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Everyone's Fine with Virginia Woolf

From 26 critic and 57 member reviews
Members say: Quirky, Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Indulgent

About the show

Elevator Repair Service presents a sharp-witted parody of Edward Albee’s classic drama 'Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf?", both as a loving homage and fierce feminist take-down.  More…

Kate Scelsa slyly subverts the power dynamics of the original play’s not-so-happy couple. In the end, no one will be left unscathed by the ferocity of Martha’s revenge on an unsuspecting patriarchy. 

Theater Pizzazz

"A hilarious parody…A wild and wonderful romp that will make your head spin (as well as your belly ache from laughing)…Scelsa’s wild parody is both an affectionate homage as well as a blazing assault on Albee’s classic…Scelsa wrote the play expressly for ERS ensemble members, whose roles fit like kid gloves...Directed with panache by the audacious and adventuresome John Collins, who fuels the production’s boundless energy and unpredictability." Full Review

The New York Times

“A take-no-prisoners approach to satire...Theatergoers acquainted with Albee’s play will savor this production’s dizzy echo chamber of words and visuals...Those unacquainted with the play’s literary arcana can sit back and watch the cast riff jazzily on Scelsa’s punch-drunk dialogue...If 'Everyone’s Fine' is partly a rebuke to what male playwrights do to their female characters, it also bubbles with a love of theater at its most brazenly theatrical that Albee would surely recognize." Full Review

Bomb Magazine

“The reason ‘Everyone’s Fine With Virginia Woolf’ is such giddy fun is because everybody in it seems deliriously in love with the project. Longtime-performer-turned-playwright Kate Scelsa clearly adores the Edward Albee classic, quoting it, joshing it, trying to adjust its sexual politics…And in an audience of die-hard ERS obsessives, she’s also her own company’s biggest fan, tailor-fitting each role for its actors.” Full Review

The Observer

“A mass deposit of theatrical allusions and styles, postmodern textual strategies and pop trivia...Scelsa’s script is a glitter bomb of meta spoofery and nested references...As ‘Everyone’s Fine’ spins into a second and third act, it grows increasingly fragmented and weird...John Collins’ springy, athletic staging lands each hyper-literate joke while not stinting on the sight gags...Scelsa shows you can love Edward Albee, while giving him a good hard spank over your knee." Full Review


“Scelsa's witty, trenchant parody of Albee's play packs a thesis-worth of critique on the way men perceive and portray skewed images of women through the distorted lens of the American patriarchy...At its best when it's riffing on Albee's work, rather than concocting its own scenes...The humor tends to subside in those moments, but otherwise, director John Collins does a terrific job of creating a parodic Albee universe.” Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

"All this antic cleverness becomes slightly dizzying, but Collins’s staging remains consistently hilarious throughout a brisk 75 minutes. And the cast navigates Scelsa’s zany text with deadpan flair, particularly McNamara whose Martha combines the brains of Diane Keaton with the brawn of Glenda Jackson…The famously controlling Albee is probably spinning in his grave. But Collins insists in the programs that there’s a lot of love for him here." Full Review

Stage Left

"a vicious and hysterically funny conversation exploring notions of truth and reality and the nature of fiction…The lightness of the interrogation, though, and the messy overlap of arguments and ideas within, largely prevent Ms. Scelsa’s points from taking root in any serious or impactful way…This feels ok and forgivable, though, because of the intelligence of those ideas and arguments, and the ambition of the overarching enterprise—its collective zaniness well-captured by director John Colli... Full Review

Show Showdown

"A rollicking feminist take down of/tribute to Albee's masterpiece...The show veers from insanely wonderful Tennessee Williams' monologues to a visit to hell with a PhD student. The main section, the parody itself, bursts with zip, sexuality, and fabulous bad jokes. The hell section suffers from a drop-off of energy...I'm not totally sure that all the critical parts of the show are fair to what 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' actually is, but the ERS's version bursts with humor and brilliance." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“A hilarious, if perhaps overdone, parody...Scelsa allows the characters to speak the subtext in hilarious ways, transforming Albee’s play from a funny, serious drama to a raucous comedy. The play succeeds most when Scelsa carefully toes the line between parody and homage...Entire cast is excellent at imitating these familiar characters and commenting on their absurdity...Eventually, the play spins out of control and goes out of its way to comment on its source...A good laugh.” Full Review


“A raucous re-imagining of Albee’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’...Collins easily balances the Sixties sexual revolution Albee honed in on and the raw recent revelations of predatory behavior in the workplace, academia included. He clearly encouraged the cast to explore every comedic possibility, which works because the source material is all about mayhem...Provides an Epilogue...It’s entirely probable and appropriately messy, just like George and Martha.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"Rapid-fire 75 minute farce complete with sight gags, slamming doors, and slamming drinks. The more you know about the original, the more you’re likely to appreciate this effort. It's an odd homage, as well as a deep dive into gender studies...Proves overly complicated in its attempts to liberate its female protagonist amid a barrage of cultural and literary shout-outs...Still, director John Collins and scenic designer Louisa Thompson supply some visual yuks." Full Review

Daily Beast

“Scelsa’s frenzied satire, directed in the same spirit by Collins himself, features feminism mixed with farce mixed with a literary rollercoaster ride, with the base ingredient of Albee’s chowed-down source material...Even if the play’s own intentions are cloaked in clouds of parody and satire, for its first two acts its humor and serrated edges command our attention and laughter...Then it heads towards a finale - that, to this spectator at least, made little sense." Full Review

Off Off Online

"A zany mash-up of literary pastiche, pop cultural references, and slapstick, in which Scelsa purloins the four characters of Albee’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’...and unleashes her ferocious narrative imagination…Scelsa’s parodic trip to the underworld may have honest feminist, literary-critical objectives; but ‘Everyone’s Fine,’ funny as it is, does little more than ridicule a few highly mannered leading female characters, fabricated by two gay male literary geniuses.” Full Review


“In this broad but intelligent comedy, the actors don't have to worry about subtext...These people are nuts and we all know it. In less imaginative hands, this would leave the play with no place to go. But Scelsa broadens the satire by turning it into a treatise on female empowerment...The best audience is probably a group of twenty-something English majors...For others, the play may seem like a very good SNL sketch that goes on a bit too long.” Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

“The opening scenes are terrific, a smart, hysterically funny reinterpretation of Albee’s original...Starts out like a wild and raunchy, NSFW Carol Burnett Show skit, with clever wordplay as the characters explore sexual boundaries, self-oppression, and the lowly human condition...But the play soon devolves into too much self-parody and repetition, going way over the top...A slash-fiction version that is unable to sustain its seventy-five-minute length.” Full Review

Stage and Cinema

"An abundance of quips, clever remarks, and innumerable references to drama and contemporary culture make for an engaging enough spectacle, especially for college graduates of a certain type; I confess I felt lost at times amidst all the references...John Collins’ sharp, fast-paced direction, and the cast’s energetic performances keep the mood lively, the audience laughing, and the time flying. Yet in the end, the play leaves one unmoved." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Less a deconstruction than a demolition derby...For roughly the first quarter of its 70-minute running time, the play is very funny...Scelsa’s writing is witty, the adept actors deliver amusing cartoons, and Collins’s staging features clever metatheatrical sight and sound gags. But zany parodic energy is hard to sustain, and 'Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf' slips into repetition...The play is provocative, but where does all this send-up and takedown leave us?” Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"One would have to stay on the surface of the text to find misogyny and patriarchy as significant themes of the playwright or his male characters. Apparently, playwright Scelsa has chosen to identify those exact themes in her deconstruction of Albee’s play...Scelsa’s retelling is, at times, funny...See ‘Everyone’s Fine’, if you enjoy riffs of classic American plays and arcane references to those plays. Refrain if you are seeking a thoughtful deconstruction of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.'” Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"I have mixed feelings…about the effort, some of which is incomprehensible while some is quite funny, if not as thought-provoking as its creators might have intended…There's really no way to appreciate Scelsa's take on 'Woolf' without close familiarity with its plot and characters…played as steroid-level farce…Whatever sociological points Scelsa wants to make are buried in tons of exaggerated behavior…The actors acquit themselves well at this…pseudo-academic literary silliness." Full Review

Village Voice

"Scelsa...sets out to parody Albee’s work, taking the male playwright to task for his treatment of female characters...There’s rich material here...But Albee’s play is already so sardonically high-strung, crammed full of angry jabs and potent booze and weaponized parasols, that a dramatic response might be more compelling if it veered in the opposite direction — slowing down, taking 'Virginia Woolf' apart for closer examination...An amped-up, stomach-churning take on the original." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

“The gags come flying fast and furious but few of them land...Barely sustains its comic energy through its brief running time. Despite impressively committed performances from the ensemble, the piece ultimately feels like a Carol Burnett sketch with intellectual pretensions...The comic riffs seem random...There's no faulting the ensemble...But their efforts go for naught in this ill-conceived twist on a classic that already cleverly comments on itself.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

“An incoherent, amateurish, arguably homophobic slog…By the middle of this play little is making sense…Scelca’s preferred device for critiquing Albee, in this proudly feminist reclaiming, is to critique him for being a gay man writing about women by caricaturing other gay men writing about women…Sex-obsessed sophomoric romp through literary allusions, providing occasional entertainment but no insight.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“It's not just the general absence of wit, although the parade of sophomoric semi-jokes makes for some notably heavy going. Collins' production relies on crude bits of staging...Any five minutes of Albee's play are funnier than the totality of ‘Everyone's Fine With Virginia Woolf’...Substandard performances...Has but one point to make, which it does with thudding repetition...Plays like a SNL sketch that has unaccountably been allowed to fill the entire time slot.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

“Were Albee alive today, he likely wouldn’t be so fine with this send-up of his play. Rightly so…What Scelsa has in mind to do with her 75-minute insult is fairly clear. While declaring in a program note that she greatly admires the work—with admirers like these, Albee doesn’t need detractors—she does quarrel with some of its elements… Whatever Scelsa is doing, it isn’t humorous. This is true of all the loudmouth carryings-on that director John Collins does nothing to discourage.” Full Review


“The promise of a wry send-up very quickly descends into pretentious pointlessness…A numbing and unfunny 70 minutes…Made for a campy late-night diversion at an East Village night club in the early 1980’s but as a full-fledged contemporary theater piece it is woefully negligible…It is difficult to imagine that Albee who was renowned for his prickly protectiveness of his works would not have reacted publicly to this hollow meta exercise that is a complete waste of time.” Full Review

Intelligent, Great writing, Hilarious, Edgy

See it if You like feminist, absurdist, hilarious, modern, madcap takes on classic plays. This is not your grandpa’s Albee.

Don't see it if You prefer your classics classic. This was deliberately anachronistic and wild.

Relevant, Quirky, Great writing, Clever

See it if you want to see how these characters fare in the 21st century. You love a good fan-fiction.

Don't see it if You are an Albee purist.

Clever, Quirky, Hilarious, Great writing

See it if Love Virginia Woolf this is for you. Funny, quirky, contemporary take on a classic play.

Don't see it if Don't know Virginia Woolf then it may not be for you.

Overdone, Clever, Great acting, Edgy, Hilarious

See it if This prod. is avery funny parody worthy seeing.The writing is great, overall a great production well directed with a very talented actors

Don't see it if You can’t stand overdone loud screaming scenes

Quirky, Profound, Edgy, Clever

See it if you understand the plot devices of Albee's original and know the issues with it. Plus, if you enjoy ERS way of presenting a story

Don't see it if you prefer a normal, linear, boring theater

Clever, Ambitious, Intelligent, Edgy, Dizzying

See it if Scelsa's corrosive, funny & highly po-mo send-up of Albee's ...Virginia Woolf w/ bullying feminist Martha "woman-splaining" with a vengence

Don't see it if Author looses narrative thread in last 15 min w/George (ERS vet Vin Knight - brilliant) morphing into a drag Judy Garland singing love songs

Great acting, Funny, Clever

See it if A riff on WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, not a parody, more like a deconstruction on the themes, with amazing actors and a clever script.

Don't see it if you like linear narrative with a developmental arc.

Cliched, Quirky, Resonant, Clever, Funny

See it if you know the play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. It is a lot funnier if you realize what has been changed for this production.

Don't see it if you are unwilling to skim the original play or at least the Cliff notes.

Enchanting, Entertaining, Intelligent, Funny, Clever

See it if you like innovative theater

Don't see it if you only like traditional theater

Quirky, Indulgent, Funny

See it if you like ERS shows... if you like VERY broad comedy... and if you also have a deep knowledge of the theatrical canon

Don't see it if you don't like experimental, absurdist, satirical, broadly comic works... not everything makes sense... but you'll probably have fun!

Hilarious spoof of albee and much more....

See it if If you know Albee's play and are ready for a zany spoof that also tackles other cliches of theater & film. If you liked Collette Richland

Don't see it if You dont know or didnt like the Albee play. Want a logical, explicable succession of events, get impatient if you dont know what's going on

Also This is not for everyone, and the venue is not the most accessible. Bu... Read more Read less

Hilarious, Indulgent, Quirky, Confusing, Clever

See it if You're a lover of internet fandoms and Great American Theater. You are conversant with Williams, Albee, Ibsen, and slash.

Don't see it if you can't stand farce or satire. You don't know what fan fiction is (or you do, and you've never read it).

Disappointing, Funny, Dizzying, Quirky

See it if you like funny high-energy satires about how women are portrayed by Albee (and also Tennessee Williams) with many literary references

Don't see it if want satire that is more subtle and not SNL skittish or you don't like the work of Elevator Repair Service; don't like narrators to sum up

Also I usually love the zany work of Elevator Repair Service and liked the ... Read more Read less

Reminds me of an old, over-the-top satirical carol burnett tv show skit, but this skit goes on far too long

See it if 1st several scenes promising send-up of Albee play; parlor game to identify all literary references

Don't see it if soon over-the-top hyper-sexualized/straight and gay jokiness becomes boring; by end spins out of control; some actors can't do satire

During previews
Clever, Great staging, Quirky, Intelligent, Hilarious

See it if you're up for a silly parody, if you into skewering classic theater orif a feminist take-down piques your interest.

Don't see it if you want your serious theater to be serious, if you hold the classics as sacred, or if you mind a little camp.

Also A familiarity with "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is going to help ... Read more Read less

During previews
Great writing, Raunchy, Great acting, Dizzying, Clever

See it if You're a theater nerd and enjoy other theater nerd riffing on the classics. Insanely talented cast and great theater space.

Don't see it if You're not familiar w Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf or are nervous about trying to keep up

During previews
Enchanting, Great staging, Great acting, Funny, Clever

See it if Extremely funny and wild play.

Don't see it if It's very up in the air and pretty preachy, but it's so funny, who even cares?

During previews
Great acting, Quirky, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You like Albee, Williams, and Will & Grace and/or analysis of all of the above.

Don't see it if You've never read or seen "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Also I absolutely loved this play, but it certainly won't be for everyone. ... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Clever

See it if You like a gentle, smart ribbing of Edward Albee's original.

Don't see it if You want something a bit deeper than clever and light.

During previews
Intelligent, Dizzying, Great acting, Hilarious, Quirky

See it if You are interested in an update of the Albee play, with added elements from Twilight. Fast-paced and hilarious.

Don't see it if You don't like funny plays or references to same-sex relations. Knowledge of Albee adds an extra layer, but it could be enjoyed without.

During previews
Great staging, Quirky, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining

See it if you like the original and are open to a revision full of laughs.

Don't see it if if you expect the original, anything serious or are bothered by screaming.

During previews
Contemporary, Great acting, Relevant, Funny

See it if Because it’s ERS. Because theater is a living art and not a sacred relic. Because it’s fun and funny.

Don't see it if If you need your theater preserved under glass.

During previews
Quirky, Dizzying, Entertaining, Confusing, Clever

See it if You're ready for an outrageous and hilarious feminist terror attack on the patriarchy as represented by Albee's "Who's Afraid..." Delicious!

Don't see it if You're an old stick in the mud who doesn't realize that the late Edward Albee would have secretly approved of this and enjoyed it.

During previews
Entertaining, Funny, Confusing, Clever

See it if It help if you know alittle the outline story, but not needed, it's funny and I laughed alot.

Don't see it if If you think it the movie and book.

Also The first act was alot of fun and second ok I still had a idea what wa... Read more Read less

During previews
Surprising, Quirky, Intelligent, Funny, Clever

See it if You like smart absurd comedies. Over the top yet they reign it in and actually leave you with an explanation of it all.

Don't see it if You don’t like farce or just completely ridiculous takes on classics, in this case, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf.

Cast & Creatives (13)