Already closed | 1h 30m | Midtown W

A White Man's Guide to Rikers Island

From 88 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intense

About the show

Based on a true story, this account of a privileged white actor who finds himself serving time at Rikers Island offers an eye-opening look inside our broken penal system and a cautionary tale for anyone of any race. More…

From the play:

After a drunk driving incident leads to an involuntary manslaughter charge, a privileged white actor find himself serving time at Rikers Island, where the population is over 95% people of color. For the first time in his life, Rich is now a minority and his skin color makes him a target. Caught between drug lords, gang members, and his wise trans cellmate, this clueless white man must learn how to survive the violence, horniness, and mind-numbing nothingness that is prison. All while trying to find forgiveness for his crime. Oh, and at the insistence of his Corrections Officer, write A WHITE MAN’S GUIDE TO RIKERS ISLAND for submission to the National Penitentiary Press Competition. Seriously.

1h 30m | Already closed | The Producers' Club (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (88)


Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intense
Avg Score

Tiny theater, Slow, Unfulfilled promise, Well-intentioned

See it if you enjoy I-was-there narratives, this one abt life in Rikers decades ago. Strg reminder never to drive drunk. One man play w lots of chars.

Don't see it if you want a searing indictmt of current prison sys. Wh privil angle isn't well-explored. Acting/staging a bit clunky. Humor often falls flat.

Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if If you want to see a true story about a person who was incarcerated in rikers island.

Don't see it if If you are not interested in a show that deals with incarceration. The white privilege comments get old after a while.

Slow, Intense, Interesting, Lacking, Earnest

See it if u want an engaging glimpse into a remote world (I hope) of life behind bars thru the eyes of a "privileged" white guy who made a fatal error

Don't see it if you expect real profundity on the topics of racial injustice, inherent white privilege, survivalism, or the state of the prison system.

Also This is a very personal story that feels more cathartic for author/act... Read more Read less

Slow, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Edgy, Disappointing

See it if Roy's youthful experience in Rikers prison makes for a potent drama & powerful indictment of white privilege Quasi-humor softens didacticism

Don't see it if Drama's power is undercut by Stewart's flat, strident performance as young Rich who's unable to bring the needed emotional depth to the part

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

See it if you want a true story of Rikers Island introduced and closed by the jailed actor, turned writer with a demanding performance by C.C. Stewart

Don't see it if you do not like one-person monologues where the actor plays multiple characters or you cannot imagine the setting from a nearly bare set.

Great performance, Thought-provoking, Educational, Clever, Absorbing

See it if intense monologs on series subjects appeal. Both actors are great communicators with a true story that exemplifies significant issues.

Don't see it if you are looking for a light entertainment. Lots to think about here.

Thought-provoking, Intense, Absorbing

See it if Drunken night and bad choices force an actor to navigate a perch in legal system. Multi-roled peek at life none will otherwise experience.

Don't see it if Playwright assumes birthright streamlines his hierarchal perch. Foolhardy is he to assume the same birthright behind incarceration's walls.

Sensitive topic, Too long, Funny, Great acting

See it if See a little of what can happen inside Rikers.

Don't see it if Rikers is not a fun day out in the sun. Subject major not for everyone.

Great acting, Great writing, Profound, Resonant, Absorbing

See it if You’re looking for a small brilliant gem. A great young actor you’ll see more of in the future. This is a stunner.

Don't see it if You’re looking for some light entertainment.

Intense, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if interested in one young man's true story that shows how a flawed criminal justice system & white privilege played out in his case.

Don't see it if you don't care for what is essentially a one person show. The playwright bookends the show which is about his experience as a young man.

Also The young actor, Conner Chase Stewart in a very difficult role, is ver... Read more Read less

Relevant, Interesting, Absorbing

See it if you are interested in racial issues, the justice system and its inequalities and in white privilege.

Don't see it if if you do not like one-man shows, are offended by explicitly violent or sexual stories or are not interested in these topics.

Entertaining, Slow, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy insights into worlds that you otherwise are not exposed to - in this case being a privileged white inmate and living with guilt.

Don't see it if you don't like one man shows.

Also While the author focuses on injustices in the penal system I thought t... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Dated, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if one man's story re his time at Riker's. Very talented actor performed many characters seamlessly. Outdated because laws have changed since

Don't see it if You want a current reflection of Riker's. As of Jan 2020, prisoners will be released without bail pending trial.

Informative, Great writing, Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want to see a well written and performed play about someone who experienced the penal system at Rikers Island.

Don't see it if You are not interested in hearing about what goes on at Rikers Island. You don't want to see a well performed piece.

Also I learned a lot about Rikers Island. I already knew it was an overcrow... Read more Read less

Resonant, Riveting, Funny, Great writing, Great acting

See it if you enjoy dramatic tension, suspense, intensity, realism, and ironic humor re serious social, political, and cultural issues in one act

Don't see it if you or someone you care about are black, Hispanic, or LGBTQplus, spent time incarcerated, and sensitive to negative stereotypes re same

Also Keep your eyes open for future work by young actor Connor Chase Stewar... Read more Read less

Refreshing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if A true story about the NY Correctional system.

Don't see it if If the topic of correctional institutions makes you uncomfortable.

Intense, Relevant, Too long, Ambitious

See it if you like autobiographical stories. The young actor is fervent and emotional. An unusual angle -- as described in the title.

Don't see it if you're put off by stereotypical depictions: Puerto Ricans, transsexuals, privileged white guys ...

Also Maybe because I was sitting in the first row, at times the emotional i... Read more Read less

Relevant, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like great story telling by an exceptional actor and kept my interest all the way.

Don't see it if If prefer plays that are happy. This is an intense piece of work

Well-meaning, Problematic, Ambitious

See it if you want to hear a white man's perspective on the criminal justice system.

Don't see it if you want a truly nuanced examination of justice in American society. The show still trades in some pretty problematic stereotypes.

Also This show was incredibly well-meaning, but it uncomfortably straddled ... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like a play that makes you think. Life upturned by a reckless act, a true story of a privileged white man's time in Riker's Island.

Don't see it if You prefer shows that make you smile.

Too long, Disappointing

See it if Actor playing the lead is not great but he is very talented at playing various characters.

Don't see it if Playwright wants us to believe that he has an important story to tell re:race but I didn't see that and I found the show rather boring.

Also Roy tries to posit his story as that of a man finding himself in the m... Read more Read less

Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want a prison biopic about white privilege. The acting is great and the story is intense. Tells a lot about prison life.

Don't see it if You do not like dark topics or violence

Intelligent, Riveting, Relevant, Edgy, Great acting

See it if you want to see a very well-delivered monologue that addresses white privilege and inequities in the criminal justice system.

Don't see it if you want to see a more lighthearted or ambitious production. This is a pretty dramatic story told on a barebones set in a tiny theater.

Intense, Edgy, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want an idea of what life is like inside a prison, namely Rikers Island in NY. Enjoy mainly a solo performance

Don't see it if you're offended by violence and vulgarity. want a musical or other lighter themed show

Also Well-written/acted show that gives a glimpse of what prison life @ Rik... Read more Read less

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if you want a story of a man surviving a short prison sentence through his privilege.

Don't see it if you're upset by depicted violence or sexual situations.

Also The script throws alot of statistics at you about our dysfunctional pr... Read more Read less

July 27th, 2019
“Racial injustice is explored in the confessional A ‘WHITE MAN'S GUIDE TO RIKER'S ISLAND’ at The Producer's Club”
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July 29th, 2019
"'White Man's Guide to Rikers Island' transports the audience from the privilege and prominence of a New Jersey golf club to the cacophony and brutality of New York's Rikers Island prison."
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July 29th, 2019
"The vividly written text offers a starkly revealing view of realities from which most of us are protected…I'm betting that you'll hang on every word. You'll also be left with some ugly truths that are impossible to dismiss."
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July 27th, 2019
"Connor Chase Stewart is enthralling as a young man serving a prison sentence for a drunk driving killing in this searing and dynamically presented drama. The script is a canny blend of finely sculpted autobiography and documentary facts cohesively shaped into a compelling narrative."
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