New York | 1h 5m | Already closed

The Wholehearted

From 9 critic and 16 member reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Great acting, Great singing, Absorbing, Entertaining

About the show

Abrons Arts Center presents this New York premiere solo show that offers spectators a ringside seat to a blood-pumping revenge tragedy and intimate tribute to lost love.  More…

Once a championship boxer, Dee Crosby was taken down in her prime by her own husband. Now that Charlie is freshly released from prison for her attempted murder, Dee is hell-bent on revenge, no matter the cost. But only Dee's true love, Carmen, can provide her with redemption. Featuring pulse-pounding cinematic design and an original rockabilly score.

The New York Times

"A fast-jabbing fantasy where sweaty physicality rubs up against shape-shifting surreality...Holum gives a clear and lithe performance, and the production design is excellent. But the show as a whole feels skimpy and incomplete, touching too briefly on too many charged elements and allowing too little space for Holum’s winsome humor to break through. For all the kinetic energy of the staging, the story seems stalled...on the verge of action but not taking it just yet." Full Review

Time Out New York

"The play provides a chance to marvel at Holum's technical precision, and her ability to move quickly to extraordinary heights of emotion...Thematically, the creators are asking us to meditate on the varieties of self-destruction. But practically, they're asking us to watch a woman swap accents and punch herself out—a staging choice that sometimes sails past tragedy and crashes into the rocky shores of absurdity. It's a fight even Dee can't win." Full Review

Plays to See

"A messy look at one woman's rags-to-riches journey...An odd, jumbled piece interspersed with musical numbers that don't quite fit...The transitions can be clunky and even confusing as Holum moves between personas...Holum has ferocious energy and can bring emotion and humor to the fantastic songs and the performance, but this reviewer overall found the piece to be lacking in cohesion and message." Full Review


for a previous production "The most intensive and honest character presentation I have seen in a long time...These two brilliant women obviously work together symbiotically, drawing on over a decade of experience...I am sure 'The Wholehearted' is on its way to win even more awards given the incredible talent of these two most creative people...I hope it returns to Los Angeles again soon to entice even more people into Dee Crosby's tale told with skill and heart by Suli Holum." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

for a previous production "It is only 65 minutes in length, but co-director and playwright Deborah Stein asks a lot of questions about boxing, domestic abuse and unfulfilled desires. There's a lot to take in during the one-woman show. Yet, she accomplishes her goals with growing intensity...Occasionally, the use of video is excessive...Holum is so compelling to watch that her amorous speeches don't need the extra visuals...A well-crafted and cerebral story. Be prepared for a complicatedly dark character study." Full Review

San Diego Union-Tribune

for a previous production "One of the most effective aspects of this multimedia-rich show is the way it elucidates the sometimes blurred boundaries between her public and private personas...The two pack a lot into the hourlong, time-hopping play, including country and rockabilly-inflected songs that Holum sings with a soulful passion...There are a lot of thematic threads here that can wind up feeling like loose strings...The play, though, nails the exploitive way Dee has been turned into a commercial product." Full Review

Los Angeles Times

for a previous production "Sometimes the various formats are woven together into a dazzling tour de force...For all its high-tech, cutting-edge flair, the true pleasure of 'The Wholehearted' is of an old-fashioned sort: Holum’s fearless, fierce, vulnerable performance...The script might benefit from more nuance...The play is so eager to show us the irony in Dee’s story, that it overplays its hand at times. But Dee’s tender recollections of Carmen form the beating heart of 'The Wholehearted.'" Full Review

San Diego Reader

for a previous production "Although there’s a sag in the middle, the 65-minute, deliberately hectic piece runs at a 'Breaking News' clip. The quick nonlinear jumps are a strength and a weakness, since they gloss over key information, as if the audience already knew the story...'Wholehearted' has the feel of a work-in-progress, but an important one and definitely worth seeing for its myriad means of communication, and for Suli Holum’s boldly honest, quintuple-skilled performance." Full Review

Stage Raw

for a previous production "An intense, ambitious work in need of finessing...As the feisty Dee, working out in the gym, Holum has power and presence to spare. The problem comes when she’s depicting the other characters, Carmen and Charlie—her transitions are not crystal clear, and the narrative suffers...A very busy production—effective in depicting the forces arrayed against its tough yet vulnerable central character, but requiring some tidying up in its moment-to-moment staging." Full Review

Absorbing, Clever, Intense

See it if You like non-linear theater with an interesting point of view with music

Don't see it if You don’t like sports, singing, or one person shows.

Energetic, Absorbing, Ambitious, Disjointed

See it if you are drawn to staged versions of real-life stories that chronicle a person's struggles and victories. Suli Holum as Deb is mesmerizing.

Don't see it if you dislike solo performances, multimedia productions and stories that involve emotional pain.

Also Suli Holum has a lot of talent and it shows, from sharply believable b... Read more Read less

Gritty, Soulful, Dizzying, Masterful, Resonant

See it if Champion lady boxer grapples with life after her attempted murder. Will her desire for revenge or love win out? Unique staging & musicality

Don't see it if You wouldn’t like a non-linear solo virtuoso performance. Confusing tone matches the struggle of the character. Some violence and nudity.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Great staging, Great singing

See it if This production is highly energetic. The actress impeccably tells her story,shifting from boxing, to singing or videotaping herself.

Don't see it if You don’t like one person shows, great singing and acting or is homophonic.

Entertaining, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you like psychological drama

Don't see it if you're looking for a lot of plot development

Ambitious, Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You like one- person shows, great acting and singing.

Don't see it if You're looking for a cohesive plot you can follow easily.

Also Definitely felt like the piece could use some work... started out slow... Read more Read less

Confusing, Entertaining, Stimulating

See it if you like not knowing what’s coming next, unfamiliar subjects (this doesn’t resemble any boxing movie I know of)

Don't see it if you need to feel confident that you’re reacting appropriately

Also I didn’t realize this was a solo musical, so this baffled me…but not i... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Clever, Confusing

See it if Like a tone poem of a play -- it's a one woman musical about violence. Really interesting use of video and documentary footage.

Don't see it if Felt like sort of a wash, the experience of watching it was much like the closed circuit televisions. I felt emotionally cut off from it.

Good singing, Good acting, Not very inventive writing

See it if You like one women shows with uninventive storyline But pretty good acting and singing

Don't see it if You’re sleepy

Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you love strong female performers

Don't see it if you dont want to be on the edge of your seat

Great acting, Ambitious, Great staging, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if you like inventive staging and storytelling, affecting stories and strong solo performances.

Don't see it if solo performances are not your thing, you prefer a more linear plot, or you are uncomfortable with homosexual themes.

During previews
Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Great singing, Masterful

See it if You enjoy one women shows with a complex story of love, abuse and overcoming challenges. Physical, mental and emotional ride through life

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy 1 women show, mixed media performance or portrayed physical violence

During previews
Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Intense, Great use of multi-media

See it if you want an experience that effectively uses multi-media to create an additional dimension of meaning, raising the bar on use of technology.

Don't see it if you don't like one woman shows and prefer linear, traditional story lines

During previews
Clever, Great singing, Great acting, Different

See it if You want to see a creative one-woman play about an interesting topic.

Don't see it if You want fast-paced action.

Also It’s only a little over an hour but even so starts out slowly and coul... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Relevant, Intelligent, Great singing

See it if You enjoy performance art multi media style shows that are basically one person shows (actor and camera operator). Topic is relevant.

Don't see it if You want a smooth easy to follow show with a clear narrative from start to finish. Some high points like the singing help this along.

During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging, Edgy

See it if you enjoyed the film "Million Dollar Baby" & a female's boxing career arc. If you like solo shows, non-linear plot, multi-media enhancements

Don't see it if you don't like plays with lots of flashbacks or edgy domestic violence themes or a bi-sexual protagonist who misses her first girlfriend.

Also Actress SULI HOLUM does an excellent job bringing boxer Dee Crosby to ... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (10)