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“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
"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
“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
"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
“'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
"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
"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
"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
“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
“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 performers...do 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
“Despite some really good writing, ‘The Violin’ has several problems. It’s top heavy (Act I)–in need of editing...Gio...is 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
"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
“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
“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
"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
“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
“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
"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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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
See it if You like a good plot that makes you hold your breath for a character who captures you.
Don't see it if You’re not in the mood for something serious, dramatic at times. You’ll have a few smart laughs, but you’ll ponder life’s decisions mostly.