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New York | 1h 40m | Already closed

Transfers

From 18 critic and 135 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

About the show

MCC presents this new drama about two gifted students from the South Bronx that asks: how do you break through a system designed to lock you out? More…

After two years at a local community college being coached by faculty members, Cristofer and Clarence are competing for a life-changing scholarship at an elite northeast university. During a campus visit, the young men are unexpectedly confronted with their shared past while trying to break through a system that seems designed to keep them on the outside. 

1h 40m | Already closed | Lucille Lortel Theatre (West Village)


95
Stage Left

"Blankson-Wood and Castano deliver rich, breakout performances...The clarity and power of Thurber's words are triumphant. Each character in the play is shown to be so much more than who we think they are, constantly challenging the audience...Painful, nerve-wracking, sad, and difficult, 'Transfers' is intensely ravishing and excruciatingly relevant-an urgent and important play, easily among the best of the season." Full Review

93
TheaterScene.net

"As directed by Jackson Gay, Lucy Thurber's 'Transfers' is both provocative and exhilarating theater. It also showcases two young actors who are great finds. Ironically, this is one of three plays this spring on education and the second on the unequal admissions process for American colleges and universities." Full Review

90
Theatermania

"Thurber's best play to date...Thurber has written very specific characters that are made all the more real by emotionally committed performances...Director Jackson Gay reels us in and riles us up with a taut, well-designed production...Better than any play from this season, 'Transfers' heartbreakingly exposes the unequal distribution of opportunity that we tell ourselves is based on merit." Full Review

90
Theater Pizzazz

"Thurber has written a very succinct play, filled with lots of humor-laden flowing dialogue that grabs your attention. And it is Gay's direction that makes these remarkable characters come to life. And they are first rate remarkable! But especially outstanding are Castano and Blankson-Wood who turn in solid, riveting and heart-rending performances." Full Review

85
Gotham Playgoer

"Interesting questions about readiness for college versus worthiness for college are raised. Ms. Thurber knows how to create vivid characters and write lively dialogue. The scenes occasionally run on too long...Nevertheless, the play fully engaged my interest. The actors are all fine, especially Mr. Castano, whose Cristofer is one of the most memorable characters I have seen on a New York stage this season." Full Review

80
Towleroad

"Thurber's resonant and thought-provoking new play...A finely calibrated production...Sheds welcome light on the roots of systemic inequality through the lens of distinctly individual human dramas...Thurber's nimbly assembled play echoes the application process, while allowing us personal insight into the people who make up the system...Thurber shows how slippery first impressions - and assumptions based on appearance - can be." Full Review

75
CurtainUp

"It's a worthy theme and Thurber has created solid portraits for the two young men...She's lucky to have two fine actors to portray them...The playwright is further blessed that Jackson Gay is on board to steer them...All these pluses almost overcome the playwright's too schematic storytelling, several credibility-stretching plot holes, and a somewhat too convenient personal back story. These flaws notwithstanding, Clarence and Cristofer's double journey does hold our attention." Full Review

75
Daily Beast

"Werle’s design is a standout element of Jackson Gay’s MCC production...The play raises urgent questions about fairness but the volume button on a few of the characters is ratcheted up far too high. The drama becomes blunted when it feels as if we are being shouted at...The tenderness and nuance of Blankson-Wood and Castano’s performances, when the boys are left alone to themselves, pondering some very heavy imponderables, give the play its most piercing depth." Full Review

75
Talkin' Broadway

"It strains credulity but it's a testament to Blankson-Wood and Castano that we're already hooked on where their story is going...Their understated performances, along with their interviewers Brown and Soule, also wonderful, make for compelling theatre about ideas seldom, if ever, talked about in plays...While not perfect, 'Transfers' takes Thurber in new directions in terms of subject matter and plotting, and her genuine affection for her deeply flawed characters shines through." Full Review

72
Front Mezz Junkies

"A lot to unpack in this compelling and engaging new play...It floats around a number of compelling arguments without ever managing to settle itself down...Feels a bit inauthentically structured...Reactions seem overblown, and revelations forced...The outcome seems obvious...The play hums along solidly and professionally, smoothly taking us to the moment that the main ideas will be hashed out by the three people in power...Never feels fully real, overstuffed with ideology." Full Review

70
Village Voice

"Of all the obstacles to understanding that divide the people in this bruised and bruising comedy - the most insidious may be class...A play about alternate worlds...Thurber has drawn these young men beautifully, but she cheats at writing David...The playwright also mars the end of her finest scene by imposing what seems to be her own voice, spelling out a lesson. Until then, it's a lovely duet between two people who grew up poor." Full Review

70
Exeunt Magazine

"One of those plays that almost exactly matches its succinct descriptor...With 'Transfers,' straightforward you will get...The humanistic dialogue, Thurber's strong suit, crackles with animation and hums along at the right speed, although it has a tendency to reward emotional hyperbole. More problematically, this paint-within-the-lines approach casts the play's point of view rather widely...'Transfers' curiously avoids a full exploration of its own character." Full Review

65
Lighting & Sound America

"If 'Transfers' is engrossing on a scene-by-scene basis, it doesn't completely add up to a satisfying drama...Under Gay's direction, the entire cast proves adept at charting the play's tricky emotional geography...Even in its awkward passages, 'Transfers' mordantly explores some of the class lines in our society, making it all too clear just how hard it can be to get ahead." Full Review

65
The New York Times

"'Transfers,' which has been assembled with obvious care and affection, would be a lot more convincing if its characters weren’t so prone to articulate fits of revelation...It often feels drawn from the yellowing pages of vintage American culture-clash dramas and topical 'Blackboard Jungle'-style films. The cast members work hard at overcoming the formulaic nature of their lines but are generally more persuasive in their moments of bristling silence." Full Review

65
New York Stage Review

"'Transfers' sputters somewhat during the opening expository passages, but it soon runs smoothly as the characterizations of these students come into brighter focus...What helps to fuel the drama is Blankson-Wood’s deeply-felt portrayal of Clarence and an especially blazing performance from Castano as Cristofer...Too bad that some of the other acting in 'Transfers' is spotty, but it’s not so terrible as to impede MCC Theater’s tidy production, which has been neatly staged." Full Review

60
Theatre's Leiter Side

“Overwritten, overwrought, and overacted, it has an ersatz quality that seems intent mainly on squeezing the material for more emotional drama than it can bear…The admissions process has to be taken with a grain of salt. It's a play, not a documentary, but its exaggerations…will still niggle academics who've been through it…Most of the actors…appear to have been directed…to give it their award-reaching all; despite the technical expertise displayed, however, this only makes them less believab... Full Review

60
New York Stage Review

"Isn’t on its own an entirely successful play. But it forms a fascinating counterpoint to several other recent and noteworthy works...If the grown-ups aren’t quite credible, their climatic debate on the students’ admissions chances in the penultimate scene is even less so. Its results feel structurally necessary but largely unearned, and that keeps 'Transfers' from alchemizing into a play good enough to be worthy of its young subjects." Full Review

55
New York Theater

"'Transfers' attempts to dramatize the inequities in the American system of higher education; it asks a raft of stimulating questions, most of them indirectly...But too much of the dialogue that prompts these questions simply doesn’t ring true. If David doesn’t really understand Cristofer, neither does the playwright...Juan Castano is a terrific actor...But he’s not at his best as Cristofer in 'Transfers.' Little of how the character behaves feels completely credible." Full Review


100
Funny, Great acting, Great writing

See it if Funny clever writing. Great acting.

Don't see it if Can’t imagine

100
Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Hilarious, Great staging

See it if Great play! Amazing acting.. run..

Don't see it if Heavy plays with sad subjects.

100
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Must see, Great writing

See it if You think theatre should make you think, feel, and challenge you. And if you like AMAZING acting. And directing. This is the REAL DEAL!

Don't see it if You prefer mindless entertainment.

98
Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you want to see two young, up and coming actors knock it out of the park and a show that is simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful

Don't see it if you don't like foul language or are prejudiced against certain types of people

98
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you are open to the poignant story of two students from disadvantaged backgrounds trying to grab a ticket out.

Don't see it if are uninterested in or not empathetic to the formidable challenges of students from underprivileged backgrounds.

98
Absorbing, Exquisite, Must see, Profound, Great writing

See it if You enjoy seeing theatre that provokes converstions needed to be had. Especially when it's giving the youth a voice.

Don't see it if You don't like going to the theater.

Also As a constant theater-goer myself, this play is the first show I've se... Read more Read less

96
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you wonder how two gifted young men vying for a life-changing scholarship to an elite college seek a way out of their South Bronx upbringing

Don't see it if don't want to be moved to tears as I was watching two unique young men struggle with cultural and family baggage to get into college.

95
Funny, Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting

See it if You're interested in a poignant and unforgettable look at the lives of students born in difficult circumstances.

Don't see it if You're not interested in young people struggles or in grappling with bleak aspects of America

95
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Must see, Relevant

See it if You went to a IvyLeague type university, love strong acting and intense writing

Don't see it if you think that the world is living a "kumbaya reality", not ready 2 see Black & Brown kids succeed

93
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if Resonant and truthful story about youth. Acting and writing phenomenal​ and powerful. I would see it again.

Don't see it if If you don't care about human rights and quality of education for all. Great story--very powerful.

92
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You like smart storytelling, compelling characters, a play that makes you think.

Don't see it if You are looking for a light theatre experience--you really need to be willing to go along with the ride on this one

92
Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you like good acting with an absorbing story.

Don't see it if You are a homophobe.

92
Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Riveting, Great writing

See it if You're a Thurber fan. One of her best. Very strong acting and writing. A really good show.

Don't see it if You think people ought to be able to overcome hardship and poverty by sheer will, and shouldn't be given a hand up.

91
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you like well written plays that examine current issues of race and class. Set is absolutely marvelous. Acting and directing are stellar. Go

Don't see it if you want a musical. This play has it all--humor, truth, real characters, great acting, brilliant set, serious issues. It's the real deal.

91
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if If you are interested in the struggles of underprivileged youth. A well written and produced snapshot of a segment of NY.

Don't see it if Do not see if you are uncomfortable with issues relating to unprivileged youth. If you are more comfortable with light dramas.

91
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging

See it if it was a great surprise - I didn’t expect very much coming in, but the script and acting were very good. The show is emotional and touching.

Don't see it if don’t have anything negative to say. Grasps and keeps one’s attention. One of the best plays I saw this season.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if you want to see an entertaining, brilliantly-acted production that raises questions about assumptions, visibility, and education

Don't see it if you only like musicals.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Great writing

See it if Truly captivating, convincing characters and a storyline that trample the emotion-charged debate between race-based college admissions

Don't see it if You do not recognize the deep racial divide in America

Also versus the transparent system based on SAT scores and other quantifiab... Read more Read less

90
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if You like acting. Unreal performances on this stage. By the end, you'll know and feel deeply for the characters in a visceral, human way

Don't see it if You like to poke holes in backstories or details -- there are a few you could find, but the acting is good enough to cover for them

90
Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you are a Lucy Thurber fan. I've seen just about all of her plays and this is her best.

Don't see it if you can't appreciate a well-crafted play with a terrific cast.

Also It's got less than a week to go! Grab a ticket!.

90
Exquisitely written and beautifully acted

See it if a deeply thoughtful, eloquently written play where every character is perfectly conceived and developed, then perfectly cast is for you.

Don't see it if No reason at all to miss this treasure

Also Very exciting to discover Lucy Thurber and her insight into people, so... Read more Read less

90
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if you're looking for a first-rate, original script about a big topic — how equal access to higher education does and doesn't work. Funny, too

Don't see it if musicals are your favorite genre or contemporary tales are not you.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You appreciate really superb acting and discussion of important contemporary themes.

Don't see it if I can’t think of a reason not to see it.

Also I was drawn in completely and totally in awe of the acting. It’s a rar... Read more Read less

90
Excellent performances, An absolute must-see, Masterful magical set design, Absorbing / relevant / resonant, Riveting / intense / real

See it if you want to experience excellent acting, a well-written & well-directed drama sprinkled w/some humor, supported by an amazingly magical set.

Don't see it if you're looking for a str8-up comedy or musical. It's one of the very best ensemble dramas I've seen off-off, off, or ON Broadway in months.

Also It's about class, education, socio-economics, survival.... Read more Read less

90
Unfurls nicely

See it if Great view of culture shock. Two Bronx ghetto kids at a Mass college. Solid acting. Excellent supporting actors. Lovely set. Sprawling tree.

Don't see it if Scenes somewhat long winded. Play clears its throat a lot. One person's relationship breakup a time killer. Counselor gf issue irrelevant.

Also Give Soule her own play. She's always warm, sexy and has a honey dippe... Read more Read less


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