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The Hairy Ape

From 288 member reviews
Members say: Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intense

About the show

Park Avenue Armory and the Old Vic present O’Neill's expressionist drama, a searing social commentary on the divide between the rich and poor in the industrial age. Starring Emmy winner and Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale. More…

Cannavale stars as Yank, an unthinking laborer searching for his place in a world controlled by the wealthy. His journey from the bowels of a transatlantic ocean liner to the wealthy neighborhoods of New York society literally revolves around the audience like the conveyor belt of a larger machine, serving as a metaphor for the struggle between the working man and the industrial complex. The revival is directed by Olivier winner Richard Jones and is based on a previous mounting he helmed in London.

Member Reviews (288)


Great staging, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intense
Avg Score

Riveting, Intelligent, Great staging, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if you want to see a classic play staged in a way that offers new insight and understanding about belonging.

Don't see it if you are only interested in traditional staging. Here, you are in the center of it all.

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy

See it if A powerful play that speaks volumes about how people suffer from societies outlook. Bobby Canavalle is in total control of the character.

Don't see it if Playwright O'Neill is not your bell wringer.

Absorbing, Great staging, Resonant, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if unusual, disturbing early O'Neill - a non-realistic but fascinating take on class warfare; the visuals are amazing and the space is unique.

Don't see it if you need a rational plot or are uninterested in social commentary.

Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting, Great writing

See it if impressive performance by Bobby Cannavale! His performance was fiery, authentic, and poignant .This play is an outstanding visual artwork.

Don't see it if I can not think of any reason not to see this play...everyone should see it!

Also The set design was unique and innovative...I was really mesmerized .Th... Read more Read less

Great staging, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you are a Bobby Canavale fan, as he's in every scene, and if you enjoy a well written play with some very unusual and interesting staging...

Don't see it if you are not a fan of O'Neill's and don't like shows about the haves and the have nots...

Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if you enjoy Bobbie Carnevale in a play with an impressive setting that has an important message

Don't see it if if you do not enjoy extremely stylized plays that are too long.

Also I'm glad that I saw the play, but I was disappointed that my seat was ... Read more Read less

Confusing, Great staging, Intense, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see Bobby Cannavale give a bravura performance.

Don't see it if you're not up for a serious O'Neill drama.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Resonant, Masterful

See it if You are curious how classics can be made entertaining to a modern audience. You want to experience incredibly dynamic staging and acting.

Don't see it if You aren't fond of symbolism. You want a strong story line. You don't care for "experimental" theater.

Ape in perfect shape

See it if you enjoy great acting in a cavern with stadium seating. Cannavale, Costabile and crew keep coal coming. Scalding hot production will amaze.

Don't see it if Hard plastic seats biggest issue. Sprawling venue itself a zoo to navigate. Scrape $30 for Ape. Visually lavish and provocative.

Also Matinee best given the inconvenient venue. Director Richard Jones more... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great staging, Existential, Unnecessary, Bold

See it if you enjoy a truly masterful staging - inventive and intense. Good acting. The presnetation is fresh but the content old and unnecessary.

Don't see it if you don't like weird and not straightforward storytelling. You want a truly thought-provoking show - this one is rather pretentious.

Masterful, Must see, Profound, Great staging, Great acting

See it if You want to experience a once in a lifetime event with masterful acting, staging, visuals. Very impactful. Bobby Cannavale rocks!

Don't see it if You want a light hearted, simple and straightforward show.

Also The staging is out of this world!!!

Epic, Masterful, Must see, Riveting, Great staging

See it if you have any interest in O"Neil and want to see a brilliant staging of a rarely produced, perhaps second rate play of his with BC who rocks!

Don't see it if You dislike polemical, didactic, extreme talkiness and can't overlook these flaws in early O'Neil in a production which is beautiful, unique

Also This was an all-time high for me in seeing a production of this calibe... Read more Read less

Impressive, Ambitious, Great staging, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see a play done on a grand, masculine, massive scale. Filling the entire space of the Armory this play impresses! Cast is great!

Don't see it if You aren't up for a play about social classes, industrialization, greed & cultural apprehension. The seating may prove to be a challenge.

Great staging, Great acting, Intense, Intelligent

See it if Brilliant staging; outstanding lead actor

Don't see it if Want the script to be primary


See it if you're up for a long 1.5 hour drama.

Don't see it if you prefer light fare. Makes basic observation that we all want to be loved or at least liked. Subtitle could be how terrorists are grown.

Also I may be in the minority, but no matter how well it's done, it didn't ... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great director, Great production team, Absorbing, Must see

See it if Production made extraordinary by the built space at the Armory. It is important to exit the opposite way you reached your seat...

Don't see it if you only like comedies, and light fare.

Also It is important to exit the opposite way you reached your seat, by the... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Cliched, Dizzying, Amazing production design, Great acting

See it if you love theater that is a unique experience. Using the armory and creating a theater within really elevates this story. love bobby canavale

Don't see it if not the best o'neill story and the dialect is very heavy handed. The use of the space is very non traditional.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Masterful, Profound

See it if you want to see one of the best Off-Broadway productions of the year; it takes you to another world and you never quite come back out of it.

Don't see it if you are opposed to Eugene O'Neill.

Great staging, Dated, Disappointing

See it if You've never seen this play. Like really great staging.

Don't see it if Want any emotional involvement.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if you love great writing, acting, staging in a landmark space. The play is old but still relevant. Great NYC theatrical experience.

Don't see it if you want conventional plot and narrative or you expect Bobby Cannavale to be funny. This role is a game changer for him.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Original staging, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy great acting. Bobby Cannavalle deliveries a tour de force performance. Great ensemble and well staged.

Don't see it if are looking for easy entertainment with this thought-provoking drama that is as relevant today as when it was written in 1922.

Must see, Masterful, Profound, Riveting, Relevant

See it if You want to see a brilliant and contemporary realization of a rarely performed O'Neill classic. Cannavale and his ensemble and set - bravo!

Don't see it if you enjoy enjoy musicals.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Edgy, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy message theater with great performances and unique staging in a great space. Very timely topic of class.

Don't see it if you don't like innovative staging and sometimes difficult material.

Absorbing, Great staging, Intense, Profound, Quirky

See it if You want to take a look at Eugene O'Neill's works. Never seen this fantastic staging before. Still relevant themes.

Don't see it if You prefer traditional and Broadway theaters. You are disturbed by modernist themes and expressions.

Riveting, Relevant, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want a visually stunning expressionistic play that fills the huge drill hall with dramatic sights and sounds. Very unique experience.

Don't see it if you don't want to see Bobby Cannavale in a great performance. Deals broadly with class and wealth as only O'Neill can. Run, don't walk!

March 31st, 2017
“A mesmerizing revival…O’Neill’s nightmarish parable of alienation and class conflict still feels close to home…Mr. Jones’s interpretation is ravishing enough to please the sort of aesthetes who worship Robert Wilson’s exquisite dreamscapes. But this production also rings with primal pain...Mr. C...
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March 31st, 2017
"A staggering, last-word revival...Cannavale's body is giving us expressionism while his smooth interpretation of the speech is giving us realism...It anchors a production, gorgeously directed by Jones, that is otherwise full-tilt expressionism on the grandest scale...The performances of the othe...
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April 10th, 2017
“Yank is an embodiment of the playwright’s ideas about theatrical naturalism and how to elevate it beyond the proscenium and make it deeper, spookier…Reading ‘The Hairy Ape,’ you’d never imagine what Jones comes up with, and those surprises are the reason the production is such a thrill…Jones’s t...
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March 31st, 2017
"Environmental theater doesn’t come any more powerful than the staging of 'The Hairy Ape'...Cannavale superbly brings his raw, macho physicality to the leading role...The play is not exactly subtle in its language and themes. Director Jones exploits that artificiality by visually emphasizing the ...
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