Transfers NYC Reviews and Tickets

(136 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?

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Member Reviews (136)

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Intense, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant, Angry

See it if you understand that one of the great failures of our society is a wholesale abandonment of a whole class of young men.

Don't see it if you are not in the mood for 100 minutes of searing, sometimes uncomfortable drama (with occasional well-earned laughs). Read more

Great acting, Great writing, Profound, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if you’ve ever felt like you’ve done everything you’re “supposed” to do to get ahead, only to find that it never mattered.

Don't see it if you can’t face the reality that life isn’t fair. You’ll walk away angry and frustrated.

Absorbing, Relevant, Great staging, Too much stereotyping, Humorous

See it if you're interested in the availability of higher education for those without economic privilege.

Don't see it if you find it painful to watch two deserving students wanting/needing to continue their education knowing there is room for only one of them.

Entertaining, Great acting

See it if You'd enjoy a drama about different students vying to get into a top tier college and how the decision is made. Lots to think about.

Don't see it if Runs a bit long at 1 hour 55 no intermission. First scene involving phone call is quite boring & can be dropped.

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

See it if Just see it and savor it!

Don't see it if You’re looking for dancing feet.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting, 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.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you're interested in a relevant play which pivots from two students competing for a scholarship to competing against a broken system.

Don't see it if you're not in the mood for an issue play or socially and politically relevant theater.

Somewhat formulaic, Compelling, Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if are interested in the workings of the education system, affirmative action & growing up disadvantaged. Wonderful performances & staging.

Don't see it if you'd be bothered by certain scenes that are not entirely creditable. In spite of the lack of creditability, they're always interesting.

Critic Reviews (18)

The New York Times
April 23rd, 2018

"'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."
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April 23rd, 2018

"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."
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Lighting & Sound America
April 24th, 2018

"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."
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Talkin' Broadway
April 23rd, 2018

"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."
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New York Stage Review
April 23rd, 2018

"'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."
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New York Stage Review
April 23rd, 2018

"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."
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May 1st, 2018

"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."
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Theater Pizzazz
April 23rd, 2018

"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."
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April 25th, 2018

"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."
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Front Mezz Junkies
April 24th, 2018

"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."
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Exeunt Magazine
April 24th, 2018

"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."
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New York Theater
April 23rd, 2018

"'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."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
April 23rd, 2018

“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 believable.”
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Village Voice
April 27th, 2018

"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."
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Gotham Playgoer
April 23rd, 2018

"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."
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April 24th, 2018

"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."
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Stage Left
April 29th, 2018

"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."
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Daily Beast
April 24th, 2018

"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."
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