Vilna NYC Reviews and Tickets

85%
(107 Reviews)
Positive
94%
Mixed
5%
Negative
1%
Members say
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intense, Relevant

About the Show

"Vilna" tells the heroic story of Motke Zeidel and Yudi Farber, actual people who come of age in the remarkable city of Vilna during its degradation in the years before World War II and its destruction during the war.

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Member Reviews (107)

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74
Intense, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Ambitious

See it if If you want a play about atrocities and holocaust. A Moving play about wwii.

Don't see it if If you do not want to see a play about atrocities or inhumanity. Play is sporadic and not smooth in plot.

89
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you like good theater based on real people & real happenings. A great cast with flawless light and sound on an interesting set transport you

Don't see it if you are troubled with the horror of the Holocaust, the mistreatment of people & the strain of relationships or the brief violence portrayed

Critic Reviews (12)

The New York Times
March 24th, 2019

“In Discher’s inert production, ‘Vilna’ feels dutiful and strangely hermetic...Hudock and Mulcahy give thoughtful performances, and the rest of the cast is mostly fine...But the many characters and relationships are too shallowly written to allow us to care about them...As ‘Vilna’ unfolds over 18 years, its sheer sprawl dilutes it...The play feels isolated — each scene sealed off, divorced from the larger historical tragedy."
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Lighting & Sound America
March 25th, 2019

"'Vilna' tells a story of such historical importance, bearing a message of such timeless relevance, that it is a great pity it hasn't been told more forcefully...A sincere and reasonably well-constructed work, 'Vilna' is top-heavy with characters and incidents, the latter unfolding with a plodding determination that is the very opposite of drama...Joseph Discher's direction is a one-note affair, even when the action includes throat-cutting, attempted hanging, and other tortures."
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TheaterScene.net
March 22nd, 2019

"'Vilna,' written by Ira Fuchs, is one of the more successful stage dramas to deal with the Holocaust, a notoriously difficult subject to portray on stage. That this play succeeds as well as it does is to the credit of its director Joseph Discher who assiduously avoids clichés and stereotypes and its cast of fine actors, led by the great Mark Jacoby, a star of Broadway musicals, here displaying heart-breaking depth of emotion in two parts."
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Theater Pizzazz
March 27th, 2019

“’Vilna’ was a very difficult play to write but...Fuchs, inspired by the discovery of an underground escape tunnel dug by a few survivors...manages to cover significant moments in 18 years in the lives of one Jewish family, the Zeidels. Most of the characters in the play were real people. And while the scenes depicted are fiction, they align with actual chronological events...Ably directed by Discher, cleverly lighted by Feiner, with very convincing fight direction by Sordelet.”
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Front Row Center
March 21st, 2019

"'Vilna' is an emotionally draining depiction of atrocities for a human being to see, hear, and witness...It is rare to hear an audience gasp in New York City – especially in theatre. During a palpable, unexpected, and raw scene between German officers there was a collective gasp with one patron screaming out. Filing out of the theater Fuchs said, 'Please tell a friend, we can never forget.'"
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T
March 20th, 2019

"An informative but rather static drama…The multipronged drama throws its net far too wide…Some of this is strong stuff. But the effect is more momentary than cumulative because the events are stretched out over so long a period of time. This robs the play of more than temporary intensity, as scene follows scene, with actors…dutifully carrying furniture on and off as quickly as possible while we wait...Eventually, the dramatic tension decreases instead of the opposite."
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DC Metro Theater Arts
March 20th, 2019

“A potent story that is both devastating and didactic, portraying the worst and calling for the best in humankind...A compelling cast turns in deeply-affecting performances throughout the course of the story, with its ever-worsening circumstances and slowly-shifting tone...While it’s profoundly disturbing to watch ‘Vilna’ and its retelling of the inconceivable atrocities committed there, it’s important to remember what happened, and to ensure that it never happens again."
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Epoch Times
April 1st, 2019

"A work that should be mandatory viewing for everyone over 18...Joseph Discher’s direction is strong. He and Fuchs slowly and methodically introduce the audience to the various characters and ratchet up the tension as the story progresses. While the early part of the play is perhaps a bit too by the numbers, that feeling vanishes as the tale unfolds...'Vilna' reminds audiences in no uncertain terms why these stories should continue to be told."
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I
March 24th, 2019

“Fuchs’ new work is a sturdy, workmanlike piece of playwriting. Although I found the first half rather pedestrian, ‘Vilna‘s’ second half comes together in rather powerful ways, culminating a series of authentically affecting scenes. Fuchs’ has a talent for drawing sharply-drawn characters and telling sprawling stories efficiently and clearly. Even if the overall effect is less exciting than other new plays I’ve seen this year, there’s no denying the play’s rock solid construction.”
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TheaterScene.com
April 2nd, 2019

“Sitting in the audience...feels like attending a history lecture. After the framing-device opening, ‘Vilna’ descends into...exposition...Fuchs and director Discher make a mess of telling a simple story...Introducing fifty or so scenes displaying evil tells us nothing new, and slows the play down. Had the show been tightened to a core story, instead of flailing off into...how bad the Nazis were, perhaps ‘Vilna’ might have had a strong impact. As it is, the story of 'Vilna' gets lost in the telling.”
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History News Network
March 27th, 2019

"It is a deep, rich and thoroughly frightening story of the Jews’ battle for survival in the city of Vilna...The difference, and what makes 'Vilna' so outstanding, is the graphic violence, cruel and heart stopping, plus just tremendous acting by an all-star cast, whose work you will remember for quite a long time...One of the wonders of the play is the superlative acting by minor characters."
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The Times of Israel
March 21st, 2019

"Remarkable new play...Though it couldn’t have a broader mission statement — give the biography of a city over the course of two-and-a-half decades — it’s the mundane aspects of life that are recognizable touchpoints...If there’s a criticism I have of 'Vilna,' it’s that there are stretches where scenes feel more like beats on a historical timeline...'You must hear this story' could not be more true."
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