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The Violin

From 18 critic and 44 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Entertaining, Slow, Clever

About the show

The Directors Company presents the world premiere of this drama about three guys who find a valuable instrument in the back seat of a NYC cab.


When Bobby, Terry, and Gio—two hapless brothers and an elderly broke tailor—find a 1710 Stradivarius violin worth $4 million in the back of a New York City taxi, it looks like an opportunity to change their fortunes. However, this shot at their dreams means some quick decisions testing loyalty and family ties with irrevocable consequences. Starring Broadway veteran Robert LuPone ('A Chorus Line,' 'The Sopranos.')


“And as it proceeds to unfold, delivering one powerful punch and surprise after another, ‘The Violin’ does not disappoint. Imagine seeing ‘American Buffalo’--one of David Mamet's finest plays--for the first time. But given allusions to an amputated foot and other atrocities in ‘The Violin,’ you're more apt to think of gory plays by Conor McPherson than David Mamet, and that's equally appropriate--they're both, at their best, great storytellers.” Full Review


"An intriguing play...The show features the finest staging and superior acting…The story is a thought-provoking portrayal of the choices that people make and how these choices touch their lives. ‘The Violin’ has a cast of accomplished actors that completely master their roles. The characters are distinctive and perfectly portrayed…They capture the drama, humor and the suspense of this very original story…‘The Violin’ is a play that you will remember long after the curtain call." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"The play has the nuanced feeling of plays by Shepard and Inge. The characters here are lonely, frightened, broken, and seemingly bereft of moral strength...Under Discher’s competent direction, the three actors navigate the treacherous terrain...Each character is forced to come to terms with his choices in the past and in the present. Whether that results in repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation is not clearly answered and the edge of moral ambiguity remains sharp." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“A provocative drama...All three actors are excellent and the scenes play out with rapid-fire dialogue. It’s talky, but the constant banter is a necessary means to a strategic end and gives the audience great insight into the personalities of the diverse, troubled men on stage. Joseph Discher’s direction is excellent, ensuring that the dialogue avoids being heavy-handed or preachy and is, instead, engrossing and wise." Full Review

Stage Buddy

“The relationship between the two brothers is intelligently explored...McCormick has that rare knack of being able to insert moments of genuine comedy that are perfectly timed within the sincerest of moments, yet don't take anything away from the gravitas of the scene. Discher seems to have tapped into the crux of the themes and nuances of the story, providing keen direction that never looks forced or unnatural…All in all, a gripping piece of theater not to be missed.” Full Review

Berkshire Fine Arts

"McCormick rounds words and ideas and successfully draws three rich, contrasting characters. Joseph Discher directs to maximize the language and keeps and brisk pace...Giovanni, nicknamed Gio, is magnificently captured by Robert LuPone...Do we do wrong things to help our families, and right things that have wrong elements? Of course. This is the tightrope on which rich human lives are led and 'The Violin' treads its own line in captivating and intriguing theater." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"There is something so touching about Dan McCormick’s new drama 'The Violin'...Robert LuPone instills a past that has almost been erased from New York City...Joseph Discher’s direction is subtle and layered, giving McCormick‘s words the cadence that sinks into your soul. In the end I cried over the sweetness of unconditional love, but also of a time gone by. I look forward to seeing where Mr. McCormick goes next." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“Although the theme is heavy, the bickering produces a lot of earthy humor and laughs…To tell more of this tale would be to give away too much...Suffice it to say, it’s complicated and you’ll be somewhat surprised. The story revolves around caring, a debt owed and paid, and the cost of it all. I must admit it’s a really tall tale of circumstances thrown together and hard to believe, but it’s a winning cast and makes its point. And you have to admire McCormick’s reaching imagination.” Full Review

Manhattan Digest

"There is quite a bit that is commendable about this character-driven piece about trust and loyalty. Although it strains credibility, it wins over the audience by the time the curtain falls...Director Discher has assembled a phenomenal cast here, each of whom deliver McCormick’s script with sincerity and gusto. What the play lacks in entire believability, it more than compensates with these attributes by spinning an entertaining yarn and leaving theatergoers with a night well spent." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“A fascinating tale of brotherly and pseudo-paternal love…The engaging and slightly predictable story of characters that are so desperate for some sort of salvation plays out with an authentic air and convincing attachment. It’s fairly clever and well put together…The performances are all excellent and relatable, even when they veer into the implausible…The direction and the pace never faltered until the touching (and slightly not surprising) finale.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"It's never dull, yet never really convincing...Still, 'The Violin' goes down much more easily that you might imagine, thanks to Joseph Discher's taut direction and three tightly coiled performances...There's nothing really wrong with 'The Violin,' aside from a certain predictability and a sense that it has been drawn from other plays rather than real life. In any case, it has been given a first-class production." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"These are familiar themes and there's a thrown-back quality to director Discher's production too...And the dramaturgy—dependent on anguished soliloquies about unrequited dreams and not-so-surprising revelations about the past—is a little timeworn too. But despite all this, I had a good time. And that's largely due to the committed performances from Bradbury, Isola and most especially Robert LuPone...They all chomp a bit on the scenery but it's fun to watch them do it." Full Review


"The plot does have a credibility problem. It's hard to believe that the brothers can actually drag Gio...into their ransom scheme—or the way that scheme plays out…Despite these major and minor flaws 'The Violin’ is bolstered by the beautiful performances…The hints McCormick drops like bread crumbs...too obviously telescope the high-drama surprise finale. And while that ending sacrifices credibility for melodramatic sentimentality, it does surprise and comes with a big bang." Full Review

Woman Around Town

“Despite some really good writing, ‘The Violin’ has several problems. It’s top heavy (Act I)–in need of the weakest character onstage…It doesn’t help that we don’t buy LuPone’s performance…Bradbury’s Bobby is well played…Isola delivers a marvelous Terry…Director Joseph Discher does a fine job indicating both emotional and the physical sides of the brothers’ relationship...The play didn’t get to me and should have." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“'The Violin' is about as old-fashioned, formulaic, and predictable as they come; it is straightforward naturalism without any of the fanciful, dreamlike incursions with which so many of today's playwrights like to distract us. The ending can be surmised at least two-thirds of the way through…The characters…are anything but consistent…There are too many times that the vastly experienced actors seem to be wearing signs saying, 'Look, I'm acting.'…'The Violin' is seriously out of tune.” Full Review

The New York Times

“Clumsily crafted, finely acted and, yes, high-strung drama…The crime-caper setup has some of the savor of early Mamet...But McCormick’s plotting, with its florid back stories and unsurprising revelations, is ploddingly predictable. And the dialogue is less than snappy…If such lines lack finesse, some of them are still fun to hear, and there’s pleasure in watching the actors attack the roles…But even capable actors can’t make this play plausible or mend the contrived and sentimental conclusion.” Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“Some very good acting, a couple of emotionally touching speeches, and an evocative set are not enough to cover up the numerous plot holes and overall sudsy narrative...The play unfolds amidst side stories that lead nowhere, quarrels....and a last-minute confession to justify a sacrifice worthy of a Bette Davis weepie…The their best with what they have been given to work with, but there simply is not enough for 'The Violin' to escape its discordant structure.” Full Review


“This tortured crime caper strains credulity...McCormick aims for Scorsese, but ends up hitting Dr. Phil…We can understand the appeal for actors looking for a challenge, but not even performers as watchable as LuPone, Bradbury, and Isola can save this show…A lost opportunity, an overwrought melodrama…A dull two hours. The only surprises come when we see just how shameless McCormick is in each successive contrivance, the last of which will leave you with a hearty (if unintended) chuckle.” Full Review

Great acting, Must see, Intense, Ihighlights disability compassionately!, Good original script!

See it if U want an unusual original play that has something to say about life choices with the finest acting & compassion for the mentally disabled.

Don't see it if U want a quick play that offers a simple story without finesse simply to cater to short attention spans. U can't appreciate dialogue.

Also A creative linear story with wonderful layers of plots & twists that m... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if meticulous character development. sensitive depiction of relationships

Don't see it if if you don't care about interaction of personalities

Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Must see

See it if If you like to see a well directed, beautifully written and acted Off-Broadway Show.

Don't see it if If you are into big Broadway productions. Other than that see it!

Suspenseful, gripping, Great acting, Riveting, Great writing

See it if you want to see a well written show with realistic characters whose personal failures/dreams affect them when finding a $4 million violin.

Don't see it if you are not a fan of plays about less than honorable characters with violent pasts who do less than the expected choices.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if A funny and touching show about love between siblings and a family friends secret.

Don't see it if You do not care for shows about the love between brothers and about oening up to your mistakes.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if New York City stories are your thing. Well written, directed and acted, this gem moves along at a nice pace with no words being wasted

Don't see it if You don't appreciate family, loyalty and stories involving ethical dilemmas

Great acting, Intense

See it if You want to see some astonishing acting from stage veterans in a high production value show.

Don't see it if You want to see a perfect script - it's interesting but occasionally a bit clumsily written and meandering.

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy engaging interesting work.

Don't see it if you dislike the violin.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy a good drama and excellent acting.

Don't see it if Some folks who were in the audience with me did not like it, but I really couldn't get a handle on why.

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if you like good acting in a comic/tragic realistic setting. Outstandingly acted by all three.

Don't see it if you can not stomach four letter words.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great sets, Great staging, Sweet

See it if you like slice of life stories from days gone by; you're interested in how choices influence lives for better or worse; brotherly love.

Don't see it if you're looking for fast action and fancy wordplay. This is a story about the intertwining of three lives over many years.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Rain man and his brother, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Gorgeous portrayal of a "special" man and his brother. Robert Lupone is the other character who integrates everyone in this scheme.

Don't see it if you don't like 3 actors in an intimate setting

Also The set was this old fashioned tailor shop that was 100 years old. It ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you like good acting and interesting script

Don't see it if predictable plots and family situations are not interesting to you.

Quirky, Clever, Edgy, Thought-provoking

See it if you like to see connections among the three actors played out; you like very good acting

Don't see it if you find ne'er do well characters difficult to appreciate

Ambitious, Great acting, Edgy

See it if Melodramatic plays are your thing. Good acting, too.

Don't see it if You like a quieter evening.

Great acting, Slow, Cliched

See it if you like plays about interesting characters - it has a great set and great acting

Don't see it if you dislike slow plays - the first act was incredible slow but the second act got much better.

Great acting

See it if you like to see a play where all 3 actors did excellent job especially robert lupone.

Don't see it if no down side...clever ending with a twist.

Great acting, Funny, Indulgent

See it if you want to see a show that is layered, complex, and hits on a variety of topics, from family to integrity to gentrification to love.

Don't see it if you would struggle with lots of yelling and fighting onstage (mostly verbal, though occasionally a little more physical).

Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Enjoy a mixed bag of plots and surprises combined with professional acting and set.

Don't see it if You want a theatre experience with no ethical impact and lots of music.

Entertaining, Absorbing, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if Enjoyable New York story. Good writing & acting.

Don't see it if You are bored with New York stories being made into plays.

Dated, Entertaining, Cliched, Slow, Great staging

See it if you like something light, simple and straightforward

Don't see it if you prefer more depth and less predictability

Clever, Entertaining, Slow

See it if you would enjoy a show about 3 men who find a valuable violin in the backseat of a NYC taxi. What to do? Very interesting and worth seeing.

Don't see it if you want something traditional, this is not your show. Story is very contemporary and might not appeal to everyone.Good writing. Slow moving

Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you like great sets.This is so cliched and hackneyed that it is painful.The acting is uneven, the writing predictable,the plot dull.

Don't see it if you want a show that moves quickly, has something to say, expands your world.It's full of plotholes.A lot of people enjoyed it. I did NOT

Banal, Dated, Great acting, Intense, Old fashioned

See it if you like string male acting, family drama and traditional NY ethnic characters (Italian/Irish), and don't mind the F word

Don't see it if you're looking for contemporary writing or plotting

Bad writing. good acting.

See it if you must.

Don't see it if you want it to be good and absorbing.

Cast & Creatives (11)