New York | 1h 30m | Already closed


From 5 critic and 38 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Great staging

About the show

Colt Couer presents Stephen Belber's new drama, a poignant and probing play about the life of a contemporary American woman. More…

There are times in our lives—likely far too many—when who we are and who we want to be don't necessarily align. Joan is restless but gracious; she’s loving, but she’s a jerk. A daughter, sister, lover, mother, artist, and citizen, Joan is a flawed and wandering soul seeking the authentic in a world that gravitates the other way. She lives, and then she dies. "Joan" is the story of her life.


"Playwright Stephen Belber offers an intricate character study comprised of a barrage of brief nonlinear scenes chronicling the eventful existence of a woman from childhood to the age of 62. With the craft and depth of a fine novelist, Mr. Belber creates a mosaic of pointed incidents imparting vital information. These pass by rapidly with no discernable shape but then at the conclusion everything majestically falls into place...Johanna Day is towering as Joan." Full Review

Stage Left

"A kaleidoscopic look at its fictional, titular character through a lens of sweeping longitude that slowly creates an absorbing and dramatically effective portrait, at once banal and spellbinding...It is easy to imagine how in lesser hands this structure might come across as facile and disjointed, but Day is a treasure of the stage...The portrait of humanity painted by Belber’s play—especially given Day’s exquisite performance—is moving precisely because of its simplicity and ordinariness." Full Review

New Yorker

"‘Joan’ has led a normal existence...What’s less ordinary is how...Belber tells her story: in nonchronological vignettes that jump around various points in her life. Day does not inflect her portrayal as her character’s age shifts...It’s a daring choice that may turn off some audience members...Harrington and Neshat are marvellous as Joan’s family and friends, and Campbell-Holt directs with her usual sensitive touch...Even when it’s overwritten, ‘Joan’ is a fractured portrait that holds toget... Full Review

The New York Times

“For a play devoted to the ever-elusive mysteries of human existence, 'Joan' is remarkably transparent...Tedious grade-school-to-grave drama...Seldom very illuminating...Despite its scrambled, globe-trotting chronology ‘Joan’ is easy to follow...Belber provides snappy dialogue...If only the inhabitants of ‘Joan’ weren’t quite so fond of metaphors, which tend only to underline what we’ve already figured out.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

“You might nearly dislocate your jaw trying to suppress yawns through the heap of clichés that make up ‘Joan’...What partly relieves the play from its multitude of tired tropes is the way Belber manipulates the chronology...’Joan’ proves to be far more effective in style than substance. Although the triste story is terribly threadbare, at least the way the play has been rendered and staged is skillful.” Full Review

Great acting, Great writing, Absorbing, Thought-provoking

See it if you like shows that give you insights into people's motivations.Acting is SUPERB--Joanna Day and Adam Harrington are knockouts. GO!!!

Don't see it if you want something light and frothy. This is a VERY funny show, but it makes you think and has a lot of very touching moments.Worth the trip

Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Must see

See it if Through morphene haze, a photog recounts flashes of her life. Accomplished Johanna Day finds the vehicle for the full display of her talent.

Don't see it if Multiple-character supporting roles without props or wardrobe.Memory play not in chronological order.Age span from 10 to 62 not always clear

Also Vague set is prickly Joan's patchy brain.

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Riveting

See it if You enjoy amazing acting, up close in a small intimate theater.

Don't see it if You prefer light-hearted entertainment.

Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Compelling

See it if you can. The acting is exceptional, the writing and direction amazing, and the play feels deeply familiar and truly surprising all at once.

Don't see it if you're in the mood for something flashy and fun. Then, on another night, go see this.

Great acting, Edgy, Intense, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You enjoy plays that are in a small theater, in your face and leave you bawling

Don't see it if You don’t want to feel emotional after, perfect musicals and hate plays.

Smooth, Thoughtful, Well-paced, Witty, Kind

See it if you want a theater experience that's deeply human and open-hearted. This feels so honest and genuine about a contemporary American woman.

Don't see it if you expect a lot of big theatrics; this uses a really simple set and lighting. Don't expect big, show-stopping speeches that'd win awards.

Also This production is so smooth, with actors flawlessly and efficiently f... Read more Read less

Great writing, Riveting, Intelligent, Masterful, Exquisite

See it if You like beautifully written plays. No great revelations here, but it is still moving and profound. Lovely acting.

Don't see it if You are looking for a spectacle or lots of action.

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Quirky, Clever

See it if you would enjoy the ups and downs of one woman over the span of much of her life. Well directed with great light, sound, projection.

Don't see it if you are looking for a plot w/ a definite ending. This is a review of moments presented that you string together. 2 actors in multiple roles.

Absorbing, Slow, Funny, Quirky

See it if One woman life spam from childhood to the end of her life. The choice she made.

Don't see it if no action, goes back and forward during her life time.

Great acting, Character study, Intelligent writing, Finds meaning in ordinary life

See it if From a collage of nonlinear scenes, an in-depth image of a woman’s life emerges: a daughter, a child, a sister, a photographer, a mother...

Don't see it if You want a traditionally structured plot, characters with costumes, and more than a very minimal set.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You like seeing great acting and directing

Don't see it if You are not into existential pieces. The writing is sometimes self consciously verbose, the arc leaves us unedified.

Intelligent, Engaging, Ambitious, Indulgent

See it if You enjoy arch dialogue, with lines tweaked for maximum sarcasm or profundity. Time and place shifting excerpts describe a restless life.

Don't see it if You would be too distracted by even kids speaking like grad students to enjoy the depiction of a life spent in search of meaning.

Great acting, Great staging, Indulgent, Slow, Intelligent

See it if You love Johanna Day, you're interested in the human condition/what women wrestle with throughout life, u love a deep dive into 1 character

Don't see it if you have a low tolerance for poetry and (sometimes self-indulgent) searches for meaning

Also The cast is fantastic, the simplicity of the set and staging is refres... Read more Read less

Great staging, Great acting, Indulgent, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in non-linear storytelling and getting a picture of how a woman evolves over her life.

Don't see it if You have a low tolerance for dense, poetic dialogue or enjoy plot-heavy theatre.

Disappointing, Overrated, Slow

See it if I like the author’s previous works, but this didn’t captivate me.

Don't see it if Don’t see it if you want a polished play. It struck me as a work in progress.

Thought-provoking, Profound, Intelligent, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You like shows that consider the Big Questions with warmth, poetry, and deep insight.

Don't see it if You're looking for another zippy drama filled with TV stars and one-liners.

Absorbing, Great acting, Exquisite, Great staging, Profound

See it if You are interested in the human condition and are willing to go on an intense, emotional, journey that you'll be thinking about for days.

Don't see it if You don't want to have to use your brain or you want something fast or flashy... Or if you hate nonlinear storytelling.

Masterful, Intense, Resonant, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy masterful performances and great characters and you want to laugh and cry and appreciate life is about the moments not the years

Don't see it if You want something boring and predictable

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Intriguing

See it if Great acting, versatile performers, interesting story, intriguing premise, flawed characters

Don't see it if You need linear story lines, feel-good characters or happy resolutions to life questions.

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

See it if The acting is superb, and each actor evolves seamlessly from one character to another. The dialogue is punchy, real and at times beautiful

Don't see it if If you expect action, straightforward plots and narrative and little insight into characters, this play is not for you.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Profound, Resonant

See it if You want to see an extremely powerful and incredibly moving performance from Johanna Day - so simple and unaffected. She is a master.

Don't see it if You want a Broadway style show with high production values. This is simple and pared down.

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a virtuoso performance from Johanna Day. I had never heard of her and was amazed.

Don't see it if Don’t want to cry.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy

See it if Three actors play different characters at different stages in life. Great Acting and staging and script. A must see in this intimate space.

Don't see it if You don't like plays that go back and forth in time.

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Epic, Great acting, Resonant

See it if You like story of a life-type shows. She certainly goes through a lot.

Don't see it if You are more into boring stories or just don't like plays. I don't know. It's not expensive. Go see it.

During previews
Clever, Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Ambitious

See it if You’re interested in contemporary work and the human condition - a story about a woman trying to live her life her way for herself,

Don't see it if You prefer linear shows, and expect visual stimulation.

Cast & Creatives (11)