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Metropolitan Playhouse

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Alex Roe since 2001, the nineteen-year-old company has grown into an institution recognized for both artistic excellence and cultural significance. On the one hand, it is a window into the character of the time of its creation. On the other, it is always contemporary, because every performance of a play is a new creation for its own time. Connecting us with our past in the light of our present, America’s theater gives invaluable insight into our cultural identity. Visit metropolitanplayhouse.org for full details

On Strivers Row

June 9, 2017

Like in a Noel Coward comedy, the witty zingers come fast and furious: “That her big white Cadillac looks like a pregnant Frigidaire,” “Did you say she was from Newark or Noah’s Ark?”, “Harlem has gotten to be such a cesspool of nobodies,” “You can’t raise a rose in a junkyard,” “The ribbon around your neck is loose. Tighten it.” It also offers some very wise statements on the relationships between men and women: “women grow old from neglect and not from age,” “Regardless of how bad we women look in the morning, Oscar, we never wake up needing a shave,” “She loves the ground he staggers on.” However, the play also makes clear the rivalry between various Black enclaves: Harlem, Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. Dolly, Tillie and Mrs. Pace make pronouncements on the classiness of each. [more]

End of Summer

October 22, 2016

While S. N. Behrman was one of the leading Broadway playwrights from the twenties through the early sixties, he went into an eclipse after his death in 1973. Since 2000, however, there have been New York revivals of his major comedies "The Second Man," "Biography," "No Time for Comedy" and "Rain from Heaven." Set in the living room of a summer cottage on an estate in Northern Maine where the rich Frothinghams go to get away from the problems of the world, circa 1936, End of Summer resembles Chekhov’s "The Cherry Orchard" in that they both concern wealthy people refusing to recognize the changing social order. However, S. N. Behrman’s play is very much a comedy with its cool, urbane witticisms and very American in its outlook and content. [more]

O’Neill (Unexpected): Two Early Plays by Eugene O’Neill

June 15, 2016

"Now I Ask You" turns out to be comedy of pretentious New York bohemians in 1916, while "Recklessness" is a Strindbergian psychological revenge play. While both have hints of the more famous plays to come, they also stand on their own as the work of a major playwright trying to find his own voice. Whatever you think of the plays and whichever one turns out to be your favorite, Alex Roe’s staging is always entertaining and the plays are truly surprising and unexpected. [more]

Walk Hard

March 14, 2016

Imani’s production of 'Walk Hard" for Metropolitan Playhouse is an exciting piece of theater from an eye-opening rediscovery. Historically, it comes nine years after Clifford Odets’ 'Golden Boy" which covers similar content and 13 years before Lorraine Hansberry’s "A Raisin in the Sun" in which the Younger family fights a similar battle. Current racism condemned by the Black Lives Matter movement and much talk of income inequality in this election year make Walk Hard relevant once again at this time. [more]

Alison’s House

November 26, 2015

Metropolitan Playhouse has done itself proud with its revival of the rarely seen "Alison’s House." Alex Roe’s splendid production with its accomplished cast demonstrates the vitality of Susan Glaspell’s play as well as its contemporary relevance. This is a revival of the highest caliber. [more]

The Awful Truth

October 5, 2015

If this story sounds familiar, it is the plot of the classic thirties screwball comedy "The Awful Truth" which starred Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. In fact, Arthur Richman’s 1922 play of the same name has been filmed four times including a 1925 silent version, a 1929 sound version with original stage star Ina Claire which has been lost, and a 1953 musical version with Jane Wyman and Ray Milland. As part of its 24th Season devoted to “Hope,” Metropolitan Playhouse is producing the first New York revival of this unpublished play, surprisingly as the original production ran a successful 144 performances. [more]

Injunction Granted

June 18, 2015

The recent national rallies to raise the minimum wage have made the Federal Theater Project’s 1936 "Injunction Granted" relevant all over again. This play created by the Editorial Board of the Living Newspaper Unit of the FTP depicting the conflict of labor versus capital in the U.S. over almost 300 years turns out to be powerful theater in this revival by Metropolitan Playhouse. The third of the FTP Living Newspapers to be revived by this theater following "One-Third of a Nation" and "Power," Alex Roe’s lively and inventive production uses six actors to play 200 characters in a vaudeville-like atmosphere. [more]

The Indelible: The 11th Annual East Side Stories

April 26, 2015

Rodriguez, Brown and McNeill all go that extra mile to establish a connection - and make eye contact with every single audience member contained on the three sides of the theater. As they share their stories, the emotion and passion used to bring out the truth in each of these East Village residents is well translated from a period in time to the present day. While the historical elements are fascinating and provide context, the ultimate theme of acceptance, finding a guiding light to outshine the world's cruelty, and celebrating life creates a lasting impact. [more]

The Man of the Hour

March 11, 2015

While Broadhurst is most famous today for the Shubert theater named after him on 44th Street, in his own time he was an expert at light comedy and the author of 48 Broadway plays between 1896 and 1924. While The Man of the Hour is in no way an historical play, it does expose the excesses of New York’s Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party’s political machine, and parallels the election of 1897 in which Tammany Boss Richard Croker engineered the accession of Robert A. Van Wyck to the mayoral chair. Proof that reform of politics is on Broadhurst’s mind is that he refers to progressive leaders Wisconsin Senator Robert La Follett, Missouri governor Joseph W. Folk, and President Theodore Roosevelt, all of whom ran on platforms to clean up corruption. The reading text of The Man of the Hour actually indicates where the play’s Boss Horigan reiterates the policies and dictums of the real life Boss Crocker. [more]

Rollo’s Wild Oat

December 9, 2014

Michael Hardart, who piloted Metropolitan Playhouse's successful productions of "Within the Law," "A Man's World," "The Great Divide" and "Under the Gaslight," has staged this play as a drawing room comedy. However, as the plot will demonstrate the play is a farce and should be staged as such. While the play remains amusing, a great many of the jokes do not land as they ought to while some of the acting is much too genteel for this sort of play. [more]

Icebound

October 1, 2014

Up until now when the name of Owen Davis' 1923 Pulitzer Prize winner "Icebound" comes up, the response is likely to be a head shake that the year's prize did not go to a more worthy candidate like Eugene O'Neill, Elmer Rice, Sidney Howard, Philip Barry or George Kelly. Now with the Metropolitan Playhouse's revival of "Icebound," theatergoers can see for themselves what a trenchant and engrossing drama this actually is. [more]

Within the Law

June 3, 2014

What is the most famous play currently running in New York that you have probably never heard of before? Bayard Veiller's Within the Law, Metropolitan Playhouse's final entry in its "Justice" season, has been filmed six times since its Broadway debut in 1912, most famously as Paid with Joan Crawford, revived once on the main stem, and still packs quite a punch. [more]