"There aren't enough words to properly convey the magnitude of this show. The acting, the directing, and the writing each on their own are worthy of a five-star review. Part noir-murder-mystery, part courtroom drama, part Shakespearean tragedy, mixed with the haunting cries of a sort-of Greek chorus, 'X: or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation' is a masterful tribute to and reincarnation of the legacy of Malcolm X. There's nothing left to say except to go see it before it closes." Full Review
"A superb piece of theater, achieving the rare trifecta of A+ writing, A+ direction, and, of course, A+ acting...It is hilarious, but also quite serious...a dangerous tightrope act that can usually only be pulled off by shows with that trifecta...Belknap ensures that this show remains wildly engaging...drawing you in quickly to the fast-paced action as the 10 actors get to work...Literally every single one of them knocks it out of the park." Full Review
"If you missed it the first time around, don't let it slip away again. This is an opportunity to better understand a man who not only reflects America's pain, but its possibilities...Gardley packs a lot of information into two hours and 15 minutes with a script that is simultaneously hearty and efficient...Cole is commanding and magnetic...Everyone in the cast savors Gardley's richly poetic yet undeniably snappy language...'X' gives Malcolm the robust reconsideration he deserves." Full Review
"The flow among music, speech, documentary and drama is expertly handled by the 10-member cast and director Belknap. At its best, the play comes off like a sort of spoken-word oratorio. While the portrait of Malcolm himself is at times disappointingly wooden-it is understandably hard to humanize an icon...It is even tougher to fill a play with sermons, speeches and testimonies and still maintain nuance, suspense, surprise. Gardley is up to the task." Full Review
"Watching the dangerous games played by people in power leaves you with feelings of horror that you can’t shake off, even long after the show...For the most part, the cast shines brightly in vibrant performances...'X' is probably the darkest show I have seen lately, both visually and emotionally...Historically accurate yet heartfelt, 'X' tells the universal story of the opposition between a single man and the forces that created him." Full Review
"Gardley is a powerful and poetic writer, and 'X' is well worth a visit. However, the play is also overwritten, with much repetition and a framing device and songs that are wonderful in themselves but also slow down the play. 'X' is full of strengths but ultimately uneven; I suspect that, with judicious cutting, it would be brilliant. Director Ian Belknap maximizes X's strengths through dynamic, imaginative, and beautifully paced direction. The cast is excellent." Full Review
"Gardley’s play shifts the focus from Malcolm X as a powerful civil rights leader to a vulnerable man trying to hold injustice up to the light. Glimpses of this are beautifully revealed in moments between Malcolm and Betty, who knows how to make him laugh, but also senses how tired and even a little afraid he may feel. In 1966, several men from the Nation of Islam were convicted of assassinating Malcolm X, but Gardley’s play suggests that everyone, in the end, had a hand in killing him." Full Review
"Malcolm isn't enough of a presence, and the script never comes close to suggesting the dynamic, polarizing figure that he was...The play also suffers from a surfeit of theatrical devices...Still, the play does an effective job of conveying the intrigue that swirled around Malcolm, and the entire cast, under the generally incisive direction of Ian Belknap, makes the most of their opportunities...A gripping investigation into the life of a man whose legacy remains urgently important today." Full Review
"'X' offers a compelling trip back in time, and we never forget how high the stakes are...Ian Belknap directs an excellent ensemble...But ultimately Gardley expends a lot of effort to convince us of something that most people who have been paying attention already assumed was the case. As an evocation of a not-so-distant past when even Martin Luther King Jr. was considered radical, the play is gripping and effective. But 'X' is not the shocking exposé it seems to want to be." Full Review
for a previous production “A compelling requiem for a complex man…The play clearly means to indict the larger society for allowing the assassination to happen. Still, Gardley investigates all the options, leaving the final verdict up to each viewer. At heart, though, Gardley is a poet and the play is filled with gorgeous soliloquies…The acting, under Ian Belknap's robust direction, is across-the-board superb...This production, like Malcolm, deserves a longer life." Full Review
for a previous production “Mr. Gardley and the director, Ian Belknap, bring the feuds that roiled the radical black-liberation movement of the 1960s to vivid life. Although he clearly did his research, Mr. Gardley is not interested in naturalistic docudrama…The best scenes pit the ramrod-straight Shabazz, convinced that the Nation of Islam fomented her husband’s 1965 assassination, against the silver-tongued Louis X, who defends the organization...This double bill rewards alert teens and jaded adults alike.” Full Review
See it if You don't want to miss the greatest ensemble acting in New York! What a pleasure to watch these immensely talented actors under some great
Don't see it if The story of Malcom X is not your cup of tea. The play is long, wordy and highly intelligent. A serious play.
See it if you think you know the story of Malcolm X's life and death because you probably don't.
Don't see it if you can't appreciate outstanding acting, writing and staging. There is no other reason you shouldn't see this show.
See it if Like history, are interested in Black History, are familiar with Malcolm X, if you're a believer on true love, and loyalty.
Don't see it if Aren't interested in The Nation of Islam and it's influence on the life of MalcolmX, not into Black History.
See it if You want to see outstanding acting and writing and/or are interested in the life of Malcolm X.
Don't see it if You want a lavish production and/or you are not interested in Malcolm X. Also don't see if you can't climb steps. Not handicap accessible.
See it if You like shows that put controversial and historical characters/events into a courtroom scenario creatively invented by the playwright.
Don't see it if You're not interested in the life,history and impact of Malcolm X.
See it if Want to know what really happened, with the assassination, of Malcolm X,as told by his wife, and what cause the deceit behind his death.
Don't see it if Dont like knowing the truth, as to what really happened, with the collaboration, of Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King.
See it if you appreciate Greek tragedy & alternative perspectives on personality, motives, humanity, relationships, and assassination of Malcolm X.
Don't see it if you lack courage or intellectual energy to reconsider mainstream attitude about Malcolm X, or prefer primarily white cast, comedy, musical.
See it if you want to see a very smart play about Malcolm X, some incredible acting, and awesome set and lighting design.
Don't see it if you don't like intelligent theatre with a great cast and the opportunity to learn something new.
See it if You enjoy great theater! This was an excellently written, staged and performed political drama. This is theater at its best.
Don't see it if You don't enjoy engrossing, well executed thought provoking theater (so be that way).
See it if Strong cast members in a masterful production. To see history presented in various views, thought provoking, and profound piece. Wonderful
Don't see it if You are stuck in history, are not interested in history or subject matter or if you can't open your mind to alt possibilities.
See it if You want to see a great play, actors and storyline of an alternate side of the Malcolm X story. Well written and executed, a must see.
Don't see it if You’re not familiar with the Malcom X story to some extent, you might find yourself confused/lost in certain parts.
See it if You want to see a sharp and compelling piece of theatre. Outstanding ensemble and production with memorable use of music, rhythm and voices.
Don't see it if You neither know nor care about racial issues, past or present. Or, of course, if you're racist. A timely show, more relevant now than ever.
See it if you want to see two extraordinarily nuanced performances from Roslyn Ruff and Jimonn Cole. Harriet D. Foy is quite the scene stealer!
Don't see it if you don't like intelligent, thoughtful theatre. Also, if you are not a fan of historical plays.
See it if even you don't have any interest in Malcolm X. Stellar cast. NY Times Critics Choice for a reason. Intelligent theater and a great story.
Don't see it if two hours of concentration are something you are not capable of or interested in doing.
See it if You want to see a phenomenal cast, technical work, and writing, and you like theatre based in history.
Don't see it if You don't like historical drama, you don't like plays with song, you want something colorful and splashy.
See it if see and support work of a fine contemporary playwright with outstanding actors. An original consideration about the final days of Malcolm X.
Don't see it if a political subject is not of interest or a fantasy but not of the Black Panther movie sort.
See it if You’re interetested in potential backstories for real events, like strong, committed performances
Don't see it if You need linear stories, are not interested in plays with historical context, need actors to play a single role
See it if You want to get a diverse picture of the controversial figure who is either praised or maligned but completely misunderstood.
Don't see it if Racial issues is not your idea of entertainment or you are completely closed minded.
See it if Defense vs. prosecution dynamic that was wildly imaginative, rich, poignant and powerful with clever use of flashbacks to build arguments
Don't see it if Supporting cast pleasantly overshadowed Malcom X in acting. The play is heavy on who’s guilty and light on the rise and influences of Malcom
See it if An important theme very well acted and beautifully directed! So relevant to our time and important.
Don't see it if You are not interested in the political or racial history of the United States and are more interested in light fare.
See it if You want to see an important historical story told in a clever way. The acting was terrific and there is great use of staging.
Don't see it if Just see it.
Also I would see this again and again.
See it if You enjoy a well acted story describing the life of Malcolm X. Very intelligent and very moving. Highly recommended.
Don't see it if No reason not to see this unless you are looking for a musical
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies