New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

Zero Hour

From 19 critic and 26 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Funny, Absorbing, Entertaining, Masterful

About the show

The Peccadillo Theater Company presents a return engagement of Jim Brochu's award-winning solo show about the life of theater legend Zero Mostel. More…

It's July 1977 and the actor is giving his final interview before leaving for a pre-Broadway tryout of 'The Merchant' in Philadelphia. Mostel only played one performance as Shylock before his sudden death at age 62. 'Zero Hour' traces Mostel's early days growing up on the Lower East Side as the son of Orthodox Jewish immigrant parents, through his rise as a stand-up comedian, from the Borscht Belt to Manhattan's most exclusive supper clubs, and from the devastation of the blacklist to his greatest Broadway triumphs, most notably as Tevye in 'Fiddler on the Roof.'

1h 30m | Already closed | Theatre at St. Clement's (Midtown W)

Theater Pizzazz

"The absolutely best solo performance I’ve ever seen in my life...Those 90 minutes were the 100% most enjoyable hour and a half I’ve spent in years. Jim Brochu deserves a double A+ for impeccable playwriting and a flawless performance. Director Piper Laurie rates several hip, hip, hip, hurrahs for her discrete direction and for impeccably maintaining the ideal balance between Mostel/Brochu’s chutzpah and anguish." Full Review


“For 90 enthralling minutes, Brochu dramatizes and enacts the remarkable life and career of that unforgettable performer…His sensational acting is matched by his heavily researched and very skillfully constructed script…The success of the production is abetted by Piper Laurie’s meticulous and creative direction…Every moment is staged with aesthetic focus and ingenuity, preventing the show from ever becoming static.” Full Review

Woman Around Town

"A helluva piece of writing...This deeply researched piece, as personal as it is historical, illuminates Zero Mostel. Peppered with anecdotes, jokes, and insults, its serious depiction of reasons for the subject’s dark side provides affecting, whiz-bang dramatization...Brochu is so filled with energy, so present, it’s as if he’s performing early in the run of a new show...This is less a purposeful imitation than top-notch channeling...Laurie has done a wonderful job of utilizing the stage." Full Review

Cinema Retro

"The one-man show is a triumph...Brochu's intense performance makes you think you are actually watching Mostel himself. He rails, rants, raves and charms...He also shows us Mostel's softer, sentimental side...'Zero Hour' is a remarkable achievement about the life of a great talent whose name is in danger of fading into oblivion...Don't miss it-this is New York theater at its very best." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“Even those who already know this colorful rags-to-riches account of a poor Brooklyn boy whose father was a 'street rabbi' and whose mother never forgave him for marrying a 'shiksa' - or who don't think they need yet another iteration of the blacklist saga and the naming of red-tinted actors by Jerome Robbins and his ilk - will appreciate the illusion of hearing about it all from Mostel himself. I mean Jim Brochu, of course, but when you're watching him it's really one and the same.” Full Review


"In manner, voice and mind he is unmistakably Zero Mostel...While the performance and the play are both thoroughly engaging, those who saw the previous two-act version may find this one a bit incomplete...But even in this shortened form, 'Zero Hour' effectively paints a portrait depicting the artist as he might like to be remembered; brilliant, defiant and highly entertaining." Full Review

Off Off Online

"Zero’s back in town, and the town is jollier for it...In this new incarnation, if anything, the author and star is more formidable, more unpredictable, more voluble—more Zero. He also resembles Mostel more than ever, to an almost scary degree...Director Piper Laurie entertainingly keeps him pacing and blustering and registering satisfaction when the audience laughs, which is also often...It’s a fully stuffed hour and a half. And a fun one." Full Review


"Jim Brochu, who both wrote and performs 'Zero Hour,' seemingly channels the roaring bellowing rhinoceros Sam 'Zero' Mostel...What makes the revival of 'Zero Hour,' beautifully directed by Piper Laurie, so timely for audiences today is the nearly 10 year swatch of time between 1947 and 1956. This is when political repression and government scare tactics spawned a communist witch hunt that destroyed the lives of thousands of individuals." Full Review


"'Zero Hour' is a wonderfully funny evening of theater...The unseen hand in this performance is that of Piper Laurie, the stage and screen actress, who handled the directorial duties. Brochu was never still, but his movements around the stage all felt motivated and natural. I was impressed with how Brochu, alone on the small stage of the Theatre at St. Clement’s, drew me into a world that he created all through the strength of his storytelling." Full Review


for a previous production "An informed, absorbing, highly entertaining one-person play...A delectably insightful homage...It is often meant as a compliment to say that an actor has gotten the essence of the real-life character that he may be impersonating. It is with a particular, if almost uncanny, distinction that Brochu does much more than that—just short of bringing Mostel back to life...Brochu's play and his perceptive performance owe much to the precisely paced direction of Piper Laurie." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

for a previous production “A fun and entertaining celebrity portrait that rises above the limitations of its genre and tackles some very important themes…A moving portrait not just of a talented man and his fascinating milieu, but also of a moment in American history that should not be forgotten…I found this show to be the most affecting account of the McCarthy era that I have encountered…Simply for reminding us to remember, 'Zero Hour' is worth the price of admission.” Full Review


for a previous production "Brochu impersonates girthful, mirthful actor Zero Mostel so accurately that his performance is tantamount to a reincarnation...Smartly directed by Piper Laurie...All is not vengeful blasts in 'Zero Hour,' however; in Brochu's hands, Mostel is often belly-laugh funny. Indeed, there's a show-business saying that insists it takes a star to play a star. By that reckoning, mark down Jim Brochu as a truly big star." Full Review

British Theatre Guide

for a previous production "Brochu starts with the advantage that he manages to look and sound like Zero Mostel, effortlessly catching the quirky mannerisms and Jewish intonations of the comedian turned actor...Jim Brochu paces the story well, gives his audience lots of laughs and then hits them in the solar plexus with the bad times. This solo show has already won awards out of town and deserves to augment them in New York." Full Review

NY Theater Scene

for a previous production “A strong, affecting one-man show…Brochu not only takes on Mostel's story, but he literally climbs into his skin…It is the portrayal, not just the surface attributes, which is so convincing…Brochu launches into the story with one-liners peppering the earnest monologue—sometimes not so funny, sometimes clever and witty…But it is in the second act that the show has its most powerful—and most attention-grabbing—moments...Brochu offers a fine tribute to this legendary man of the theater." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

for a previous production “Tackles the complex and contradictory life of Zero Mostel with a flourish that is captivating from the moment the lights come up...A night of thought-provoking entertainment…All of this is hysterically funny. The writing is marvelously witty…Very occasionally heavy-handed but certainly timely…‘Zero Hour’ reaches from the past to give us commentary on the hard times and tough choices that we face today…A night of deep thoughts and deeper belly laughs.” Full Review

Time Out New York

for a previous production "By all accounts, the great Zero Mostel blazed most brightly in live performance. So we owe writer-performer Jim Brochu a debt of gratitude for this extraordinary act of reincarnation (directed astutely by Piper Laurie), which restores the outsize actor to us in all of his daunting dimensions. From the moment Brochu spins around to face the audience, he is a Hirschfeld drawing come to pulsing life. You can’t help being swept up in the tornado." Full Review


for a previous production “Brochu’s knack for characterizing Mostel is somewhat more interesting than his avatar’s hand-wringing over the blacklist, which comes off as a little sanctimonious…Ultimately, though, the play works whether or not Brochu’s script searches Mostel’s life for nuance and color. Under the direction of Piper Laurie, his performance has plenty of both; the end result is frequently funny and always engaging.” Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production “In a biographical solo play about a celebrity, you can usually count on a few things. The conceit designed to get the famous person to narrate a highlights reel of a lifetime is going to be strained.…Those who see ‘Zero Hour’ are signing up for these conventions, so criticizing them is like bemoaning a musical for having a character break into song…How well does Jim Brochu imitate the singularly captivating Mostel?…It brings him back to life, just the way his fans want him.” Full Review

The Washington Post

for a previous production "A polished if predictable solo show...With his ample frame, expressive eyes and hair forced forward to cover a thinning scalp, Brochu looks spookily like his subject, for whom he's written the piece as a heart-engraved valentine. The vocal inflections, too, are absolutely impeccable...'Zero Hour' may be too formulaic to honor fully the memory of the mold-breaking actor it enshrines. Still, in his meticulously calibrated portrayal, Brochu pays Mostel the next best kind of compliment." Full Review

Intelligent, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if Jim Brochu is outstanding in the solo show about the life of Zero Mostel. This show encompasses way more than Fiddler. Highly recommend.

Don't see it if If you don't like American history including the '50's black list, or one man shows.

Masterful, Must see, Relevant, Great acting, Hilarious

See it if You want to see one of the best one man shows I've ever seen. This show has it all, a great story arc, depth, comedy, history. Great acting!

Don't see it if I can't imagine anyone not liking this show. Even if you normally don't go for one person shows this one feels different to me.

Refreshing, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to peek into the life of an interesting Broadway personality and if you want to hear more about the black list. I was engrossed.

Don't see it if You don't like one-man shows. Jim Brochu is multi-talented, and if you can ever catch one of his shows, don't miss it.

Great acting, Riveting, Masterful

See it if you admire great acting. Jim Brochu inhabits Zero and some of his memories (especially about the Blacklist) are truly moving.

Don't see it if you dislike one-man shows.

Great acting, Masterful, Great writing

See it if you want to see one of the finest one-man shows ever staged. Love discovering fascinating stories of old Hollywood and Broadway.

Don't see it if you can't sit through a 90-minute one-man show or don't love biographical pieces.

Also I didn't have the highest expectations going into the production, but ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Masterful

See it if you wan an amazing portrayal of Zero. He has Zero down perfectly -- from speech patterns to mannerisms. Poignant, funny, and charming.

Don't see it if you don't like one man shows or do not like Zero Mostel.

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

See it if You enjoy biographies of artists. Want to learn about Zero Mostel's life.

Don't see it if Your not comfortable with course language, McCarthy witch hunt, or do not enjoy one man shows.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Relevant

See it if You were a fan of Zero Mostel; if not, you should learn about this great actor.

Don't see it if you dislike one person shows.

Great acting, Masterful, Absorbing, Resonant, An homage to one of the greats

See it if You admired Zero Mostel. Appreciate an actor becoming the embodiment of a legend. Enjoy an intimate combination of history and entertainment

Don't see it if You expect only laughs/comedy. Prefer music and choreography. You don't enjoy solo performances. You were a fan of Joe McCarthy.

Funny, Intelligent, Masterful, Delightful, Informative

See it if Entertaining bio of a colorful person. Many funny and interesting stories. Excellent performance.

Don't see it if You don't like biographical plays or one person shows.

Delightful, Funny, Informative, Great acting

See it if Funny, enjoyable, interesting- a Delight

Don't see it if Can not think of a reason. Even people who normally avoid one person shows should like this.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if The story of Zero Mostel interests you

Don't see it if You don't like one-person shows

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful

See it if you enjoy a powerful one man show about a fascinating person. Brochu gives a masterful performance. He look and sounds like Mostel.

Don't see it if you don't like one person shows or Zero Mostel. You feel like you are witnessing a person with all his emotions and opinions exposed.

Delightful, Entertaining, Dated

See it if you have fond memories of Zero Mostel. He lived in interesting times and was an interesting person.

Don't see it if you have no idea who Zero was or care.

Also Zero lived through interesting times, including Mccarthyism. His stori... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Dated

See it if you like one-man shows in an intimate theater. You like shows about a real person. You like or know who Zero Mostel is & want to learn more.

Don't see it if you want a large cast or a play with multiple-person dialogue. You don't know or care who Zero Mostel is.

One-man show, Enlightening, Biographical, Ambitious, Relevant

See it if you want to know about Zero Mostel, the Hollywood Blacklist and its effect on individuals.

Don't see it if you detest one-man shows or if you don't know [and don't care to know] about Zero Mostel.

Cliched, Overrated, Interesting facts, Lacking heart

See it if You are interested in Zero, how he got the nickname, How he felt about and fared during the McCarthy era, how he met his wife of many years.

Don't see it if Here Zero is more a surface character than a person of substance. Some of the words carry real pain and concern, but they are just acted

Also or yelled. It is difficult to feel satisfied with such a surface depic... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Phoned-in performance, Overrated, Without feeling, And on auto-pilot

See it if If u want 2 find out more about Zero Mostel + his ups & downs incl surviving being blacklisted from a guy who kinda embodies the star...

Don't see it if If you'd prefer to see a performer who is emotionally involved in his performance and not an actor running on Auto-Pilot...

Also It could have been great... somewhere in his previous 600+ performance... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Masterful

See it if you like a solo act play about Zero Mostel. It was surprisingly delightful and very funny with great acting

Don't see it if you only like musicals

During previews
Great acting, Enchanting, Absorbing, Funny

See it if One of the best actors (including Broadway)around. About the fascinating life of Zero Mostel. Beautifully written, lots of laughs.

Don't see it if You don't like the best One Man performance. You don't like award winning plays. You don't want to be spellbound from beginning to end.

During previews
Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Riveting

See it if you want to see a 1 man show about the life of Zero Mostel by an actor who embodies him to the point you are mesmerized by him.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy 1 person biographical shows about a stage actor from the 1950s to 1970s, performed brilliantly and believably to perfection.

During previews
Funny, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Refreshing

See it if good old anecdotes with still relevant themes. good old-style humor and gives you a feel for this larger than life personality

Don't see it if it helps if you remember Mostel a little bit. less compelling if you don't like contrived nature of the one person inan imaginary interview

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy one-person performances. Or if you like Zero Mostel. You like an intimate setting in a small theatre.

Don't see it if You want a big musical. You've never heard of Zero Mostel.

During previews
Engrossing, Eye-opening, Funny, Well-acted, Fast-paced

See it if you can find the 90 mins. I didn't think I needed to see a show about ZM, but I did. Like ZM, the show is very clever and a little annoying.

Don't see it if you demand perfection. Brochu throws away some lines and hits others too hard. Some jokes are tired. Mostly, the evening is delightful.

Also Brochu mugs quite a bit as he follows ZM's lead, but the story still s... Read more Read less

During previews
Delightful, Entertaining, Clever, Masterful

See it if Jim Brochu presents his signature role as Zero Mostel. An interesting look at the highs and lows of a fabulous performer.

Don't see it if If you only enjoy musicals.

Cast & Creatives (5)