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The Young Man from Atlanta

From 247 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Dated, Slow

About the show

Danger waits just underneath the surface in Horton Foote’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama of an aging couple still reeling from the death of their only child. More…

From the show:

Set against the backdrop of a rapidly modernizing 1950s Houston, the Kidders' lives are turned upside down once again when a figure from their son’s past shows up in town. They deny, deflect and deceive in an effort to avoid the danger but can’t dodge the inevitable reckoning. How far will these grieving parents go to avoid the truths this young man from Atlanta might reveal? Director Michael Wilson (The Orphans’ Home Cycle, The Old Friends), the premier interpreter of Foote’s work, returns to Signature to to bring to life this beautiful, heartbreaking play that explores and dissects the American dream while revealing the depths we go to in order to keep ourselves safe.

Member Reviews (247)


Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Dated, Slow
Avg Score

Uneven, Slow, Great story, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Old fashioned play. Well acted and written. Not obvious. Keeps one guessing.

Don't see it if Some characters that lengthen the play but add next to nothing save for the run time.

Disappointing, Great staging, Great acting, Funny

See it if Well acted, well directed play with good lighting. If you like Horton Foote.

Don't see it if The play is inconclusive and leaves you wanting a finality. Play only scratches the surface.

Sad, Resonant, Funny, Intricate, Absorbing

See it if 60-y.o. couple struggles to move on after son's suicide and man's job loss. Poses questions about masculinity, love & money.

Don't see it if You are uninterested in characters struggling to navigate 1950's gender roles & attitudes. Slow, lingering scenes.

Also I liked the exploration on what it means to be a man. Multiple flawed ... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Slow, Good acting, Contrived, Dated

See it if u want to see Foote's inexplicable Pulitzer winner about secret lives, coping with modernity & loss (of life, career, dignity, money, trust)

Don't see it if u expect to meet Foote's Willy Loman or experience an important & impactful play from this prominent writer. [This is 2nd rate HF, at best]

Also This is a decent production of a half-decent play. There are many flaw... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Dated, Great acting, Resonant, Slow

See it if Galvanic performances from Quinn & Nielsen (w/an exquisite cameo from Bowie) help steady Foote's tonally shaky tale of quiet desperation

Don't see it if The melding of two major 20th century themes - downsizing & gay identity -never quite works & often feels forced despite a moving ending

Resonant, Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Entertaining

See it if you would like a view of post WW2 in America where business/work/wealth collides with the American dream home/family/death. Great costumes.

Don't see it if you do not like productions of the 190's that have a different pace and do not provide all the answers. Here you have to think for yourself.

Relevant, Slow, Overrated, Indulgent, Great staging

See it if you're a fan of Horton Foote & Michael Wilson's interpretation, curious as to how play won Pulitzer, like family sagas with secrets & denial

Don't see it if don't like slow-moving, obvious plot, you find Kirstein Nielsen annoying (she does fine), odd set (what with the doors?),or gay subtext

Dramatic, Traditional, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you enjoy excellent traditional dramas with clear plot points and themes that leave you thinking.

Don't see it if you prefer musicals or experimental work.

Very real, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you like a drama with great acting and wonderful writing. These are characters you can care about and relate to. I was very moved.

Don't see it if you like comedy or avant garde theater. This is a down to earth play done in a down to earth way.

Also Some of the characters are from the playwright's previous plays but th... Read more Read less

Pulitzer? no., Sub-par horton foote, Dated, Slow, Airless

See it if Love Foote even if work is lesser. This one inches up to look at son's homosexuality but then can't confront. Characters are one-note.

Don't see it if Want to be moved (you won't be), are ok w long plays that don't have much action, expect set/staging to make sense, are ok w miscast cast.

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You are a Horton Foote fan and love plays that take place in the 1950s. Aiden Quinn is a reason to see this play. Lots of twists and turns.

Don't see it if You expect a lot of action and a fast paced show. Foote takes time to develop his characters. It may be too slow for some.

Also Some family secrets are best kept under the carpet. These are the 1950... Read more Read less

Flat-footed (pun intended), Contrived, Dated, Overrated, Slow

See it if you are a Foote completist or a fan of the actors or if you are eager to find out why this play won a Pulitzer. It hasn't aged well.

Don't see it if you are expecting to see Horton Foote at his best as in The Trip to Bountiful, Dividing the Estate or The Orphans' Home Cycle.

Also I was disappointed when I saw the original production in 1995 and have... Read more Read less

Great character delevopment, Dances on edge of hysteria, Foote fine fettled, 50's suburban home drama, Gay subtext

See it if want 50s kitchen sink drama experience, like Horton Foote, Kristine Nielsen or Aidan Quinn -all excellent, desire slow reveal or none at all

Don't see it if don't like the Inge, Miller, Hellman etc school of playwriting, need tapping toes or full orchestra to enliven U, gay subtext drives U wild

Waste of time and talent, Bad sight lines, Dull, Badly directed, Dated

See it if you love old movies, if AMC is your go-to.Good actors, badly directed, giving weak performances.Plot should have touched me.It didn't.

Don't see it if you want a show that tells you something meaningful.This has a heart but never reveals it.It's all talk without letting us discover it. Yawn

Mostly very good acting, Slow, Resonant, Intelligent, Dated

See it if a Horton Foote fan & appreciate a leisurely paced period piece with a mid-20th century sensibility. Attractive set; Quinn & Bowie excellent

Don't see it if want something more modern & faster paced; expecting more from a Pulitzer Prize winning play.

Also Was disappointed in Kristine Nielsen, who I usually like a lot. Either... Read more Read less

A marvelously unspun darkly-comedic story that keeps you wanting more, Slightly-dated, Thought-provoking, Mysterious, atmospheric, & ambiguous, Wonderful performances and staging

See it if a semi-bleak, open-ended drama about buried secrets unspun again and again after the death of a couple’s son appeals; a fan of the actors.

Don't see it if expecting a tightly wrapped-up finale and total closure; need a more contemporary and shocking drama that doesn’t feel a tad musty.

Also A quiet, sinister atmosphere steals upon The Young Man from Atlanta. T... Read more Read less

Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a play from back in the day about a couple still dealing with the death of their son and other challenges.

Don't see it if You don't like plays from days gone by. You don't want to get a few laughs. You don't want to see some great writing, acting and staging.

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great acting, Superb writing, Masterful

See it if you enjoy plays about family dynamics, people under stress, in-depth characterizations, class issues, homosexuality & values done expertly.

Don't see it if you want light entertainment that is not sad and are distressed by seeing "real" people suffer as their lives fall apart.

Gay-ish, Resonant

See it if Changing times of masculinity / what it means to be a man when faced with hardships, like a gay son. Really felt the feels.

Don't see it if Suicide, death of a child, or homophobia are triggering.

Also Diversity: 2 Black women who play the maids and don’t pass the Bechtel... Read more Read less

Put me to sleep, Slow, Fluffy, Dated

See it if you are a fan of Horton Foote, or if you want to see how much the theatre writing has changed since this was written.

Don't see it if you don't care about Foote, or if family dramas are not your thing. This was like an Arthur Miller play turned inside out.

Slow, Disappointing, Dated, Cliched, Banal

See it if to experience naive perspective of post WWII aging middle class businessman and entitled Southern belle housewife in modernizing society

Don't see it if you prefer plays with definitive dramatic tension/climax/action/expression to repetitive chatter not enhancing plot/character development

Also Horton Foote’s collection of plays about the same characters might be ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if A period piece of the changed South and struggles of the ruling class.

Don't see it if You want a happy and cheerful play.

Ambitious, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a couple experience the disillusionment of their beliefs amid shattering self-realization. Some powerful acting.

Don't see it if the implicit comparisons to Death of a Salesman make this Pulitzer Prize winning play come in a distant second place.

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a classic play that explores the aftermath of parents who lose a son. His life is a mystery to them.

Don't see it if You like more modern plays but this play retains its effect after many years.

Also Aiden Quinn and Kristine Nielsen are excellent.

Resonant, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like well written stories with wonderful actors on stage to take you with them on this well told journey.

Don't see it if You want a happy go lucky play. This will leave you with deep feelings that you may not want to experience

November 24th, 2019
CRITIC’S PICK "A Heartbreaker Returns in ‘The Young Man From Atlanta’: The Signature Theater’s compassionate revival of Horton Foote’s 1995 Pulitzer Prize-winning play takes a slow route to devastation."
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November 24th, 2019
3/5 Stars: "Even the most fervent Horton Foote fan might be hard-pressed to explain the appeal, much less the Pulitzer Prize, of 'The Young Man From Atlanta.' The playwright was renowned for his delicate, layered storytelling, but this 1995 drama lays it on thick."
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November 27th, 2019
"‘An Unwanted Guest to be Thankful For: Signature Theatre’s new revival of Horton Foote’s work makes clear the play’s surpassing excellence."
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November 24th, 2019
"'The Young Man From Atlanta' and the Old Man From Houston: Signature Theatre revives a Horton Foote play that it premiered 24 years ago."
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Cast & Creatives (3)