The Woodsman
Closed 1h 15m
The Woodsman
86

The Woodsman NYC Reviews and Tickets

86%
(279 Reviews)
Positive
92%
Mixed
7%
Negative
1%
Members say
Enchanting, Clever, Original, Great staging, Absorbing

About the Show

New World Stages presents a return engagement of Strangemen & Company's highly theatrical retelling of the story of the Tin Man from 'The Wizard of Oz.'

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Member Reviews (279)

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75
Enchanting, Clever, Great staging, Inventive, Romantic

See it if you respond to beautiful images. The simple, heartwarming story is told almost entirely without words. Clever use of props.

Don't see it if you are mostly drawn to words. My attention wandered a bit. Mostly, though, I enjoyed the stunning, haunting beauty. Read more

85
Enchanting, Great staging, Romantic, Beautiful

See it if Beautiful choreography, staging, lighting. Masterful puppetry. Romantic fairy tale. Whimsical, poetic. Bring a date!

Don't see it if you are not ok with mostly mimed action. Could use less grunting to emote happy feelings.

Critic Reviews (29)

The New York Times
February 21st, 2016

"This is a more assured production than the one I saw a year ago, and the encompassing visual lushness of its environment is new. But a fundamental stumble still keeps it from fully blossoming to life...Mechanics get in the way of fantasy, though, at a crucial point...Just when we want the play to move us, there’s a frantic muddle instead. That long sequence contains the key to the story’s heart, and this abundantly beautiful show still needs to find it."
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Time Out New York
January 20th, 2015

"Strangemen & Co.’s immersive and practically wordless adaptation of the writings of L. Frank Baum uses low-tech stagecraft like evocative Bunraku puppets, haunting vocal sound effects and a lone violinist to tell the backstory. Emotions are communicated through simple gestures, grunts and glances, not one wasted. Touching on mortality, futility and fate, 'The Woodsman' is a grown-up fairy tale that proves happiness is a worthwhile goal, even if it doesn’t last ever after."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
February 10th, 2016

"There’s not an unconsidered moment: Every element contributes, echoes, foretells. Many a production could benefit from Strangemen’s level of attention to storytelling detail. And yet I couldn’t help feeling that all this attention had been lavished on a story that resists being opened...'The Woodsman' does not raise dramatic questions for us in the way 'Into the Woods' does with similarly archetypal characters."
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The Hollywood Reporter
February 8th, 2016

"It tells the backstory of the Tin Man via movement, mime and puppetry, with only a short prologue verbally setting up the action. It achieves great impact with minimal means...The evocative mood is set even before the show begins and it's sustained beautifully throughout the virtually wordless piece...The narrative is diffusely conveyed at times, many of the individual sequences are vividly rendered."
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Variety
February 8th, 2016

"There’s a haunting beauty about this dark puppet show, created by James Ortiz, the writer, co-director, puppet master and star of the current production. This eerie prequel to “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' reveals how the Tin Woodman lost his heart — not to mention all his body parts — when the Wicked Witch of the East put a curse on his ax...The puppeteers are proficient and the effects are exquisite."
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Talkin' Broadway
February 8th, 2016

"Silence, precisely enough articulated, can indeed speak volumes. And it does, in 'The Woodsman,' the haunting, lovely, and unforgettable puppet-fairy-tale extravaganza. So well rendered is this astonishingly short but impossibly full show...On the few occasions when an actor does use his or her actual voice, you'll be amazed at what you've been missing—and how, against the odds, you haven't missed it at all."
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TheaterScene.net
February 15th, 2016

"This engrossing and magical 75-minute stage show uses mime, puppetry and music to tell its story...The talented cast of nine alternating as actors and puppet handlers enact their brief but eerie tale in this unusual format...It is a bit confusing as to what is happening since after the opening prologue there is no dialogue...However, the show is always theatrical, always hypnotic."
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CurtainUp
February 8th, 2016

"You're in for an unusual, immersive experience...A hauntingly beautiful, spectacularly imaginative adult theater piece...For all the eeriness and Nick Chopper's destiny as the tin man without a heart, 'The Woodsman' has its lighter, more heart warming than heart breaking moments...A show that is fueled by imagination and talent rather than multi-million-dollars invested in technical wizardry."
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Front Row Center
February 14th, 2016

"The story is told masterfully told...It has the theatrical precision of a Sondheim, the heart of a Tennessee Williams, and the drama of an Arthur Miller...The company quite literally breathes life into this production, and in that they are flawless...I had to wipe tears from my eyes because something so pure, simple, and honest occurred on the stage...See this once-in-a-lifetime theatrical experience."
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Stage Buddy
March 10th, 2016

"A prime example of theater that is bold precisely because it’s a bit old-fashioned...Part of what makes this company refreshing is their ambitious and rigorous approach...There were several moments in this production that reveal the fact that these are relatively nascent young artists...Hopefully, with time, this company will gain the confidence to quiet the inner critic that is overly concerned with making work that is understood rather than work that is felt and experienced."
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T
February 9th, 2016

"An inventive, magical journey empowered to be told with sparse dialogue, beautiful haunting music, ingeniously captivating puppets, and a remarkable cast that is able to embody and exude endless natural sounds and conjure up an array of heartfelt emotions...Do yourself a favor and luxuriate your senses in this impassioned production of 'The Woodsman.'"
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New York Theater
February 8th, 2016

"There is no question that it is heartfelt, and beautiful to look at; that James Ortiz is deeply talented; that the nine other performers are a dedicated ensemble, who even breathe as if one: We see their unified breath at both the beginning and the end of the show...Everything is tasteful and inventive, languid and lovely, and, to me, a tad tedious...It’s not their fault I left feeling like W.C. Fields, wondering if Toto’s origin story is next."
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Broadway Blog
February 12th, 2016

"Combining elegantly choreographed movement, sensitive music, imaginative puppetry, and a minimum of spoken language, it offers 70 uninterrupted minutes of theatre magic that can be enjoyed by both adults and children...‘The Woodsman’ is ensemble theatre at its best, but that doesn’t disguise the fact that in James Ortiz, a lanky young Abe Lincoln-type with a memorably unruly shock of hair, it has a special kind of genius at its helm."
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B
March 14th, 2016

"James Ortiz is a man of many talents. He is not only the playwright, but the set and puppet designer, co-director and star of this imaginative version of the back story of the Tin Man from 'The Wizard of Oz'...The play’s various elements blend seamlessly to produce an enchanted world. The use of puppets is the finest I have seen since 'War Horse'. If you are intrigued by inventive stagecraft, you will have a fine time. If you prefer your storytelling more conventional, you may be unhappy."
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Theater In The Now
February 15th, 2016

"Inspired by the story of the Tin Man, 'The Woodsman' is a beautiful reimagining of a beloved tale using puppets, song, and a whole lot of heart...Using very little dialogue, extraordinary puppets, a singular violin underscore, and an ensemble of superb storytellers, 'The Woodsman' is a reminder that anything is possible in theater...'The Woodsman' is a true example of ensemble. The nine piece company moved and breathed as one. And it was enthralling."
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WNBC
February 8th, 2016

"There’s precious little speaking in 'The Woodsman,' an achingly beautiful play combining puppetry and music that purports to explain how the Tin Man, from the Land of Oz, lost his heart...'The Woodsman' leaves us wondering if Nick will ever experience affection, but there’s no doubt he can feel pain. His guttural anguish after being reunited with Nimmee is full of humanity."
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On Stage Blog
February 8th, 2016

"It is an inventive, magical journey empowered to be told with sparse dialogue, beautiful haunting music, ingeniously captivating puppets, and a remarkable cast that is able to embody and exude endless natural sounds and conjure up an array of heartfelt emotions...It is pure, honest, human and a theatrical feast."
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As Her World Turns
April 12th, 2016

"'The Woodsman' is a lovely movement piece set to instrumental music; the actors play out each scene in imaginative ways using motion and puppetry, with very limited sets and props...The mood is set beautifully by the decor around the theater as well as through the haunting violin notes that accompany the actors throughout. It’s a magical 70 minutes at the theater."
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The Huffington Post
February 12th, 2016

"'The Woodsman' is theatre at its most basic and beautifully creative…'The Woodsman's' success isn't simply a result of good source material…Though the actors are all excellent storytellers, and the ensemble work is excellently executed, the stars of this show are three puppets...So go see this piece which has a great deal of heart, even before the Tin Man loses and finds his."
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Z
February 16th, 2016

"The acting is also what makes this show so special. The majority of the cast have been a part of the show since the creative process and/or in preceding productions. The fact that each actor knows their part inside and out results in an emotional performance...It is plain to see that there is something very special about 'The Woodsman'...The time and effort the cast and creative team has put into this show is obvious, which is why 'The Woodsman' deserves a long, long, long life."
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BackStage Barbie
March 3rd, 2016

"What could have been an ordinary prequel is actually an aesthetically rich piece of art that completely reimagines a land of Oz that is heavy on impulse and light on text...The skill exhibited by the performers is quite fascinating as you believe the puppets are alive without much suspension of disbelief. Directors James Ortiz & Claire Karpen create a full sensory experience. It is visceral."
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Plays to See
February 10th, 2016

"I went in expecting a skilled and unique telling of the origin story of the Tin Man and boy, does 'The Woodsman' deliver...Strangemen & Co breathes life into this dark story with spectacular Bunraku style puppetry and hauntingly beautiful original music...Be prepared to immediately want to dust off your copy of the 'Wizard of Oz' so that you may finally have the happy ending to this simultaneously heart-wrenching and heart-warming story."
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N
February 8th, 2016

"A dark dance-theatre exploration of love, loss and transformation...The production is a piece of theatre magic, woven from movement, sound design, lighting, props and the delicate accompaniment of violin. The puppets are magnificent...Directors James Ortiz and Claire Karpen breathed life into everything...Every detail of the production receives careful attention...'The Woodsman' offers us the best of several worlds plus puppets as interesting as those in 'War Horse' at Lincoln Center."
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The New York Times
January 20th, 2015
For a previous production

"The spectacle is handmade, infused with breath and light...With so many pieces well in place, it seems churlish to complain, but one significant flaw holds 'The Woodsman' back: The storytelling isn’t clear enough. The visual language can be muddled, and important bits are sometimes rushed. The performance lasts only an hour, and maybe that’s not long enough. By letting a few more moments linger, this show’s talented creators might just lodge 'The Woodsman' in our hearts."
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Theatermania
January 18th, 2015
For a previous production

"James Ortiz uses his many creative hats to weave a near-seamless story, told almost entirely without dialogue...Technically speaking, 'The Woodsman' is a well-oiled machine...The performers share a common breath as they collectively establish the show's meticulously designed rhythms. However, just as no measure is left un-choreographed, no moment is left without emotional intention, creating an efficient engine that powers a robust heartbeat."
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BroadwayWorld
February 6th, 2014
For a previous production

"From the get go, the environment of both the house and the stage enchants you: immediately, the audience enters the world of the show...Puppetry is used to create the witch, her band of crows, an forest monster, and each limb of 'The Woodsman' into his gradual transformation. The music is a combination of vocal harmonies and a lone fiddle player...The production is creative, entertaining, haunting, and beautifully tragic."
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Theatre is Easy
February 8th, 2014
For a previous production

"Voices like silk, transitions smooth as butter, and movements that breathe life into inanimate objects. All is present in this representation of the writings of L. Frank Baum, by James Ortiz. With an onstage violinist and Bunraku puppets the ensemble shines as a strong unit telling a simple story in a beautiful way. This unique performance is unlike others you might encounter, but in a wonderful way. It was unexpected and I did not want it to end."
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The Huffington Post
February 13th, 2015
For a previous production

"With a largely barebones set and even sparser dialogue, the unconcealed machinations of the puppetry bring an eerie otherworldliness to the figures on stage as they interact with the cast...The story of tragic love that unfolds feels like an folklore plucked from ancient oral history. When it ends by transporting the Tim Man to the beginning of Frank L. Baum's allegory, the shift is so jilting that, at a recent performance, an older man in the audience blurted out, 'Is that Dorothy?!'"
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New York Theatre Guide
February 10th, 2014
For a previous production

"'The Woodsman' is a movement piece with very little dialogue and enchanting music and puppetry...Ortiz enchants the audience’s imaginations with a more somber and realistic take on the once brightly colored and lollipop filled munchkin land. The Bunraku puppetry throughout the production is nothing short of astounding and despite the lack of dialogue the actors’ movements and expressions tell a genuinely beautiful and understandable story."
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