Already closed | 2h 0m | Chelsea

Holy Ghosts

From 49 member  reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Intelligent

About the show

Romulus Linney’s drama sees a group of faithful, broken Pentecostal outcasts finding solace, understanding, and strength in one another as they wrestle with their own serpents and discover their divinity. More…

Fleeing an abusive marriage, Nancy finds herself surrounded by a religious flock and their charismatic shepherd. When Nancy’s husband, Coleman, hunts her down, battle lines are drawn and a fiery war begins. 

2h 0m | Already closed | Urban Stages (Chelsea)

Member Reviews (49)


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

Oddly intense, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if You like large ensemble pieces that start out seeming like one thing but eventually reveal some truths that are real eye openers/plot twist.

Don't see it if You’re not willing to open your mind to some pretty out there ideas as rational and as reasonable ways of coping.

Ambitious, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if Story of wife leaving abusive husband and accepted in Church base community. good acting.

Don't see it if A bit long and a lot of yelling. If abuse bothers you and the story line does as well.

Evocative, Sermonizing, Thought-provoking, Slow, Intense

See it if you want to experience the emotion & theatricality of a revival service of rural Southern Pentecostal snake handlers in search of redemption

Don't see it if you're turned off by shouting & histrionics; you hope for a denunciation of religious extremists [The religiosity is depicted with respect].

Also Although there's a narrative at the center of Holy Ghosts (about a you... Read more Read less

Thrilling, Affecting, Thought-provoking, Well played, Unusual

See it if you’d like to take a clear-eyed but sympathetic look at a slice of rural, religious America that doesn’t often make it to the NYC stage.

Don't see it if the thought of sitting through big chunks of a Pentecostal service makes you queasy.

Also The script to the acclaimed playwright Romulus Linney’s early (ca 1971... Read more Read less

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

See it if you want to experience a slice of life in which religion and real-life situations provide comfort and conflict in a diverse rural population

Don't see it if you do not want to be subjected to a specific religious view that includes bible interpretations, a long service, including hymns and prayer

Absorbing, Profound, Intense, Traditional structure, Too long

See it if you enjoy a character driven plot with dramatic twists. Well presented with some lovely monologues.

Don't see it if old fashioned well made plays are boring for you. This one is a bit longer than it needs to be.

Entertaining, Slow, Too long

See it if A woman who is finding peace thru a Pentecostal church. Each member of the church tells their story of how they came to this church.

Don't see it if Too long of a show. If you have a problem with God, Faith.

Also I like the singing hymns. What I did not like is that one character th... Read more Read less

Cliched, Preachy, Boring, Intense, Excruciating

See it if If you love being preached +screamed at for 2 hours this is the show for you ! If you love watching typical struggles of good versus evil go

Don't see it if If you are want to see a decent piece of real theatre. This is more like an endless slog in a fundamentalist church service.

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

See it if you are interested in what drives people to turn to extreme religious groups for comfort; you enjoy a well acted and written drama

Don't see it if you only like musicals; or need a big splashy production or big name actors in a drama; you have an extreme fear of snakes (real or not)

Absorbing, Riveting, Resonant, Great acting, Great writing

See it if If you’re a Romulus Linney fan. This is a really great small production with a great cast.

Don't see it if You’re looking for something light or a musical.

Great ensemble acting, large for black box, Authentic hymn singing and portrayal of religious service, Thought-provoking

See it if Young wife flees abusive husband and seeks solace in a healing religious community that accepts all the flawed people who enter its doors.

Don't see it if It may be hard to see and generalize the power of faith and the healing found in community given the offbeat, cult-like sect portrayed.

Also The snake handling and poison drinking Bible verse may have been a lat... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if a victim of domestic abuse & a Pentecostal church service with the members telling about their issues that led them to the church

Don't see it if not interested in a play that shows faith helping people & gives them a sense of community; a long show with frequent shouting

Also The Pentecostal service is spontaneous so the frequent shouting goes w... Read more Read less

Riveting, Intelligent, Great acting, Funny, Edgy

See it if you want to understand more about snake handlers and what draws people to do this. Strong performances and insightful characters.

Don't see it if you hate Christian music or religious themes.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great singing, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to feel like you're at church, enjoy some great music, singing and acting. You want to see what can happen in religious settings.

Don't see it if You are offended (you shouldn't be) by a performance about the Pentecostal faith. You don't want to feel like you are in church.

Also I was totally entertained at this performance. I enjoyed the singing a... Read more Read less

Great acting/directing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Interesting, A bit to long

See it if you like plays that explore humans using religion to help cope with their interrelationships, emotional states and psychological health.

Don't see it if dislike struggling with how to interpret themes relating to people's attitudes toward atypical religion in rural America.

Ambitious, Edgy, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Some good acting

See it if you're interested in strange religions in the rural South. A large cast acquits itself well. To discuss this further would reveal spoilers.

Don't see it if you don't like shouting actors. I was in the front row so that might have added to the high noise level.

Also There are several musical interludes -- hymns -- performed quite well.

Thought-provoking / entertaining, Some good performances, Large cast in small venue / ok set, Intense / different / refreshing, Well-written / edgy & humorous

See it if you'd like a glimpse of a Pentecostal service. Church starts 30min in. You're immersed in prayer, song & testifying, while story continues.

Don't see it if you don't want to sit thru 2hrs of intense arguing, even thru 90min church service. You should. Book has interesting resolve & conversion.

Also Lots of audience church hand-waving & singing...... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Quirky, Great writing, Thought-provoking

See it if you'll enjoy a seldom-performed play by an important playwright.The script makes you empathize w/some odd characters doing weird things.

Don't see it if you aren't willing to endure being screamed at most of the 1st act;some actors were unintelligible at times.

Ambitious, Slow, Well staged, Good ensemble, Weak script

See it if You're up for well-cast, fine performances in a weak, too easily predictable script with too many hymnal stops along the way that add little

Don't see it if You can't suspend disbelief.

Also It's unfortunate that the best line in the evening came from director ... Read more Read less

Funny, Slow, Cliched, Confusing, Monotonous

See it if you're interested in plays that are essentially just monologues strung together with a thin through line.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with foul language or want a more profound play.

Slow, Absorbing, Intense, Relevant

See it if an ensemble drama set in present day & immersed in a congregation's effort to ease one another's pains intrigues, or you're a fan of Linney.

Don't see it if you shy away from topics relating to religious fervor & practices, or to domestic abuse; you'd prefer light, comic fare & more linear story.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Great staging

See it if you want to see a large cast show, which is rare in such a small space. Nicely acted, well staged, quite absorbing and atmospheric. It works

Don't see it if you are bothered by religious subjects, you don't care about southern rural culture, you don't like rather slow-moving and developing shows.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You want to see a well performed, well directed and well acted play showing the need for community.

Don't see it if you dislike plays about religion.

Also The play was excellent, but could have been somewhat shorter.

Slow, Intense, Cliched

See it if it's a noble effort by a plucky group of actors to breathe life into a play that doesn't quite work. Some performances are strong.

Don't see it if The play is both difficult and weak. The exposition is artificial; the stage is stuffed with people who take turns delivering monologues...

Also Several of the actors need to control their volume in the small space:... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intense, No matter your opinion of backwoods "holy roller" religion, it will be challenged and deepened by this compelling drama. a must see,

See it if You needn't be religious to be riveted by this play--in fact it's better if you aren't. I didn't think I'd like it but it blew me away.

Don't see it if You have zero curiosity about the ways lonely damaged people find one another and make a community nor any interest in their accomplishments

September 24th, 2018
"Director Judson Jones has not overcome the script’s structural failings. The dialogue seemed a little forced and the transitions weak, but mostly Mr. Jones could not overcome his cast using shouting as a substitute for emotions...We love Theatre East’s mission of fostering new plays of social re...
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October 3rd, 2018
“Not the most action-filled piece, but it’s not intended to be. Instead, it is a slice of life drama...Watching this story unfold is fascinating and ominous...The amounts of grace, care, and compassion shared by this congregation are deeply touching. Yet beneath it lies a troubling, blinded cult-...
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September 28th, 2018
“The show is about 80% exposition/story-telling, but it works, beautifully...I worked on the last NY production of ‘Holy Ghosts,’ 40 years ago. I was quite impressed with the show, had a major flaw. It turns out that play holds up very well--and this production actually fixes the flaw......
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September 30th, 2018
“Outstanding revival...Jones and his actors take great care ensuring that the play never gets out of control...Jones adds a nice touch having worshipers occasionally look into the audience as if to bring them into their circle...Because Linney’s writing is so powerful, the service and play’s clim...
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