Kentucky NYC Reviews and Tickets

(37 Reviews)
Members say
Funny, Entertaining, Clever, Delightful, Original

About the Show

Ensemble Studio Theatre presents Leah Nanako Winkler's new play about a New Yorker who returns to her home state of Kentucky to try to prevent her born-again sister from marrying at 22.

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Member Reviews (37)

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Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Ambitious, Quirky

See it if You like diverse casts, funny but believable story, family sagas, satiric but warm look at evangelicals, family violence & Good oil' boys

Don't see it if Humor, drama & the absurd turn you off, family violence and treating fundamental Christianity with satire turns you off

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great design team

See it if you want to be introduced to a new playwright, Leah Nanako Winkler. Also, if you like comedy mixed with moving moments.

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with the themes of abuse and born-again Christianity.

Critic Reviews (8)

The New York Times
May 1st, 2016

"'Kentucky' is a riff on the family play, the homecoming play, the coming-of-age play and also occasionally a musical. The style is what a naturalistic play might look like after several pitchers of juleps...Under Morgan Gould’s energetic though sometimes frenetic direction, the characterizations flirt with stereotype and elements of the action feel less than credible...But if the script is overstuffed, 'Kentucky' marks the full-length debut of a distinctive new voice."
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Time Out New York
May 2nd, 2016

“The characters are living cartoons, delivering lines—under Morgan Gould's direction—at a manic pitch. When it works, the show's voice is refreshing and witty; when it doesn't, it takes on the puffed-up dimensions of a soap opera. Too often, Winkler makes the subtext text, not giving the audience a chance to draw its own connections. There's a fresh, affecting play mixed in with all the filler. But, like its heroine, ‘Kentucky’ still has some growing to do.”
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Lighting & Sound America
May 5th, 2016

"Winkler is a nervy and sometimes witty writer, but hasn't provided a foundation that can accommodate screwball comedy plotting, ugly family confrontations, and dashes of Southern Gothic eccentricity...At least, the director, Morgan Gould, has signed up a personable and talented cast...By turns giggly, sentimental, and brutal, 'Kentucky' is a pretty unpalatable mashup of styles and tones, none of which are enough to freshen up its well-worn you-can't-go-home-again theme."
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Stage Buddy
May 10th, 2016

"Ms. Winkler proves to be a master at combining genres that would feel disjointed if used by lesser writers. She is a keen observer of human nature who captures violence, pain and sorrow with honesty, but can’t help but offer us a glimpse of empathy and endless wonder. If by the end of the play, Hiro is still feeling out of place, it’s clear that Ms. Winkler has found her home, and one hopes she’ll stick around for a very long time."
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May 17th, 2016

"Ms. Blair and the brilliant ensemble cast of 'Kentucky' bring Hiro’s quest to a level of believability and authenticity while managing to allow the playwright’s humor and magical realism to counterpoint the dramatic arc of the story...America’s population is widely different and often unyielding in accepting differences in ideology, culture, and religion. 'Kentucky' places these issues in a framework accessible to a diverse audience...'Kentucky' resonates with the sweet bitterness of honesty."
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Theater In The Now
May 2nd, 2016

“There is an excitement and charm to Nanako Winkler's language. The accessibility draws an immediate bond with the audience...'Kentucky' was sublimely constructed and adoringly envisioned. Director Morgan Gould infused a spark of life in her staging, keeping the play moving, driving excitement and soul in every beat...'Kentucky' has not only put Leah Nanako Winkler on the map but ensured her as an important player in contemporary theater.”
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Epoch Times
May 3rd, 2016

"An evening of flat-out hilarity...With all elements under Morgan Gould’s direction, Katie Spelman’s choreography and Sariva Goetz’s music direction and vocal arrangements add to the overall excellence of this production...The play, which on one hand is a comedic romp, also offers food for thought on a variety of important topics. 'How will this fadge?' as one of Shakespeare’s heroines once questioned. So see the play. I highly recommend it."
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Fuck Yeah Great Plays
May 5th, 2016

“Winkler’s dialogue floats between realistic and poetic without whiplash, and serves both whirlwind Hiro and the drawls of everyone around her....The large and refreshingly diverse ensemble is full of actors I’ve loved in other shows recently...Megan Hill, manages to steal all her scenes...Ultimately, this is a play about moving forward.”
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