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White Guy on the Bus

Members say: Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Great writing
21 reviews
132 reviews

Delaware Theatre Company presents the New York premiere of this drama, a provocative and unflinching look at race and inequality in contemporary America. Starring Tony nominee Robert Cuccioli.

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A wealthy white businessman and a struggling black single mom ride the same bus week after week. As they get to know each other, their relationship sparks a candid and surprising examination of racial and economic divides.


Reviews (153)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The New York Times

“The opening scene is a deliberately moralistic prelude that soon opens into a riveting, thought-provoking piece of theater…To reveal much more...would be to spoil Mr. Graham’s deftly constructed play…This is decidedly not a feel-good play about mutually beneficial bonds formed across the racial and economic divides. Mr. Graham, with the work’s stark conclusion, leaves you feeling like a simplistic ninny for ever thinking it might have been.” Full Review


"Graham finds little ways to needle his audience in this ultra-contrived setup. We understand that progressive sacred cows will be rhetorically slaughtered, although Graham's reliance on archetype and hypotheticals make this somewhat of a facile endeavor...A radical tonal shift late in the first act changes things...Scenes bleed from one to the next in Martin's clever staging...Hiding everything behind his cold, calculating eyes, Cuccioli delivers a fascinatingly dynamic portrayal." Full Review


"Written by Bruce Graham, directed by Bud Martin and featuring an outstanding cast, this is a brilliant, poignant production. The show will encourage viewers to have essential conversations about the disparity that exists between people of different races and economic backgrounds...'White Guy on the Bus' is drama at its finest. It is a thought-provoking theatrical piece that presents multiple perspectives. It is a must-see production for metro area audiences." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“‘White Guy on the Bus’ surrenders any pretense at analyzing America's racial divide, instead becoming a florid melodrama loaded with speechmaking. Graham's play is already perilously overloaded with white grievance; the addition of thriller elements seemingly lifted from an old Charles Bronson movie does nothing to advance his argument. ‘That White Guy on the Bus’ remains watchable is largely due to Robert Cuccioli's performance." Full Review

Front Row Center

“The plot is inventive and brave. Bruce Graham has come up with a story and an in-your-face relationship between Ray and Shatique that is provocative and brutally honest…The production elements of this show do not measure up to Graham’s intent. The writing is often sophomoric and illogical. The direction is stilted, confining actors to spaces where they seem trapped…The performances are uneven, with the relationship between Ray and Roz lacking a much needed credulity.” Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“Ray's conversations with his family, at one side of the stage, and his relationship with Shatique at the other eventually converge in a disturbing shift...that throws the play off balance into a schematic ditch of unconvincing crime melodrama...Little in the physical production itself serves the play's interests well...More seriously, most of the acting plays only with surfaces; the performers have technical polish but, except for Danielle Leneé air of artificiality hovers.” Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

“Bruce Graham’s 'White Guy on the Bus' speaks a lot of truths, but I don’t necessarily know if audiences are ready to admit or face these hideous facts…The cast all excel in their roles. Director Bud Martin keeps this play moving like a fine-tuned roller coaster. Mr. Graham has written a piece that will have you thinking…This is a powerful play with much to say.” Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“An interesting story line, despite the play’s frequent forays into unrelated thematic territories…Unfortunately, Mr. Graham’s characters seem more stock than well rounded and experience no growth. Their conflicts are so stereotypical that the dramatic arc of the play leaves the audience without any catharsis. And some of the action of the play is simply not believable...Graham takes on too much in his play and in doing so lessens its overall impact.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“This is a very cleverly written play drawing the audience in slowly, then binding us in an intense, unrelenting bombardment of truth about how money, power and privilege position one in society. It also speaks harshly and, many times, wisely to how political correctness will not solve the problems of poverty, oppression and prejudice…They are all brought together under the guiding hand of Bud Martin who directs this cast with vision.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“An explosive, provocative drama…No one is wholly righteous; neither is anyone wholly bad. Yet the deals we agree to—the concessions we allow in order to feed ourselves and our kin, and the amount of BS we swallow or ask others to swallow—make for an intense and complex dynamic that eschews a trouble-free coexistence…The well-paced dialogue is punchy, pointed, and taut, and numerous tangents are well-woven into the plot.” Full Review


"It packs a wallop!...The cast is headed by Cuccioli, who is giving one of the finest and most chilling performances of the season...In turn blistering and bracing, the tautly constructed play becomes dramatically radioactive...Don't be afraid to see this blistering play that may actually change your mind as it challenges your well-intentioned motives." Full Review

Manhattan Digest

"Thanks to award-winning playwright Bruce Graham, the progressively minded will not be patting themselves on the back when they see 'White Guy on the Bus.' However, they are going to squirm a little bit and, by the end, they’ll have a helluva lot to think about...'White Guy On the Bus' is a provocative piece of theater and it manages to make a loud point without preaching. Director Bud Martin has assembled a fine cast, all of whom should be commended for tackling this fearless play." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

“Cuccioli and McKey have a splendid chemistry...He and Lenee have a different kind of sparks flying between them, but they find as much nuance as the script gives them…Director Bud Martin has also found the nuggets of gold in the script and has let the actors get the most out of them...The show tries to take on the whole matter of race and in doing so, it generates heat but precious little light…It is there to get the audience to consider the problems." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Under Bud Martin’s skilled direction, the performances bring the play’s central conversations on race and privilege to life...At times, the conversations within the play itself become overshadowed by its dramatic plot, as some of its twists feel too overstated to be authentic...Those underlying conversations manage to ask tough questions of them, and though they aren’t always able to answer, it leaves both its characters and its audience with plenty of food for thought." Full Review


"While transcending its focus on racism, this smart, powerful, shocking—yet moving—new play by Bruce Graham deserves and rewards your attention." Full Review

Plays to See

"'White Guy on the Bus' offers a thought-provoking examination of current race relations in America. Graham’s writing is imaginative and compelling, and the plot adeptly blends a coherent structure with intrigue and surprise. Cast members convincingly interpret the complicated vicissitudes their roles demand, and the performance flows effortlessly. A triumph at most every level." Full Review

Broad Street Review

for a previous production “What seems like chatter actually lays a complex foundation for what's coming…Graham flips the whole play upside down in the first act's final scene…Ray and Shatique's combustible negotiation makes the short second act tremendously powerful…Would that Delaware's production served the play better. Paul Tate dePoo III's flat set sticks two clashing walls side by side…Graham's greatest achievement in this fine and important play may be knocking us from our comfort zone." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

for a previous production “Graham entertainingly and dramatically shows race relations in action. Director Bud Martin follows Graham’s lead with a production that unfolds naturalistically, giving each scene room to make its point...’White Guy on the Bus’ is a play that can open discussion and open eyes…Graham lays out his ideas with brilliant precision and smart dialogue. Martin builds to high points and helps various characters’ dilemmas unfold grippingly while keeping a sense of suspense in the air.” Full Review

Philadelphia Inquirer

for a previous production "It excites theatrically, if bending the boundaries of belief a little too far in its attempts at perfect, no-loopholes logical construction…Graham's play brutally examines contemporary racial and class tensions in America - and this production soars in Bud Martin's unflinching direction. Cuccioli, in particular, shines...Whatever beliefs you sit down with at curtain call, prepare to have them assaulted. Whatever courage you possess, muster it to see this production." Full Review


for a previous production "Sadly, the story unfolds during act two like an episode from ‘Law & Order.’ Ray is deftly portrayed by Robert Cuccioli…Danielle Leneé imparts an earnest, realistic personality to the character of Shatique…I recommend and encourage theater patrons to see 'White Guy on the Bus' with an open mind in the hope that diverse, uncomfortable discussions, not just about race but also about privilege, inequality, social injustice, and all that goes with today's societal ills, ensue." Full Review


for a previous production 'This production pulled no punches. There were no shades. It was black and white…A series of flashbacks move the show forward. The audience becomes easily assimilated and the blistering impact of the plot could not have been told otherwise…Renee’s is a gut-wrenching role. She feels it throughout every charged fiber in her body. Both she and Cuccioli give strong performances…A powerful and brave drama." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

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

See it if you want a fearless drama that deals with the issue of racial bias in a practical yet profound way. Great acting and writing.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in topical plays that deal with race issues.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Powerful

See it if powerful piece of theater; much to think about and discuss; engaging story with unexpected twists; small cast meshes well

Don't see it if matters of race and humanity are not of interest; you want a light evening

Clever, Great acting, Intense, Relevant, Great writing

See it if You like a well-thought out, well-acted, relevant play about race, class, wealth, privilege, life-changing decisions, etc. The 2 leads are ✔

Don't see it if No reason you shouldn't see it, except now it's closed. So intense. Great plot twist and once again the 2 leads. Saw them embrace backstage

Also After it was all said-and-done. It took you there. The audience was en... Read more Read less

Edgy, Intense, Relevant, Indulgent, Disturbing

See it if Racial issues in your face, and made as uncomfortable as possible by the characters and situations in the play.

Don't see it if The grievances are as plain as can be. Every point is purposely exaggerated and over-generalized.

Edgy, Great acting, Timely, Provocative, Chilling

See it if You're up for a challenging, at times uncomfortable experience. Cuccioli is effortless, disturbingly natural & ultimately disturbing. Go.

Don't see it if You're an O'Reilly Republican; or at least one with a closed mind. Or have no patience.

Also The arc of Robert Cuccioli's effortless, disturbingly natural and ulti... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting

See it if You like to get totally absorbed in a play.

Don't see it if don't like plays that turn very dark

Also The play is a little contrived but that doesn't interfere with it tota... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Thought-provoking

See it if you like a play with terrific character dialog and interaction. An unexpected and interesting story line.

Don't see it if you don't like a play with social commentary.

Banal, Cliched, Overrated, Dated, Soap opera

See it if You want a simple play starting with race relations and then twisting into something ludicrous about....I can't tell you.,,a real spoiler

Don't see it if You like plays that will not insult your intelligence. This one does.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant, Fascinating

See it if you like (a) realistic (b) stories of contemporary life told in (c) a socially conscious way; you want to be surprised

Don't see it if you can't with socially-conscious realistic plays parsing easy assumptions;

Clever, Relevant, Riveting

See it if Interesting small play that isn't quite what you expect it to be. It starts off more about race and ends up being more Hitchcockian.

Don't see it if You want a larger or more conventional production.

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

See it if an intelligent play about racial & economic disparity & resulting power dynamics; a plot twist that the audience does not see coming

Don't see it if you want a feel-good play, don't want to see racism (subtle and overt) addressed

Also Lenee and Cuccioli were excellent but good performances by all

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

See it if A play of our time dealing with racism, poverty, oppression by way of the class lens. Extraordinary performance from Danielle Lenee.

Don't see it if you believe that class does't matters for African Americans or there is no racism in America or you are proud to be a white supremacist.

Bruce graham's best work ever

See it if you want to see a perfectly written and executed play

Don't see it if you need your theater to be politically correct

Also I have seen a few BG plays and this is by far his best work. I can't s... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Resonant, Riveting, Great writing

See it if you appreciate frank, politically incorrect dialog from realistic modern characters addressing directly race, relationships and attitudes

Don't see it if you are offended by stereotypes, realistic and genuine expressions of racial bias by ghetto blacks and privileged whites, violence and crime

Absorbing, Edgy, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if you'd enjoy a thought provoking and highly entertaining play about race relations in America. Great plot twists!

Don't see it if intense dramas aren't your thing. This is totally relevant to race relations in the U.S. today.

Absorbing, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Disturbing

See it if you want a picture of what desperation mixed with white privilege and class and economic differences might look like in the extreme.

Don't see it if you want a fluffy night of theater; you don't want to think about the topics of race and economic relations.

Funny, Clever, Intense, Overrated

See it if you enjoy straight plays that tackle social issues in new ways

Don't see it if melodramatics are a turn off for you -- some of the play's moral quandaries feel a little overwrought

Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you like shows that deal with the racism that lurks in all of us.

Don't see it if you want something light and frothy. It is too preachy and heavy handed, but it does make some interesting points.

Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound, Relevant

See it if You want to see a provocative play about race that avoids easy answers

Don't see it if You are very attached to political correctness or are looking for a light comedy

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You like very well written thought provoking plays. Engaged start to finish. Intense moments w/ Great plot twists. Would make a good movie!

Don't see it if You are looking for something light and fluffy. Once this takes off it doesn't stop.

Also Only issue was the fact that they put an intermission into a show whos... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you want a bold and very brave (i.e. not bowing to "political-correctness", indeed attacking it head-on) look at race/class relations

Don't see it if you find issues of race and class unnerving -- i.e. you'd rather truly not have to face the racist living/hiding in us all.

Also You really get two experiences in one with this ambitious script. Firs... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing, Surprising

See it if Very thought-provoking, intelligent and nuanced discussion of a controversial topic. Unexpected plot twists. Definitely absorbing.

Don't see it if Acting is solid but could be better if made into a movie (which is pretty much ready to be). Why 1hr50min with intermission? Make it 100min.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy thought provoking drama

Don't see it if you only want light entertainment.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy intelligent thought provoking theater...

Don't see it if you don't like shows that deal with racial topics...

Absorbing, Intense, Relevant, Powerful, Provacative

See it if you appreciate timely, serious drama and want to be challenged.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a play that addresses issues of race and class in a frank manner.