News Ticker

Playwrights Horizons

PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS is a writer’s theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers and lyricists, and to the production of their new work.
Click to go to Playwrights Horizons website

The Light Years

March 16, 2017

Playwrights Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen with developer Oliver Butler, creatively evoke the tragic, nostalgic spirit of Booth Tarkington’s "The Magnificent Ambersons" and the wonderment of the works of humorist Jean Shepherd. The scenario is engaging and the characters are lovingly rendered. [more]

Rancho Viejo

December 8, 2016

LeFranc’s dialogue is a marvelous blend of the realistic and mundane. The well-delineated main characters all express themselves with true to life simplicity. Plot developments are the combination of subtle details that gradually do build to a satisfying resolution. It all has the sense of John Cheever’s suburban short stories where the darkness behind bonhomie is revealed. Swimming pools are mentioned in passing. [more]

A Life

October 25, 2016

Pierce coolly addresses the audience while delivering this mundane litany. His superb comic timing, long evident on the television situation comedy "Frasier," is on glorious display here. That quality combined with his dramatic depth and soothingly funny delivery makes this opening sequence mesmerizing. [more]

Aubergine

September 13, 2016

Playwright Julia Cho has crafted an engaging and universal work that unevenly blends reality with mysticism. The characters are all very well delineated and the dialogue is flavorful and realistic. It’s structured as a series of short scenes that include monologues, flashbacks and fantasies. The play’s two-act form diminishes its momentum, running two hours and fifteen minutes with an intermission. Repetitiveness and a preoccupation with profundity sidetrack its effectiveness at times. [more]

Men on Boats

August 2, 2016

In this swashbuckling comedic play, 'Men on Boats" takes an innovative approach by casting ten women in the roles of the first “white” discovers of the Grand Canyon. However, this was not a nod to the current trend of casting cisgender or transgender actors. The use of “on boats,” instead of “in boats,” indicates the state of being in which the actresses find themselves — a history panorama where gender and race play little part. [more]

Indian Summer

June 14, 2016

Gregory S. Moss’ "Indian Summer" at Playwrights Horizons is an uneasy mix of two stories, the first about the doomed romantic encounter between two teens and the second concerning the quiet existential suffering of an elderly man. Despite sudden shifts of tone, Moss manages to leave the audience feeling deeply for each of these characters. [more]

Antlia Pneumatica

April 7, 2016

Rachel Hauck’s scenic design is the most outstanding feature of the interminable "Antlia Pneumatica." Ms. Hauck accurately and vividly represents the Texas ranch setting by an elaborate kitchen counter top in the center of the bare stage that is surrounded by shrubbery. It’s very functional as much of the activities involve preparing a feast. [more]

Familiar

March 9, 2016

The family tension is defined in terms of the strong female relationships between mother Marvelous (Tamara Tunie) and the bride-to-be, who differ when it comes to wedding plans as well as the bride and her younger sister, Nyasha (Ito Aghayere) who clash over lifestyle choices. Big sister is the accomplished, serious professional woman who is strongly tied to her religious beliefs and customs, and the free-spirited little sister (who wasn't even asked to be a bridesmaid) who is tired of being berated for her choices. Tendi looks more to her aunt from Africa for guidance than her mother and is determined to have her look upon her choices as favorable. The source of comic relief in Familiar is Donald, the father (played by Harold Surratt), who sits back observing all the conflict and tries his best to take it all in stride. This family is one for the ages and how they deal with each other and common familiar issues is something all audiences can relate to. [more]

Marjorie Prime

December 16, 2015

Playwright Jordan Harrison is a graduate of the Brown University M.F.A. program and the recipient of several prestigious awards such as a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Kesselring Prize. On a technical level "Marjorie Prime" is expertly constructed and contains serviceable dialogue that propels the plot, but in totality it never rises above the level of an academic contrivance. The premise is a familiar but promising one, but in execution it is flat. The exposition and setup never really become emotionally involving and the closing revelations are consciously sensationalistic. [more]

Hir

November 9, 2015

Ms. Nielsen has long been a treasured award-winning fixture of the New York stage with her quirky idiosyncratic comedic and dramatic talents. Here as the omnipotent matriarch Paige she is colossal. With her animated features, giddy voice, and frantic physicality, she delightfully mines every bit of the abundant dark comedy in the play. Alternately when slowing down to express fiercely serious sentiments she is chilling. This searing performance is yet another memorable turn from this incomparable actress. [more]

The Christians

September 22, 2015

"The Christians," Lucas Hnath’s examination of the intricacies of religion currently playing at Playwrights Horizons, comes to us at a unique cultural moment: every day, scientific advances further challenge the existence of God; ostensibly in an attempt to stay palatable to his mainstream constituents, The Pope has issued a series of proclamations regarding the acceptability of homosexuality, the truth of evolution, and other topics; "The Book of Mormon"—a patronizing, tongue-in-cheek assessment of the Church of the Latter Day Saints—is still playing to sold-out houses after five years on Broadway. Indeed, the fact that "The Christians"’ opening line, “Brothers and Sisters, let us pray,” was met with a hearty laugh is telling: today, New York audiences are largely secular and conditioned to sharpen their daggers at the very mention of Christ. To Hnath, however, the subject of religion is no joke. [more]

A Delicate Ship

September 7, 2015

Anna Ziegler’s "A Delicate Ship" is an intelligent, intensely absorbing play that treats its three thirty-something characters like chess pieces moving warily about Reid Thompson’s raised platform apartment set, floating amidst a rock garden which becomes a life-sized game board. [more]

The Qualms

June 26, 2015

Norris is interested in examining issues so often argued in black and white terms by drawing out the—pun intended—shades of grey. However, while wryly entertaining and largely incisive, his new work suffers from some of the same missteps as does his aforementioned "Clybourne Park." Namely, he paints Chris—his ostensibly well-intentioned, under-informed, straight white male character—as so downright nasty that it is almost impossible to listen to any of his arguments, however logical some of them may be. While the action of the play operates under the guise of an engaging debate that includes various different perspectives, the scales are tipped and its presentation of arguments is uneven. [more]

Placebo

March 17, 2015

The play’s scenes alternate between the scientific research institute and the couple’s apartment.  The theatrical device of having one set representing both places is well rendered by scenic designer David Zinn’s realistic and well-appointed set.  Matt Frey’s lighting design and Ryan Rumery’s sound design contribute requisite razzle dazzle effects for the transitions from one setting to another.  Mr Zinn also designed the purposeful costumes. [more]

Pocatello

December 18, 2014

This brilliant production of Samuel D. Hunter’s "Pocatello" is characterized by tremendous depth in characterization and engaging simplicity in presentation. Leo Tolstoy famously observed, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Here, a clash over gluten-free pasta becomes a memorably chilling pretext for psychological warfare. [more]

Bootycandy

September 12, 2014

Throughout the play there are many visual and spoken references to Michael Jackson, showing how large the presence and influence of The King of Pop in his heyday loomed in the consciousness of many growing up and living in that era. This symbolism adds greatly to the detailed specificity of this passionate, suspenseful and bold work. [more]

The Few

May 18, 2014

Gideon Glick as Matthew is terrific, physically disappearing into his character so completely that he would not be recognizable in the street. Actors can get away with playing misfits as a collection of tics, so it's a great thing to see Glick dig deeper and infuse Matthew's every movement with his particular personality. [more]

The Substance of Fire

May 5, 2014

Time has caught up with Jon Robin Baitz’s 1991 play and bankrupting one’s company over issues of integrity no longer seems quite admirable. Jon Robin Baitz writes literate, thoughtful plays like his 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist, Other Desert Cities. However, like the revival last fall of his earliest play The Film Society showed, plays may date badly or their attitudes become artifacts of another generation. [more]

Violet

May 2, 2014

An interesting and touching early musical from the composer of "Shrek," "Caroline, or Change," and "Fun Home." It may be in keeping with the notional scar, but sometimes "minimalist" fades into "generic." An inherent problem with the show, it's possible that even a small Broadway house like this one (740 seats) will always be too big. The climactic sequence, following Violet's discouraging experience in Tulsa, takes place mostly in Violet's head and as such is almost unstagable, and in any case hard to understand. Last and most problematic is that these soldiers react relatively casually to Violet's allegedly repellent deformity. [more]