New York | 2h 50m | Already closed

Troilus and Cressida (Delacorte)

From 34 critic and 148 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Great staging, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intense

About the show

Tony-winning director Daniel Sullivan returns to Shakespeare in the Park with this rarely produced play. Both warriors and lovers play hard to get in the Bard's surprisingly modern epic set in ancient Greece.  More…

In the seventh year of the Trojan War, Troilus, a young prince, pines for the affections of Cressida, a bright young woman who knows how to play it cool. Meanwhile, the heroes of the Iliad–Ajax, Ulysses, Achilles, and the kings they serve–debate whether to return their dangerously beautiful captive Helen or continue to fight without end. Nations and lovers alike do battle in this funny, piercing drama about romance and revenge in a world at war. Presented by the Public Theater for free outdoors in Central Park.

2h 50m | Already closed | The Delacorte Theatre (Upper W Side)


"This vital production set in modern times is exactly what Shakespeare intended…This is Shakespeare at his most subversive and in a dynamite production like this, it is absolutely thrilling to behold…Thanks to specific and fleshy performances, we get to intimately understand each character's relationship to the conflict…By setting his production in this century, Sullivan draws a none-too-subtle parallel between the protracted conflict in 'The Illiad' and America's own seemingly endless wars." Full Review


“This production – so well directed by Daniel Sullivan and blessed with a cast of some two dozen top-notch actors – makes the case for ‘Troilus and Cressida’ as one of the great Shakespeare dramas, often puzzled over but hardly ever seen. The plot unfolds with clarity, and while Sullivan employs modernisms he completely honors Shakespeare’s language, and the wonderful performances make it accessible to our ears...You are unlikely to see as good in the foreseeable future." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"It’s up to a great director to guide this piece, and Sullivan handles it craftily...Aided by a powerful cast, he makes the opportunity to see this Shakespearean also-ran an unmitigated delight...It’s not really the story that grabs us in this production...Ultimately, it’s the (almost universally) stellar performances that make the play what it is...Considering how seldom this play is produced and how well it’s done, it’s worth the wait.” Full Review

New Haven Review

"Sullivan’s cast does justice to the play’s changing focus without letting any segment overstay its welcome...There’s no 'all for one, one for all,' in this war, and yet the dedication to carnage and the acceptance of wasted life seems to be the price of admission for the kinds of heroics Shakespeare and Sullivan are subtly skewering. So seldom done and here done so well, The Public's 'Troilus and Cressida' should be seen and celebrated." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“Sullivan brings a remarkable order and clarity to those cankerous, often confused proceedings; if he can't supply a strong of sense of forward motion, he nevertheless knits the scenes into a starkly powerful vision. Sullivan has also assembled a superb cast who speak the verse with rare lucidity...It's not likely that we will get another production of ‘Troilus and Cressida’ that is this clear about what it wants to say - or one that is as mordant in saying it.” Full Review

Epoch Times

"Often considered one of Shakespeare’s problem plays, and certainly one of his most disconcerting, few works better illustrate the hypocrisy of war...The play certainly defies easy classification, with elements of comedy, romance, and tragedy told against a historical backdrop, one mood giving way to another at a moment’s notice. Sullivan solves this problem by having the entire cast play their roles brimming with passion." Full Review


"There’s nothing quite like seeing the works of Shakespeare. Add to that the Delacorte Theatre’s setting in Central Park, and you have a match made in heaven. And that’s exactly what The Public’s production of 'Troilus and Cressida' was...The acting was far from the rigid, traditional acting often associated with Shakespearean productions; each actor embodied their character...A perfect example of the Public’s mission to bring dynamic and inventive theater to the broadest range of audiences." Full Review

Edge New York

"Daniel Sullivan has provided the Public Theater and its audiences with what may be the best Shakespeare in the Park production I have ever seen...Sullivan proves his brilliance once again in this vital presentation that captures the essence of a play: one of Shakespeare's hardest to render properly...Many of the performances are memorable, and the whole is at first funny, then unnerving and finally affecting." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Sullivan’s production is so ferociously good, so unexpectedly funny and searingly modern that it achieves that thing all productions of Shakespeare are at some level striving for: overcoming the language barriers to present a story you can lose yourself in as easily as a play in modern English...By far the cleverest, most subtle moment of the play, however, was that which wordlessly explained the end of Troilus and Cressida’s romance...This isn’t caprice, it’s survival." Full Review


“While ‘Troilus and Cressida’ is rarely staged, Daniel Sullivan’s production full of bombs and smoke suggests that in our time of endless wars it speaks to us again, and the play’s cynicism also seems to capture the current zeitgeist. It also features memorable performances from John Glover, John Douglas Thompson, Max Casella, Sanjit de Silva, and Alex Breaux, among others.” Full Review


"Director Daniel Sullivan and an ace ensemble of actors make what works about the play really crackle. While the story can get a little heavy-handed, the evening boasts a fun assortment of performances as it barrels toward a horrific finish...Mendes gives a standout performance, giving Cressida a contemporary edge that contrasts with the romanticizing of war that comes out in the poetics and bravado of the men surrounding her." Full Review

The New York Times

"The new Public Theater production of this relatively obscure Shakespeare play gets many things right, but its biggest triumph is to make us reconsider the reputation of a work derided for haphazard jumps from romantic declarations to military strategizing, from bawdy banter to moral questioning...A vivid, fleet-footed rendering by the director Daniel Sullivan and his adept cast, who weave the play’s disparate strands into a surprisingly effective whole." Full Review

Front Row Center

"Despite a few long-winded monologues from the Bard, and female roles that are far from satisfying, this powerful staging, with a veteran company that’s not fooling around, is Shakespeare in the Park at its best. 'T&C' is rarely produced to begin with; a production this solid should not be missed. Director Daniel Sullivan is at the top of his game in creating a cohesive and entertaining night out of what is often referred to as one of Shakespeare’s 'problem plays.'" Full Review


"Director and designers deserve considerable credit for managing to surprise a New York audience, without resort to gimmickry…The entire cast is remarkably strong,..Thompson as Agamemnon, Hyland as Nestor, and Stoll as Ulysses transform Shakespeare's Greek leaders into convincing military bureaucrats of the present day…Glover appears to delight in every minute on stage. And when such a masterly actor enjoys himself, it's guaranteed the spectators will have a jolly time, too." Full Review


"Director Daniel Sullivan prudently races through the boring stuff to get to the second act, in which he sends two armies of handsome, able-bodied actors into homoerotic battle to fight the suddenly sexy Trojan War…Under Sullivan’s direction, the seven-year war never lets up. Even as scenes are being played on stage, soldiers roam the theater aisles and do battle just outside the non-existent walls of the stark industrial set." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Daniel Sullivan’s marvelously intelligent and thoughtful modern-dress production of Shakespeare’s darkly comic problem play...Drenched in irony and whipping in tone from bawdy comedy to near-nihilistic tragedy, 'Troilus and Cressida' offers little by way of plot or sympathetic characters...But its language is richly rewarding, and its understanding of military and sexual politics, elucidated in Sullivan’s staging, feels trenchantly modern." Full Review


"'Troilus and Cressida' is not a work with great emotional resonance, but Sullivan’s extremely cogent, beautifully acted production never fails to involve us. Much of the credit is due to the large cast, as practically each performer has been ideally chosen for his or her role...There are no fancy magic tricks here. And while the modern dress costumes and 21st-century props never feel completely organic, they eventually cease to matter much...The play truly is the thing." Full Review


"'Troilus' has been naturalized into 2016 idiom, making it delightfully easy to follow, if you don’t mind all the mugging that comes along with it…The final 20 minutes of the second act are almost non-stop smoke and gunfire. My sole gripe with the production was an over-reliance on hand-to-hand combat sequences, which are difficult to pull off for extended periods without calling attention to their staginess." Full Review


"Sullivan’s modern dress production manages to smooth over the tonal shifts quite effectively, staging the romantic scenes with great fervor and the comedy as pointed satire...Directorial brilliance can only go so far without an able cast, and this one comprised of veterans and rookies is sublime...This is not an easy play, but given our own unsolvable problems echoing global conflicts today, there is much gold to be mined here." Full Review


"The war raging around young lovers Troilus and Cressida is pointless. But that’s precisely the point of Shakespeare’s tragedy with a wickedly comic undertow…If the Grecian-Trojan war that pervades 'Troilus and Cressida' brings to mind current conflicts, that’s no accident. Director Daniel Sullivan brings Shakespeare’s seldom-produced anti-war, anti-hero, anti-romance farce into sharp 21st century focus, complete with selfies, social media and assault rifles." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Sullivan, abetted by an excellent ensemble, does about as well as one can with this difficult play. He stages the complicated action with fast-paced vigor and clarity, and imbues the violent battle scenes with visceral intensity...The plotting is mind-numbingly intricate…That it registers as powerfully as it does is a testament to the fine performances...This is a 'Troilus and Cressida' in which the play is very much the thing, and that, ironically, is its chief weakness." Full Review

AM New York

"The play is choppy and long (running three hours). But Daniel Sullivan, who has directed many shows in the park, delivers a smart production that views the ancient conflict from a contemporary standpoint…The battle scenes are built up with fight choreography, weaponry and splattered blood…As Cressida, Ismenia Mendes draws a full character arc out of a problematic role." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"One of the problems facing Shakespeareans is whether ‘Troilus and Cressida’ ever was staged in Shakespeare’s lifetime. It has wonderful moments, brilliant language, bawdy humor, and vivid characters; it also bears relevant satirical messages about war and the corrupting power of lust. As Sullivan's competent but not especially memorable revival demonstrates, though, these disparate qualities aren’t enough to overcome a production whose most distinctive scenes belong in a ‘Rambo’ movie." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"The battles in a way overshadow the thwarted love story that is key to the plot...The production is dynamic, but overlong, and director Sullivan obviously has worked hard to find ways to keep our attention, especially with the gunfire onslaught that erupts with appropriate, smoky scenic effects...Since 'Troilus and Cressida' is rarely performed...this mounting provides a chance to freshly evaluate it. On that score alone, it is worth seeing." Full Review

Theater Life

"'Troilus and Cressida’s' main problem is its sprawling story line, split between the battlefield and the bedroom...Sullivan overcomes the unwieldy nature of the play with a tight modern-dress production employing Uzis rather than swords and shields. Parallels are drawn between America’s military involvements and the ancient squabble over Helen of Troy’s romantic habits. The love match between the title characters takes a back seat to literally explosive battle scenes and military intrigue." Full Review

Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Refreshing

See it if You enjoy a fresh interpretation that turns a "problem" play into a mind-blowing and captivating success.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare or modern twists on classic plays.

Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious, Masterful, Must see

See it if you'd like to see a production of a Shakespeare play working on every level that not only succeeds but that redefines the play

Don't see it if you're not willing to work to follow the production. It's a challenge but a worthwhile one.

Absorbing, Epic, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you enjoy things about the Trojan War

Don't see it if you don't like a huge shift of genre

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Epic, Intense

See it if You want to see a strong, engrossing production of one of shakespeare's more challenging works

Don't see it if Confusing, often out of place sound design bothers you

Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Romantic, Absorbing

See it if You don't know this play. What a great introduction to a lesser-done Shakespeare. I love the way the text was interpreted.

Don't see it if You have an early morning. This play is long! Way too long, even for the Bard.

Must see, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing, Delightful

See it if wonder what a great modernized WS play looks like;luv superb performance n hot guy;appreciate creativity perfectly instilled in classic work

Don't see it if you cant accept 3-hr long play; you dont want anything Shakespeare

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Epic

See it if you love TROY, THE ILIAD, or obscure Shakespeare! The most contemporarily-spoken Shakespeare I've seen in a long time!

Don't see it if You object to homosexuality on stage, you're a Shakespeare purist, or you hate loud noises!

Entertaining, Great staging, Great acting, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You love Shakespeare and enjoy a contemporary take on classics

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare, get annoyed with different interpretations of classic texts

Absorbing, Thrilling, Genius, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You want to see the best production of Troilus and Cressida you'll ever see. If you want to see Shakespeare modernization at its best.

Don't see it if You hate Shakespeare? If the guns and violence will be triggering for you.

Epic, Cinematic, Intense, Riveting, Great staging

See it if you enjoy fresh, modern stagings of Shakespeare

Don't see it if you're more of a Shakespeare traditionalist

Great staging, Great acting, Riveting, Intense, Relevant

See it if You want to see an excellent production of an underrated W.S. play. Terrific direction by Daniel Sullivan, great fight scenes & fine acting.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with scenes of warfare & blood.

Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Epic, Intelligent

See it if you want to see a great version of this very difficult Shakespeare play. They made some great choices.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare done well outdoors

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great writing, Resonant

See it if you like to see rarely performed Shakespeare in a strong production.

Don't see it if you don't like this play or you don't like Shakespeare performed in modern dress.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Must see

See it if You have had problems with this play in the past. You like tight, well acted, professional productions. You suffered through Taming...

Don't see it if You cant take the sweltering heat. You dont like loud sounds and faux warfare. Lots of semiautomatics.

Ambitious, Dizzying, Refreshing

See it if you like shakespeare and great acting

Don't see it if you hate free shows and fun

Refreshing, Intense

See it if You enjoy Shakespeare's work

Don't see it if You're not a fan of historic plays

Enchanting, Intense, Masterful, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if You've never seen or read this play by Shakespeare, since the unfolding of plot provides very interesting and dynamic character development.

Don't see it if You're not a fan of Shakespeare.

Entertaining, Great acting, Epic, Great staging, Intense

See it if You want to see Shakespeare performed in a contemporary setting with actors in modern dress.

Don't see it if You don't want to see imaginatively staged version of this well produced show.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you like Shakespeare & a great ensemble cast all around. Pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this production of a "problem play."

Don't see it if you don't like loud noises/discussion of warfare or simulated gunfights, you want to see one of Shakespeare's better written plays.

Absorbing, Epic, Relevant, Great staging, Great acting

See it if u want a Classic tale about pawns & sacrificial lambs in "the fog of war" brought to modern times. EPIC battle scene! Glover & Stoll shine!

Don't see it if u have a low threshold for poorly written female characters: Cressida comes across as a schemer w/ karmic problems; Cassandra as hysterical.

Great writing, Romantic, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Refreshing

See it if You like open air theater and Shakespeare

Don't see it if If you need sirconditioner

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Confusing

See it if Really great acting and quality production. I had a great time seeing this at Shakespeare in the Park.

Don't see it if This is definitely one of Shakespeare's problem plays so the story definitely has issues. It's also almost 3 hours long.

Ambitious, Relevant, Great staging

See it if you love Shakespeare in the Park and want to see an original production

Don't see it if you don't like loud noises or gunfire

Ambitious, Great staging, Intense, Relevant

See it if You enjoy outdoor theater that takes advantage of Central Park's great setting. You like well done modern takes on Shakespeare.

Don't see it if You don't like violence. There is a lot of fighting.

Entertaining, Funny, Great staging, Long, Intense

See it if you wanna see a great version of one of Shakespeare's less produced show. And if you love EPIC battle scenes.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare. Obviously.

Cast & Creatives (33)