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The Traveling Lady

Members say: Slow, Great acting, Dated, Entertaining, Absorbing
25 reviews
82 reviews

Cherry Lane Theatre revives Horton Foote's 1955 play, a searching look into America's heart and soul, and a poignant story of loss and redemption. 

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'The Traveling Lady' is the tale of an intrepid woman who journeys to a small town in Texas to reunite with her husband upon his release from prison. Directed by Austin Pendleton, the production is part of Cherry Lane Theatre's 2nd Founder's Project, and a co-production with La Femme Theatre Productions.


Cast & Creatives (16)

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Reviews (107)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score


“Under the sensitive and confident direction of Pendleton, the play slowly cooks like a stew, enticing us further with each scene. Pendleton doesn't try too hard to grab our attention or push the pace. He lets us come to the play, which we are eager to do, especially when the text is delivered by this expert cast…Few directors can make a nearly 63-year-old play feel fresh and exciting quite the same way Pendleton can. It's the kind of theatrical magic you really have to experience firsthand." Full Review


“A warm and sensitive production…As is typical with Foote, the gentle philosophical tone of the play rises above the story. In this case, the desire for stability in life takes precedence, as the strong ensemble embraces the flavorful dialogue full of gossip and humor.” Full Review

The New York Times

“Quaint and baggy, ‘The Traveling Lady’ is no great drama…Nor is the affectionate revival a great production. But if some of the play’s best qualities are muddied by performances that seem shaky and flat, ‘The Traveling Lady’ still emerges as a lovely specimen of the form…The production only intermittently achieves the paradoxical merger of vast emotion and delicate expression that Foote requires…You need a production that gets past the competencies of the scene-study class.” Full Review

Time Out New York

“In its beautifully performed revival, Foote’s ‘The Traveling Lady’ reveals itself as a particularly well-shaped little jewel…Pendleton has the most delicate directorial hands in the business...Luckily, Clara’s garden has room for some naughtier angels as well: the play’s tartest characters, teetotaler Mrs. Tillman and cackling maniac Mrs. Mavis (the masterful Lynn Cohen). The rest of ’em invite you onto the porch, but these two keep the tea from turning too sweet." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"A genial, if undistinguished, production...Georgette is overshadowed by a typically colorful cast of Foote supporting characters, their magpie ways effortlessly stealing the limelight...There is much to enjoy here, most notably the way that the playwright conjures an entire universe of offstage characters with complicated histories, but this is one of his weaker pieces...Completists won't want to miss 'The Traveling Lady;' others can wait for a better production someday soon." Full Review

New York Theater

"Poignant, gently amusing, and peopled with believable small-town characters who struggle and strive to be decent, not always successfully...I have to admit that 'The Traveling Lady' didn’t really kick in for me until the last third of the play...If this production may have required more attentiveness than I was willing to give it, if it didn’t move me or amuse me as much I might have hoped, that may only be because Horton Foote is responsible for some of the best theater I’ve ever seen." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“A sleepy misfire directed by the ubiquitous Austin Pendleton…A company of first-class New York actors fails to find more in their roles than their obvious external features…Rarely does the atmosphere rise to compellingly dramatic levels; rarely is there any tension; and rarely do we care what happens to these people, who, for all their basic decency, seem little more than Dixie stereotypes. They drawl, gossip, smile, stare, and pause the time away, all on behalf of a foregone conclusion.” Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"Foote himself would have delighted in the perfect stylistic unanimity of this lovely revival...Pendleton has staged 'The Traveling Lady' with a gentle understatement that draws you in before you know it, and his actors exude a feeling of community so strong as to create the impression that they’ve known one another for years...To single out Lichty, Bull and Cohen for special mention is to disserve the similarly persuasive performances of their colleagues, who are excellent without exception." Full Review

The Huffington Post

“One of those just-about-flawless revivals that Foote seems to invite…Here it is again, under Austin Pendleton’s reliably sympathetic and spanking-clean direction…The minute Foote recognized there was playwriting gold in them thar plains had to have been the minute he started recording them for his series of high-caliber works. Here they are again, delivered by a strong cast. Hearty thanks to them all.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"Wildly predictable...So, what’s the reason to hustle downtown to go there, again? In this case, it comes down to the acting...Difficult to say how much of the authenticity of the acting magic is owing to the director (Austin Pendleton) and how much to the craft and alchemy of the polished actors...There’s nothing wrong with 'The Traveling Lady' but there is little bite to it, little memorable about it, nothing surprising to take away. If you like Horton Foote, you will probably like this one." Full Review


“It needs a director and actors able to dig into the rhythm of Foote's words, and the personalities of his characters. Fortunately, director Pendleton and the cast are more than up to that challenge…Pendeleton overdoes the use of the aisle for the actors to enter and exit the stage a bit. However, his direction otherwise and the production values overall enhance and support this visit down Mr. Foote's very special and well worth visiting memory lane.” Full Review


"With wonderful performances and excellent staging, Horton Foote’s 1950, small-town Texas drama is tenderly revived...Besides shepherding these sensitive performances, director Pendleton has inventively staged the play...Pendleton’s keen direction injects insight, a measured pace and incites emotion, perfectly realizing Foote’s introspective vision...Though decidedly not a major play, this production is highly successful. It also affirms the enduring power of Foote." Full Review

Bob's Theater Blog

"Will Georgette catch a break? I was not at the edge of my seat waiting to find out. While the ensemble is mostly good, Pendleton’s direction is flat...The need for most of the actors to enter via the theater’s center aisle and up a few stairs grows tiresome quickly. While it’s always a pleasure to see Ziemba, she is wasted in a nondescript supporting role...Unless you are a fanatic Foote fan, you can skip this one." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"The characters Foote has created grow on you right up until the very touching ending...The beauty of the play, directed with care and intelligence by Austin Pendleton, lies in Foote’s ability to develop believable characters and place them in believable surroundings. The excellent cast succeeds in making Foote’s characters come alive...Everything unites to make one leave with appreciation of having had a moving experience and renewed respect for the author." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"An excellent revival...Pendleton brings tremendous reverence to Foote, his ensemble, and the art of theatre in general, directing every moment with grace and sensitivity...While the production is top-notch, the script itself is not Foote’s best...Why revisit what feels like a writing exercise in the expansive 70-year career of a literary giant? I don’t have the answer. But if you are a Foote aficionado, you’ll find his play successfully and faithfully realized here with great love and loyalty." Full Review

Carole Di Tosti

"Directed by Pendleton with his usual insight and attentiveness to acting specificity...The beauty of Foote’s work, and this production, is that it is far from predictable. This is why much of Foote’s work, if executed with precision as Pendleton does with the assistance of the fine ensemble and artistic creative team, is greatly satisfying in its representation of homely Americana...This production is a gem. You will appreciate the strong performances by the ensemble and incisive direction." Full Review

Off Off Online

"Top-flight character actors giving memorable supporting performances rescue the otherwise anodyne revival and make it worth an evening’s time...The current production...lacks the thrust and economy of Pendleton’s more distinguished work. Yet there are sequences in which his direction picks up speed with exhilarating effect; and, at those junctures, spectators may be reminded of high points in later (and better) Foote plays." Full Review

City Cabaret

"Throughout the play, we see Foote's artistry with his quiet cast of characters whose lives are not as simple as they seems. Yet, they are believable and resolute as they face life's changes, disappointments and hardships...Pendleton paces the show with detailed authenticity and layered characters portrayed by a solid cast in another of Horton Foote's plays, a treasure chest of Americana and humanity." Full Review

Epoch Times

"The main attraction of the show is the easy camaraderie between the townspeople of Harrison...Sosko does a great job as Henry...Henry’s eventual meeting with Margaret Rose is particularly heart-wrenching...The only cast member not quite in sync with the story is Lichty...Despite a few missteps, 'The Traveling Lady' is quite the pleasant experience, with the show offering a gently layered look at a time when the world moved a little slower." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

"A simple little diversion, a gentle, bittersweet slice-of-life drama that is singularly American...'The Traveling Lady' is a creaky, old-fashioned tale of a more simpler time in America, a story that shows its age...Foote instills the hundred-minute intermissionless 'The Traveling Lady' with some charming moments, but there are not quite enough of them to sustain this production above being a nice, pleasurable detour." Full Review

More Than The Play Blog

"Pendleton successfully captures the pace and tone of Foote’s 'small Texas town' in 1950. The cast authentically portrays heartfelt camaraderie, Bible belt values, and compassion that is appropriate for the characters and time period...If you are a fan of Horton Foote, you will definitely enjoy this production. It will capture your heart and take you back to simpler times." Full Review

Theater Time

“While not a perfect play and despite some unnecessarily fussy direction by Austin Pendleton, it is still Foote’s words and situations that have a beautifully real feel to them. Quite fortunately, it is also blessed with a lovely cast who personify the characters he has created…Lynn Cohen almost steals the show as the very funny but dotty neighbor Mrs. Mavis…The always reliable Ziemba does not disappoint as a woman who feels that life has passed her by.” Full Review

Village Voice

“Pendleton has succeeded admirably by keeping his actors at a medium-rare level of intensity…But Foote’s intention here seems somewhat overly concerned with explaining poor behavior and assorted other problems through bad parenting…With her patrician looks and manner, Lichty would probably be more at home in a Philip Barry drawing room than on a porch in Texas. This Georgette seems like a woman we don’t need to worry about." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“‘The Traveling Lady’ is somewhat heavy-handed in its construction and occasionally overburdens the scenes with weighty symbolism. Therefore, it may not rate in the top tier of the Foote canon, but it reflects the playwright in excellent form…Director Austin Pendleton has drawn some terrific performances from his ensemble…Ziemba offers a richly layered portrayal of a woman whose mother is mentally deteriorating before her.” Full Review

LA Splash

"I urge all theatergoers who are even REMOTELY interested in an authentic American voice TO GO! An ensemble of ten perfectly cast players grace this venerable stage and serve up a quiet Texas ballad of a play with the assured staging of a master director...This new mounting exhibits how, in the hands of able actors and with seemingly unadorned direction, Foote’s perspective on the American landscape and its inhabitants can captivate, stir, amuse, and deeply move." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Absorbing, Delightful, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if you are a fan of Horton Foote. The story is involved with dynamic theme lines. Well staged and directed.

Don't see it if if complicated writing and Horton Foote is not your cup of tea

Great acting, Insipid, Slow, Dated, Great staging

See it if You can seat through great playwright and acting with slow paced and dated material

Don't see it if You can't handle a story written in the 50' that didn't get any revision to fit a more modern format.

Absorbing, Great acting, Romantic, Great writing, Heartwarming

See it if you like Horton Foote plays about simple, sincere people trying to be kind to one another even in iffy circumstances, realistic portrayals.

Don't see it if You don't like tales of rural Southern life, ex-convicts trying to reintegrate into everyday life, mother-daughter good-natured bickering..

Precious, Quaint, #smalltown, #touching, #tiny

See it if The quintessential "Lets Put On A Play" with our best friends at our local theatre feel with a midlevel Horton Foote text

Don't see it if Feels like the first class production of a show you might find in a suburb more than 90 minutes from a major city

Slow, Well-acted, Sentimental

See it if Not Foote's best. Unsurprising, with characters curiously (deliberately?) lacking backstories. The acting will hold you.

Don't see it if You're looking for action, meaning, insights

Entertaining, Worth seeing

See it if you like Horton Foote.Lynn Cohen gives brilliant performance. She is worth the price of the ticket.A masterclass in making a small role big

Don't see it if you are looking for heavy, meaningful drama.It's typical Foote, entertaining, light.Go to see Lynn Cohen. Wow. What a performance.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You want to see a production with good character development and people you care about.

Don't see it if You want to see a typical Horton Foote where the drama is as interesting as the characters.

Heart-warming, Excellent ensemble, Engrossing / absorbing, Very well-staged, Very well-paced

See it if you enjoy good theater, PERIOD. Excellent ensemble - both comedic and serious. NO ONE broke onstage all night - even the line-less sheriff!

Don't see it if you expect high-drama w/big set-changes. It's a simple, down-home country tale, gifted us by great story-tellers. As warm as just-baked pie.

Also Pleasantly surprised. You LIKE every character from the get-go. Even t... Read more Read less

Funny, Absorbing, Exquisite, Must see, Profound

See it if you love good theater. This is a charming and touching play by the masterful playwright, Horton Foote. Jean Lichty is the lovely lead.

Don't see it if If you know and love Foote's work, you will have a memorable experience. Don't like Foote's work? Well, look elsewhere for theater magic.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you enjoy wonderful character studies. I enjoyed watching the plot unfold of these small town characters. Very talented cast.

Don't see it if you want lots of action and powerful dialogue. I enjoyed the realism of this play. It doesn't blow you away, it just make you an observer.

Funny, Great acting, Slow

See it if if you like plays by Horton Foote - even though it is not one of his best - it still it had a nice story with interesting characters.

Don't see it if if you need to see fast moving plays that have huge profound ideas.

Enchanting, Intelligent, Romantic, Slow, Warm

See it if I enjoyed basking in the warmth of these characters and their southern hometown.

Don't see it if The script or maybe the acting was unconvincing in spots.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Riveting, Slow

See it if you enjoy an engrossing story with interesting characters, each with their own issues, complexly interacting.

Don't see it if you don't like Horton Foote or shows that take their time to develop.


See it if for a low key southern drama. Not a lot of action, but interesting and engaging character interactions. Very good acting carry this show.

Don't see it if you want an action packed play. Don't go unless you like character studies.

Slow, Dated, Sweet, Melodramatic, Cultural snapshot

See it if Are a Fan of Foote's work. Like a sweetly told tale of small town Texan melodrama.

Don't see it if You are easily perturbed by uneven accents (not accurately Texan). Need action and elaborate production values.

Disappointing, Slow, Old-fashioned, Just not a great work

See it if on a hot summer afternoon you need to slow down and sip a verbal lemonade for 90 minutes.

Don't see it if You need meaningful dialogue that doesn't make you feel you're doing charity work in a old peoples' home.

Romantic, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy Horton Foote's sleepy approach to unfolding relationships in 50s Texas. Good acting, good directing - time well spent.

Don't see it if You want fast action, a snappy comedy, etc. Foote has a style, and that is very present here; a slow paced, small town, character study.

Romantic, Slow, Well acted, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you enjoy Horton Foote. The pacing is leisurely.

Don't see it if you expect top-notch Horton Foote writing. This is not as good as The Trip to Bountiful, but still quite enjoyable.

Great acting, Refreshing, Disappointing, Dated, Fluffy

See it if I enjoyed this sweet and simple revival. Angelina Fiordellisi's great performance transported me.

Don't see it if Although it may be perfectly suited for the production, the set was a big turnoff to me. It felt a bit like community theatre at times.

Great acting, Intelligent, Predictable, Excellent direction, Perceptive writing

See it if you like stories about small town folks with perceptive insights into people trying to cope with their conditions and superb acting.

Don't see it if you dislike stories that focus on the minutia of everyday problems and is somewhat predictable.

Funny, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You like Horton Foote,shows about relationships, good acting,especially the roll of Missues Mavis

Don't see it if You want to see something lighter or a musical

Absorbing, Great acting, Slow, Dated, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy Horton Foote's plays about real people and real problems. The acting and direction are excellent.

Don't see it if you want an up to date story. The theme of this play has been done many times since Horton Foote wrote "The Traveling Lady" in 1955.

Also Seeing the play was like spending a delightful time with good people.

Great acting, Slow, Great staging, Intimate, Gentle

See it if you'd like to see a slice of small town life portrayed gracefully

Don't see it if you don't like slow moving stories of the past

Great acting, Great writing, Slow

See it if You can appreciate Horton Foote's work. This is not his best. Many in the cast give super performances.

Don't see it if If you can't deal with slooww performance. If you've never seen Foote's work before.

Worth a trip, y'all

See it if Foote's writing again ensnares the audience. Southern charm and rhythm is pleasant to experience. Fantastic set design; even glowing bugs.

Don't see it if You need medium to fast pace and modernity.

Also Plot is so minimalist, really everyone’s reaction to title character's... Read more Read less