Norma Jeane Baker of Troy
Closed 1h 15m
Norma Jeane Baker of Troy
55

Norma Jeane Baker of Troy NYC Reviews and Tickets

55%
(54 Ratings)
Positive
35%
Mixed
22%
Negative
43%
Members say
Confusing, Disappointing, Ambitious, Great acting, Excruciating

About the Show

Renée Fleming ("Carousel") and Ben Whishaw  ("Skyfall," The Crucible") star in a dramatic work by Anne Carson exploring the lives and myths of Marilyn Monroe and Helen of Troy—iconic beauties who lived millennia apart.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (54)

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445 Reviews | 56 Followers
96
Riveting, Intelligent, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if Fleming and Whishaw are masterful. Complicated and absurd ... intelligently fun.

Don't see it if Not for everyone and that’s ok.

263 Reviews | 108 Followers
92
Great singing, Great acting, Thrilling, Truly original, Absorbing

See it if You're willing to be taken on this journey led by two phenomenal performances by Whishaw and Fleming.

Don't see it if You're looking for something straightforward because this isn't at all. Read more

106 Reviews | 32 Followers
85
Absorbing, Intelligent, Uneven, Great singing, Great acting

See it if you want to see the two great performers in an unusual performance piece

Don't see it if you are not well versed in Greek mythology or if you require a plot with a clear through-line

156 Reviews | 31 Followers
80
Great writing, Great acting, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if If you like word puzzles and being forced to think.

Don't see it if This is definitely not for everyone. will have you scratching your head at times Read more

58 Reviews | 9 Followers
80
Confusing, Ambitious, Clever

See it if you like the two actors, Renee Fleming and Ben Wishaw who are terrific even if the production is the epitome of strange.

Don't see it if you like a linear narrative with unambiguous themes and language.

524 Reviews | 133 Followers
80
Two superstars in a captivating duet

See it if Ben Whishaw dictates a screenplay about Helen of Troy to Renee Fleming who sings some of it. Ben's obsession with Marilyn gets in the way.

Don't see it if Unconventional theater that's not for everyone. But it's thrilling to watch Ben Whishaw become Marilyn right before your very eyes.

269 Reviews | 116 Followers
79
Clever, Great acting, Great singing, Indulgent, Ambitious

See it if If you want to see the actors perform beautifully and are at least reasonably familiar with Greek myth and Marilyn’s life. Very abstract.

Don't see it if If you insist on a clear plot being spelled out for you, or you will spend too much time trying to figure out who their characters are. Read more

154 Reviews | 12 Followers
75
Slow, Edgy, Confusing

See it if You are fans of Renee Fleming. You like a totally off the wall show. Very very very slow. But in the end I was moved.

Don't see it if You don’t want to experience a new theater and a new ( slow) piece. If you want big and flashy musical numbers. You are tired.

Critic Reviews (25)

The New York Times
April 10th, 2019

""Less a play than a staged poem...Carson is not the most immediately accessible of writers. Nor is Ms. Mitchell one to lead her audiences by the hand...Sometimes Carson’s conjunctions of figures past and present can seem both too obvious and too obscure. The show’s surprisingly predictable conclusion lacks the haunting resonance it aspires to. But the precise calibration of the physical production holds your attention...Whishaw and Fleming are, against the odds, marvelous.”
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Time Out New York
April 9th, 2019

"A piece that is luxurious and glossy, and that radiates intellect and pedigree...But ‘Norma Jeane' never manages to be more than...its superparts. It is stifling in its self-conscious gorgeousness...Although everyone involved is at the top of their games, ‘Norma Jeane Baker of Troy’ is not affecting...The match between Mitchell and Carson feels wrong...The claustrophobia of the production and the lightness of the text wage war against each other. Neither wins.”
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The Wall Street Journal
April 10th, 2019

“’Norma Jeane Baker of Troy’ is an embarrassment...’Norma Jeane Baker of Troy’ is a bore, for Carson’s ‘verse’ is flat-footed, clunkily colloquial and very political...A humorless two-person ‘melologue’...Clark’s score is a monotonous wall-to-wall carpet of synthesized drones and sound effects...’Norma Jeane Baker of Troy’ is pretentious without limit, a self-important assemblage of avant-garde clichés that goes on and on to no dramatic effect whatsoever.”
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AM New York
April 9th, 2019

“Despite Whishaw’s vocal and physical flexibility, the production eventually starts to feel like a pretentious, rambling bore. Followers of experimental theater may be able to make sense of the piece, however, and fans of Whishaw and Fleming may also find it somewhat interesting."
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Theatermania
April 9th, 2019

"What's onstage is pretty impenetrable. Whishaw perhaps takes on the role of a playwright, but it's unclear if that's his actual job, and it's similarly hazy why someone would be writing a play in what looks like the back office of a department store...I'm not really sure what this soporific piece was getting at; judging by walkouts and bewildered expressions of many audience members, I was not alone...The piece draws no clear-cut parallels between them and teaches us nothing new."
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New York Stage Review
April 9th, 2019

“Despite the able and game ministrations of Fleming and Whishaw, the enterprise is incomprehensible...The cast does march nobly onto the field of battle...Whishaw goes beyond the bounds of duty in a valiant attempt to bring life to Norma Jeane...Fleming has a most curious role, singing brief patches of jabberwocky...This develops into a frenzied but effective musical fury and hints at what Carson and Clark were trying to do...and how it might have been intended to work.”
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New York Stage Review
April 9th, 2019

“Expect to experience a gloomy and unrewarding chamber opera...Carson’s text offers dense content that’s probably better read than heard aloud. Carson’s buzzing soundscape scarcely seems like music at all. Even as Whishaw gets into drag and Fleming picks away at the keyboard, the rushing words and shivery sounds around them merge into an aural blur that’s difficult to comprehend, let alone appreciate or enjoy...The performances by Whishaw and Fleming can best be described as valiant.”
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Theater Pizzazz
April 12th, 2019

"This decidedly unconventional work is not without its rewards and compensations...Occasionally hypnotic, distinctly unconventional, and primarily less-than-comprehensible...Whishaw shows off an incredible commitment to the work...I admit that sitting through 'Norma Jean Baker of Troy' may feel hellish for those seeking a traditional theatrical experience, but, if you’re willing to go along for the ride, this is one trip that you may find quite worthwhile."
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