Norma Jeane Baker of Troy
Closed 1h 15m
Norma Jeane Baker of Troy
56

Norma Jeane Baker of Troy NYC Reviews and Tickets

56%
(55 Reviews)
Positive
34%
Mixed
24%
Negative
42%
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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Member Reviews (55)

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866 Reviews | 898 Followers
39
Excruciating, Insipid, Nonsensical, Pretentious, Indulgent

See it if no reason to go.

Don't see it if not even if you must see one of the actors. Read more

841 Reviews | 1006 Followers
22
Pointless, Boring, Excruciating, Disappointing

See it if You want an excuse to check out Hudson Yards or The Shed.

Don't see it if You don't want to be bored. The first 30mins of this show is literally a man dictating a script to a woman who is typing. Seriously? lol Read more

MJK
677 Reviews | 186 Followers
60
Oddly engrossing, Ambitious, Pretentious, Confounding, Original

See it if u want to see 2 riveting performers sing/speak/recite their way thru a mannered, artsy, sluggish avant-garde experiment in a new arts space.

Don't see it if ur a Whishaw or Fleming fan & expect an easily accessible piece of theatre. [This is strictly for fans of Carson or nonconformist theatre.] Read more

687 Reviews | 113 Followers
65
Indulgent, Edgy, Confusing, Cliched, Ambitious

See it if As it hypotically moves in & out of clarity, seems to be less about Greek saga as about women's empowerment Whishaw & esp Fleming quite good

Don't see it if Writing is dense, opaque & willfully esoteric yet strangely compelling as an exotic soundscape Monroe/Helen figure conjures doomed soul

464 Reviews | 70 Followers
31
Boring, Slow, Excruciating, Great singing, Disappointing

See it if you are fans of both terrific performers and don't care what they are doing.This is dull, overwrought, over written and way too long.

Don't see it if you can avoid it.It really felt as if I had just wasted 90 minutes, plus travel time, plus time away from my dog, plus money for the ticket.

449 Reviews | 115 Followers
60
Confusing, Disappointing, Edgy, Indulgent, Great singing

See it if only if you are a devoted fan of either Renée Fleming or Ben Whishaw.

Don't see it if you have no patience for pretentious, confusing, underlit productions.

430 Reviews | 114 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.

402 Reviews | 86 Followers
65
Indulgent, Slow, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you're a fan of Renee Fleming or Ben Whishaw. The soundscape is interesting and the set is beautiful.

Don't see it if you want a play that will hold your attention. It is a poetic play and experimental, but that should not mean boring and indulgent.

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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