The Trial of an American President
Closed 1h 20m
The Trial of an American President

The Trial of an American President NYC Reviews and Tickets

(30 Reviews)
Members say
Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Relevant, Intelligent, Great acting

About the Show

Shelter Entertainment and Hello Larry present a dramatic mock trial of former U.S. President George W. Bush for war crimes—and audience members get to decide if he's guilty!

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Member Reviews (30)

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Ambitious, Slow, Refreshing, Clever

See it if What if president Nixon did not resign? The play explores that.

Don't see it if Direction was all over the place and so was the acting. The good the bad and the ugly

Disappointing, Overrated, Slow, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you want a biased and simplistic presentation of complex historical events. Would have been a great idea if a compelling debate was written

Don't see it if you are irritated by biased and simplistic presentation of historical events and characters. there is no argument made for or by Bush. Bore

Ambitious, Dizzying, Slow, Relevant, Cliched

See it if are interested in play about geo bush presidency and what would happen if he was put on trial years after gulf war

Don't see it if not a fan of political drama or interested in george bush

Great acting, Disappointing, Relevant, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if Good premise Excellent visuals

Don't see it if Could have been better

Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if You like history and politics. You are interested in the Bush years.

Don't see it if You like fast paced plays. You don't like politics.

Clever, Ambitious, Relevant, Intense, Slow

See it if you're a political junkie who is well-versed in the Bush years, you like audience participation, you like talky shows

Don't see it if you aren't interested in politics, you need something zippy with a lot of plot, you can't handle discussion of war crimes

Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You want an entertaining discussion after the show.

Don't see it if Could spend your money better elsewhere

During previews
Ambitious, Cliched, Indulgent, Unbelievable, Nonsense

See it if You want to see a completely unbelievable scenario manipulated to try and somehow produce an unbiased trial.

Don't see it if unless you have an overwhelming urge to see George W Bush say and do things that he would never say or do.

Critic Reviews (10)

September 29th, 2016

"It's a rather sleepy exercise in self-righteous indignation masquerading as an honest examination of one of America's greatest blunders...With a script so heavily weighted against Bush and an audience predisposed to abhor him, there is never any doubt that Bush will be convicted by a wide margin...The entire 75-minute affair is more a liberal revenge fantasy than a genuinely gripping courtroom drama...Stephen Eich directs a technically proficient production that occasionally verges on camp."
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Lighting & Sound America
October 12th, 2016

"If you're expecting that the point of staging this mock trial is to provide fresh insights into the disasters of the Bush Administration, you've come to the wrong place...That Tony Carlin isn't very effective as Bush is hardly his fault...Tarlow is unwilling to allow for the ambiguity or clash of ideas that might create real drama...The only thing that keeps Stephen Eich's production watchable is its slick design...Even a really terrible president deserves a better play than this."
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October 10th, 2016

“Trial is stacked against Bush from the get-go. The director, the author and probably the actor seem to have decided to make Bush full of twitches, nervous eye movements and religious fervor. Had Bush been portrayed as a stronger man who truly believed in what he did, the play might have had a dramatic spine. The very fact that after being convicted by a jury of audience members, Bush’s last word is a tearful outcry—’Laura’—serves to induce not empathy, but pity.”
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Theater Pizzazz
September 30th, 2016

"A most interesting theatrical experiment...There is splendid use of technology, with voiceovers and videos...The play, by Dick Tarlow and Bill Smith, is so well crafted that arguments ensued after the last curtain call and the house lights were on. Heated exchanges among audience members, between husbands and wives, continued from the theater to the lobby, the elevator and the ladies’ room. The excellent direction is by Stephen Eich."
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September 29th, 2016

"Despite all its good intentions, it's not a very good play...Carlin does his best to make us buy into the Bush persona. Unfortunately his best isn't convincing enough to buy into the conceit of the set-up...'The Trial of an American President' warrants a flunking grade...Unless the Bush and Cheney families decide to attend a performance, it's a pretty sure bet that Bush's fate will be the same for most of the play's run...Enlisting the audience to serve as jurors is ineffective and gimmicky."
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Front Row Center
September 30th, 2016

"To be sure Mr. Carlin has perfected a serious vocal imitation of GWB, and if you close your eyes, which you will be tempted to do, the effect is chilling...This is a court that bears no resemblance to a court. A trial that doesn’t sound like a trial. A narrator that has no reason to be there except for exposition–and too much of that will smother a story. The result is a mash-up of good intentions, fact, and no drama...Good intentions and no structure do not a successful combination make."
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Broadway Blog
September 29th, 2016

"For the many who believe that Bush not only began an unjustified war in the wake of 9/11 but incited problems that have become exponentially worse with the rise of ISIS, among other cancers, seeing him as an ICC dartboard target will likely be a mild cathartic, no matter how rigged against him the playwriting may be...If you weren’t paying attention back then, consider this play a valuable history lesson. If you were, you won’t hear anything you didn’t already know."
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DC Theatre Scene
September 29th, 2016

"An earnest, informative and flawed mock trial...It behooves the authors to have been more diligent in the presentation of their research. This is especially true if they are going to ask the audience to make a judgment based on it....A more trustworthy presentation would have been much preferred to the clunky efforts of the production to suggest the trappings of the court, such as portentous echoing sounds and some tin-ear exposition by 'the narrator.'"
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Times Square Chronicles
September 29th, 2016

"This show is timely and perfect for the political junkies out there...Mr. Carlin is a believable Bush, complete with accent and deer-in-headlights look. Mr. Rogers is authoritative and demanding, and drives home the point. Ms. Kakkar is perfect as the Narrator, whose soothing voice adds just the facts in a no-nonsense tone. They are all perfectly cast...Stephen Eich’s direction drives the point home, though at times it becomes monotonous."
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Off Off Online
October 16th, 2016

"Tony Carlin plays an earnest former President who is convinced of his righteousness but not arrogant or prideful...The play is documentary in style, grounded in historical evidence, legal argument, and reference to international treaties and conventions...Although the verdict, left up to the audience, is pretty much a foregone conclusion, it is the detail that is finally so impressive...Some might say 'Trial of an American President' is a beautifully dramatized trial and not theater at all."
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