The True
82

The True NYC Reviews and Tickets

82%
(132 Reviews)
Positive
91%
Mixed
6%
Negative
3%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

About the Show

Edie Falco ('Nurse Jackie') stars as Dorothea “Polly” Noonan, the blunt, profane, decades-long defender of Albany’s Democratic Party machine in Sharr White’s fiery return to The New Group.

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Member Reviews (132)

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78
Entertaining, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if Falco is incredible. What a performance. Great, relevant story.

Don't see it if Unfortunately, the plot at points skips abruptly​ to subplots both unnecessary, confusing and jarring. Read more

78
Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy stories with strong female characters. Falco is excellent & is given great material to flex her acting chops.

Don't see it if You dislike shows set with a political backdrop. However there is a lot more to this story.

Critic Reviews (38)

The New York Times
September 20th, 2018

"Put some snappy dialogue, a bit of skulduggery and a stellar cast led by Edie Falco in one end and get a damn good time out the other...Whenever Ms. Falco is bringing these themes to the fore, especially in her scenes with rival politicians played by Mr. Fitzgerald and John Pankow, 'The True' is riveting...But in Polly’s more domestic scenes, with Peter and Corning, the play sometimes bogs down...The lack of drama — or rather the subduction of it — may be what’s most interesting here."
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Time Out New York
September 20th, 2018

"It's not really about politics; it's about the people behind them, specifically Noonan: a fierce and profane defender of the party and politico she adores...Because the play is set when Corning's career was on the wane, it's hard to understand what Noonan sees in him...But the play's biggest scandal is its flip-flopping tone, which careers from quippy comedy to political thriller to sentimental nomance. But though 'The True' sometimes seems falser than fiction, Falco is consistently thrilling."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
September 20th, 2018

"'The True' is essentially a gift to its lead actor, a series of tough, satisfying arias, spiked with profanity and humor and just enough vulnerability, fashioned to let a performer like Falco shine...White’s dialogue is audibly fun to speak, and often peppered with political observations that feel meaty and real. I won’t call it prescient; more accurately, it’s more well-observed."
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The Hollywood Reporter
September 20th, 2018

“The provocative real-life political subject matter would seem rich in dramatic potential, but the playwright fumbles the ball with endless scenes featuring rambling, mundane dialogue. There's little narrative momentum, and the...relationship between Corning and Noonan feels banal at best...The constant use of obscenity for cheap comic relief gets old fast...Elliott's flat direction doesn't help...Falco is an acting force of nature...and she's ably supported by the fine ensemble.”
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Variety
September 20th, 2018

"In his laser-focused view, White shows us exactly how machine politics works without taking a moral position on the patronage system on which it’s based. His only false step is the character of Bill McCormick, a bland young man...Anyone who has ever been involved in a political campaign should find this play enthralling. Everyone else in the room can marvel at the ferocity of Falco’s performance and the passion of her character."
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AM New York
September 20th, 2018

“The play relies upon long-winded scenes that often turn flat and tedious, stressing the same points repeatedly. Nevertheless, it provides an ambivalent, even sympathetic examination of an unapologetically crooked system of politics and the limited opportunities and severe risks for women who wanted to be involved...Falco brings plenty of comic flair, vigor and raw emotion to the role, which compensates for the play’s slow points.”
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NY1
September 20th, 2018

"A beautifully-acted drama about the real-life relationship between a longtime mayor of Albany and his closest aide...Falco's nuanced portrayal of this scrappy woman is quite stunning...The rest of the company is equally talented...Some may find 'The True' rather dense, delving perhaps too deeply in the political weeds. But the bravura company directed by Scott Elliott produced a terrific character study of New Yorkers we should know and remember."
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Theatermania
September 20th, 2018

“Elliott's elegant period production feels undeniably relevant while firmly rooting its aesthetic in 1977...Falco's Noonan is hard not to love. Ruthless, smart, and unfailingly funny, she's the kind of fabulous that makes you want to shout 'yaaasssss,' only to feel guilty about it later...Feels particularly timely following NY’s recent primary elections. The name Cuomo is uttered late in the script, giving New Yorkers the opportunity to ponder the role dynastic politics play in our state.”
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BroadwayWorld
September 21st, 2018

“While ‘The True’ has a solid foundation and a valuable story to tell of a woman who influenced power in a time when she couldn't claim it for herself, the dialogue could stand a bit of sharpening and the scenes could use a bit of editing. Director Scott Elliott mounts a fine production, but it's the chemistry between Falco, McKean and Scolari that keeps things interesting as they play out the emotional complexities of marriage and politics.”
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Lighting & Sound America
September 28th, 2018

“The pleasure of seeing Falco disappear into the role of Polly Noonan is the greatest of many offered by White's salty, bracing comic drama about politics...’The True’ starts out like a standard political melodrama, but White is interested in Polly's sui generis position in a nearly all-male power structure...Falco, who, given the best role she has had in perhaps twenty years, creates an indelible, indomitable political survivor.”
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Talkin' Broadway
September 20th, 2018

“The play itself suffers from a degree of choppiness. Some characters show up long enough to make a point, and then disappear until the next time they are needed, if at all. These individual scenes play well, but they also break the flow, and the political vs personal stuff that ought to provide the dramatic tension is underserved. Yet the acting, especially Falco's mesmerizing performance, is so thoroughly compelling as to render the structural flaws pretty much moot.”
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New York Stage Review
September 20th, 2018

"White has made her credible as both a member of her generation and an example of how superficially women are still judged, and under Scott Elliott’s sensitive direction, Falco embraces all her vulnerability and fortitude, with typically unmannered intelligence and wit...Polly also thinks, and fights, quite adroitly in both cases. To its great credit, 'The True' insists that we not see these pursuits as contradictory, in women or generally."
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New York Stage Review
September 20th, 2018

"All the did-they-or-didn’t-they buzz surrounding Polly and Erastus gets really old really quickly...It’s nowhere near as interesting as Polly’s relationship with her husband, Peter (Peter Scolari, underplaying beautifully). Or as Polly’s sparring with political foes such as would-be party leader Charlie Ryan (John Pankow)...Mostly, we’re left wanting to know much more about Polly herself."
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TheaterScene.net
September 27th, 2018

"The problem with the elegant production now at The Pershing Square Signature Center is its total lack of tension both in the writing as well as in the direction. Lives and careers are at stake, personal feelings are wounded, elections are on the line but you would never know it from the leisurely pace of the play. White's structure doesn't help: set mainly in a series of Albany living rooms, the play is made up of two-character conversations that go round and round the same topics."
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Theater Pizzazz
September 20th, 2018

"Once again, Edie Falco rules whether on stage, film or television as a force to be reckoned with. Even more challenging for an actor, since Polly Noonan is not fictional, Falco played her so vividly, it felt like she created her. Under Scott Ellis’ direction, this fine cast rises to the occasion. However, does Sharr White’s latest offering, which can be trying at times in its wordiness, offer any new insights or is it strictly meant to be a slice of time that reminds us that very little changes?"
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CurtainUp
September 20th, 2018

"Falco makes the most of this fine vehicle for showcasing her acting chops live rather than on screen. But, given the subject, can even Ms. Falco, her very able colleagues and the New Group's Artist Director Scott Elliott's fluid direction make a play about Albany machine politics back in 1977 really fresh and exciting?...Well, despite being a bit dated and too talky, yes."
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Front Row Center
September 21st, 2018

“White’s riveting new play...Is based on real people and real events...The relationships between the three main characters, Erastus, Polly, and her husband Peter are fascinating, extremely well drawn, and powerfully portrayed by the performers...Falco gives us another award worthy performance...The last scene between her and McKean is a breathtaking, heartbreaker of words not said, but meanings clear. She’s also got impeccable comic timing."
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Front Mezz Junkies
September 21st, 2018

"It’s clear from the first few moments...that we are in the presence of some truly gifted actors in the prime of their game...But the true powerhouse of the evening, without a doubt, is...Polly...played heroically by the utterly brilliant Falco...Directed with a detail for direction and preciseness...The piece shuffles along deliciously, mainly because of Falco’s blowout performance...‘The True’ is an actor’s dream, and the three leads rise to the level.”
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Exeunt Magazine
September 21st, 2018

“Falco brings nuance and passion to her role of political fixer in a play that could use more spark...The dialogue tends to meander, robbing the play of much momentum. A story about keen political minds should be itself sharp, but the pace here is closer to domestic drama...The political drama is far more engaging...Elliott’s leisurely direction feels all wrong...Noonan probably deserves a more vibrant, passionate play than this one. But in the meantime, at least we have Edie Falco."
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Broadway Blog
September 20th, 2018

"Mr. White’s bristling play 'The True,' directed with razor-sharp precision by Scott Elliott and featuring knockout performances, delivers a firmly grounded sense of place and time and simultaneously illuminates broader themes of intimacy and power...'The True' also offers an unspoken commentary on the era’s socio-economic and feminist blueprint."
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C
September 21st, 2018

"As she has long shown on stage and television, Falco can effortlessly project fire and ice, sometimes both within seconds, and never fails to find the hidden layers of the flawed women she's asked to play. Here, she delivers the kind of riveting, tour-de-force performance that basically makes 'The True' worth the price of your ticket."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
September 27th, 2018

"Sharr's swiftly spoken, exquisitely gritty, colloquial dialogue captures all the raw force of gloves-off political…squabbling. The intricacies of Albany's political culture-with its Democratic machine, committeemen, ward leaders, patronage, corruption, and so on-are limned with surgical precision, and the stakes for each participant couldn't be more vividly expressed…Flawlessly matches the ensemble to its material, creating a production of exceptional honesty…But this is Edie Falco's show."
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DC Theatre Scene
September 20th, 2018

"Falco can make almost any show more engaging than it would otherwise be, even a relatively sedate one like 'The True,' with scenes of arguments, strategy sessions and deal-making...Here, leading a spot-on seven-member cast, Falco is entertaining and believable...'The True' is more or less true...Such knowledge should help to win over theatergoers who are not die-hard students of politics to a play that they might otherwise see as largely uneventful."
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Gotham Playgoer
September 20th, 2018

"Offers a wonderful vehicle for Edie Falco’s return to the New York stage. For many, including me, that is sufficient reason to celebrate...Sharr has a flair for snappy dialogue, but resorts to shouting matches a bit too often...The depiction of how little opportunity there was for a strong woman in 1977 politics reveals one aspect of the down side of that era...Scott Elliott directs with assurance. It’s not a wonderful play, but it’s quite entertaining."
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The Wrap
September 20th, 2018

"Polly is a powerhouse character that is marvelously performed by Falco and written by White. Unfortunately, she often merely marks time in 'The True' because 1) the characters around her are such ciphers, and 2) it is 2018 and there are a few major political scandals taking place in real time...When any hour of MSNBC is more compelling than what’s happening on stage, your play is in trouble...Polly’s scheme to get Corning re-elected is dramatically limp."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
September 22nd, 2018

"Another case in which the excellence of the acting surpasses the level of the play. This New Group presentation is sharply directed by Elliott and the cast grasps one’s attention. But how excited can one get about the subject of local political maneuvering around a 1977 mayoral primary in Albany?...Although everyone in the cast is good...the play drags a bit here and there. Yet no problem can overshadow the dynamism of Edie Falco’s acting achievement.”
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T
September 22nd, 2018

"While there are occasional brief fireworks...the tension does not reach the excitement level...The fact that Polly is played by the brilliantly intense Edie Falco is a great help to the evening, but despite a searing, quicksilver performance...she cannot save the work from its lack of momentum and drive...Elliott turns in a proficient job of staging, getting the most bang for White’s limited buck...A strong star part for one of our finest actresses, but a weak vehicle to propel her."
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Stage Left
September 23rd, 2018

"So much of the play’s interpersonal drama amounts to a nothing burger...Edie Falco is fiercely magnetic as real life, foul-mouthed political operative Polly Noonan, but the play itself is rarely compelling and suffers from sedentary staging and unrealistic expository conversations that explain complex—and fundamentally uninteresting—political dynamics."
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BlogCritics.org
September 25th, 2018

“’The True’ succeeds on many levels: the fascinating characters, the acting, the directing. Though the individuals are factual, White teases out the emotional tenor between and among the Noonans and Corning II. Importantly, the playwright depicts an incredible force in Noonan. And Falco portrays her with that particularity inherent in one who is wise, ferocious, logical, politically savvy, and street smart...The production is a must-see for Falco’s dogged portrayal."
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Newsday
September 21st, 2018

“White has meticulously researched this intriguing drama, but never for a minute did it seem anything but real — and director Elliott makes it as entertaining as an episode of ‘House of Cards’...Some may consider this dry docudrama, but political junkies will be riveted by Falco's gritty, earthy Polly, wheeling and dealing for all she's worth...The play ends as it began, with the three main characters back in the living room, sitting in wordless contemplation.”
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W
September 22nd, 2018

"It's a rich, imagined look at the local Albany Democratic machine told through the story of a woman who loves it...In actor Falco's hands, Polly Noonan becomes one of the great characters of the American stage...This play is still deeply relevant in an era when Albany corruption continues to be uncovered. It is also an extraordinary portrait of a woman who, in a different time, may have — like her granddaughter — become a political leader herself.”
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Stage Buzz
September 22nd, 2018

"'The True' falls rather flat. Clocking in at an hour forty-five, parts of the work still end up feeling bloated...On the plus side, Falco grabs and holds the spotlight as Polly...Unfortunately, Falco’s efforts are also hamstrung by the lackluster script...Feeling more like a novel one would read on a commute to kill time rather than a piece of theatre, 'The True' makes some interesting points; but other than a sterling performance by Falco, doesn't have that much to recommend it."
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StageZine
September 20th, 2018

“White’s new drama ‘The True’ takes electioneering to simpler but not gentler times...Elliott’s direction is fluid, thanks in large part to McLane’s easy transforming sets. White has delivered another entertaining evening in the theater but it is Falco’s stunning and galvanizing performance that you will remember for a long time. She truly embodies the adage of 'behind every successful man there is a strong woman.'"
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Show Showdown
September 24th, 2018

“There is much to like here: solid writing, smooth direction, and an amazing cast. But for all those strengths, I just didn't care...Falco gives an excellent performance, and you can't keep your eyes off her as she talks...Some of the political machinations are interesting. Some of the relationships look like they would be fruitful to explore. But as it stands, there is little reason to care about these characters, and the play ends up being about ploys rather than people.”
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T
September 20th, 2018

“This new play, directed by Scott Elliott...is similar to White’s earlier works...Here the focus is on the urban political machine in Albany, in the 1970s...White’s play, while based on historical figures, including Polly Noonan, who sustained her influence even though she never held office, mingles historical truth with fiction...Falco is a committed player. She doesn’t shy from the dirtiness of political game playing...The well-seasoned cast are all credible and engaging.”
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B
September 21st, 2018

“Falco is a tough talking Albany political figure in 1977...Falco wraps herself, and particularly her tongue, around a barrage of curse words that make her sound like political operative Mary Matalin...Polly is the center of a triangle. The two men in her life, Erastus and her husband, hang on her apron strings. Falco has no trouble doing business in the kitchen...Our current hunger for explanations of how politics work finds an audience eager for the events unfolding on stage.”
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W
September 21st, 2018

"A fascinating play centering about Albany politics, circa 1977. It’s a rich, insightful work that uses a complicated, personal relationship to illustrate how machine politics operate...White is able to take the potentially dry topic of the day-to-day operations of a political machine to create a compelling story. He explores and expands individuals who devote their lives trying to make machine politics work...The acting is inspired...Elliot’s direction and pacing of the play is near-perfect."
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Escape Into Life
September 20th, 2018

"While 'The True' doesn’t venture far or deep enough, its tale of upstate New York politics in the 1970s, with terrific performances by lead Edie Falco, and a veteran supporting cast, involves and entertains us for nearly two hours of intermissionless theater...The acting is a godsend to the play and production...Elliott’s direction is on the standard side, with a predictable triangular set-up for most scenes...A well-handled, mostly satisfying work."
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