiering this season. Filled with wisdom...This tale shows that generational gaps are non-existent when it comes to creativity, and choosing to live according to it...Brisk, witty writing...Such a beautiful, riveting tale does not come often, especially with such concise delivery." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"Bitterman skillfully presents the plausible arc of a famous artist's later years. Writing is taut and expressive...Zuckerman's Direction is as physical as it is emotional, bringing characters to life with natural extension of feeling. The stage is well used...The play belongs to Dan Lauria whose mercurial, industrial strength Grindberg exists in the O'Neill/Shakespeare realm. The actor creates a charming rogue whose muse has abandoned him to lifelong nightmares." Full Review

Front Row Center

"An absolutely gorgeous production. Which may be better than the play. It’s not that the play is bad. It’s not, it’s charming. It’s just that the so stunning that the play didn’t quite deliver the promise of the visuals...The cast is first rate...Dan Lauria is masterful at taking the confusing character of Simon Grundberg as written, and turning him into a real live flesh-and-blood human being we care about and have sympathy for." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"Lauria is complex, alluring and gives a heartfelt performance. Ginn has charisma and is the perfect foil...Steve Zuckerman directs this piece like a TV movie of the week and that is partly how Mr Bitterman writes this piece. At times 'The Stone Witch' drags under the weight of its many themes Bitterman is throwing out into the audience. I found that I had more questions than answers in the end, though found the play enjoyable." Full Review


"Lauria, playing an artistic genius suffering an extended dry spell, spends the better part of ninety minutes bombastically strutting across the stage, grandly gesticulating, and unpredictably modulating his growling voice into sudden shouts of passion and rage that will surely remind many of the late, great Zero Mostel...While the play is well-performed and nicely produced, and the dialogue has its entertaining side, the evening is done in by the abundance of predictability." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"The basic situation is not particularly credible, but the author has created characters who give the three-member cast a field day for attention-getting dramatics...Despite the acting, this all seems a bit ridiculous...This is not a creator of a 'War and Peace' about whom the play is talking. All of the great man stuff seems absurdly inflated, although Lauria rants and rages effectively as the character...I left admiring the cast trio but feeling less so about Bitterman’s tempestuous play." Full Review


"A story of a promising young children's author who is sent to the woods to coax a new book out of his long-silent idol...Our veteran author lives in a world that straddles reality and fantasy...This binary world is both 'The Stone Witch's' greatest asset and its greatest obstacle. It heightens a relatively mundane story to a level of theatricality, but Bitterman and...Zuckerman, don't yet seem to know how to make these two realms theatrically communicate...Lauria's performance is the highlig... Full Review

Time Out New York

"Buried under long passages of nonsense in 'The Stone Witch' is a moving tribute to confronting one's heroes...The problem is Bitterman's focus on mental illness. When depicting insanity onstage, anything can happen and frequently does—but the mere absence of reason is rarely interesting. Zuckerman coaxes honest reactions out of his performers, but watching Peter repeatedly struggle with Simon's hallucinations grows exhausting as they slog through the largely meaningless confusion." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"'The Stone Witch' exists almost entirely as a vehicle for the actor playing Simon...If his state of mind isn't really believable, you can't say that Lauria doesn't put on a show. Rupak Ginn does as much as anyone could with Peter, one of the most thinly conceived roles I've seen in some time...A lot of 'The Stone Witch' looks like drama, but too much of it boils down to hollow speechmaking...As presented here, it is all very theatrical and very false." Full Review

Off Off Online

"A somewhat convoluted and ultimately contrived attempt to tackle the psychological complexities of creating art...While Zuckerman's production is visually and aurally rich, the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts...Ginn's self-conscious portrayal of a starving artist is not entirely credible...Too many irons in the fire...None of which gets hot enough for the story to really blaze...Action jumps rapidly...the audience is left confused...The set and score are the production's best ... Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Dan Lauria…makes a valiant but flailing stab at embodying the gruff, depressed, artistically blocked artist, a role seemingly inspired by the late Maurice Sendak. It doesn't take long before you begin checking your watch, waiting for this glum, unfunny, three-character cliché about artistic inspiration and generational jealousy to run the course of its hour and a half upon the stage…Despite the realistic conventions of the writing and acting, none of it rings true." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"The real pain will be suffering through 'The Stone Witch,' a remarkably unoriginal drama...The threadbare scenario that is patchily embroidered by Shem Bitterman, the playwright, involves the trope regarding an insufferable genius and the admirer who tries to rescue him from creative malaise...A tedious 90 minutes, the play is flat in dialogue and thin in its characterizations...A tiresome mingling of shallow writing and whimsical visuals." Full Review

Enchanting, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if You want to see some great acting and explore the world of animation from the creative process to the publishing process.

Don't see it if You just like mindless entertainment.

Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Exquisite

See it if you like psychological character depictions

Don't see it if you need a lot of action

Clever, Enchanting, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if Superb acting and a fascinating story about the creative process of writers/artists. Beautiful sets. Compelling.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in a glimpse at the life of an artist

Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing

See it if Such a great play! The acting, the stage design , all top shelf!

Don't see it if If you prefer a lighter performance, this one make you think..

Enchanting, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Slow

See it if The stage is a rich and beautiful work of art. Play is about aging/youth, creativity/lack of, money/lack of, freedom vs loneness.

Don't see it if You don't like to examine how fame, money can dampen freedom and creativity. Also if you don't want to think what youth now can soon become

Enchanting, Great writing, Intelligent, Resonant, Relevant

See it if You love plays that make you think about your own creativity, it's importance in our lives and the process of making money at it.

Don't see it if If you prefer more action packed plays with less dialogue and more movement.

Witch craft

See it if a short, three-character, single-set drama about a flinty old writer and his eager young protege is your idea of entertainment.

Don't see it if you prefer a dash of histrionics with your dramas...and if a thinly-plotted talkfest will leave you squirming in your seat.

Also "The Stone Witch" features fine performances all around, especially by... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if you want a show with a stunning set and great acting

Don't see it if you're looking for something completely new and out of the ordinary

Clever, Great staging, Great projections, Fluffy

See it if you want to see an amazing set that improves the story.

Don't see it if you want the strongest story. The themes aren't made obvious.


See it if You like contemplation on art, or what it means to be a mentor or What it means to work with a hero. Really, just go see it

Don't see it if don't like plays about children's writers.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if Interesting characters

Don't see it if It’s a Play

Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant, Clever

See it if You like intensive acting

Don't see it if You only like Broadway musicals

Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing, Entertaining

See it if love an intimate setting, with terrfic cast, wonderful scenery, refreshing new work.

Don't see it if wish for a musical, don't like character studies, not into creativity, do not want to think

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Must see

See it if An imaginative show about a children's book author needs his final swan song. Well written and starring Dan Lauria who is brilliant.

Don't see it if a strong drama performance by a successful man on his last mission is not for you

Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing

See it if Enjoy magical, mystical tales dealing with life. Ages 13 and up will be transported into the home and head of an esteemed writer.

Don't see it if You don't like dramas with an edge.

Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Creative

See it if Strong acting.View of creative genius/artist haunted by brutalities inflicted upon his family- Insight into life & struggles of artists

Don't see it if for light entertainment.Can't closely follow dialogue to end. No interest in Pressures of artist to create to highest standards .

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if It was an enjoyable three-persons show with great acting and staging. It kept you guessing of how the storyline is going to end.

Don't see it if You are not interested about the aging writer and creative blocks.

Ambitious, Great staging, Confusing, Cliched, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see an drama that is almost great. An interesting idea that is not fully explored.

Don't see it if you do not want to see a show where the audience has to mentally fill-in missing pieces of information for the plot to make sense..

Great acting, Great staging, Slow, Absorbing

See it if Superbly acted play of a famous children’s book author who hit an 11 year dry spell.

Don't see it if You like only musicals, prefer a cast larger than 3, or want something light.

Great staging, Entertaining, Fabulous set design

See it if you like a story that pulls you in and makes you want to know what will happen next.

Don't see it if you want a fast paced, easy solution to a problem story.

Refreshing, Slow, Entertaining, Enchanting

See it if An unfortunate title for entertaining play. Good acting by the cast, a bit slow but it does deliver a message.

Don't see it if Do not see if you want a light drama or musical. You have to be patient with this to the end.

Great acting

See it if Poignant character study about an older writer who's all alone, getting older & jumps at the chance to buddy up with a younger writer.

Don't see it if Prefer more fast-paced action, as the beauty is in the characters here. Could use a 10-15 minute trim to the 95 min runtime.

Delightful, Great acting, Great writing, Profound

See it if you like great staging and acting

Don't see it if you only like musicals.

Great acting, Great staging, Dan lauria is worth seeing

See it if You enjoy a classic story. You LOVE theater like I do and appreciate a talented cast of 3.

Don't see it if You need an intermission. You like musicals or fast moving stories.

Absorbing, Great staging, Great acting, Slow

See it if you like dan lauria, are interested in the creative process and liked sleuth's focus on has-been writers v young, ambitious ones

Don't see it if you don't like 'small' dramas that are a bit confusing...

Cast & Creatives (11)