Review Roundup: CORRUPTION Opens At Lincoln Center Theater

Corruption is a new play by J.T. Rogers, writer of Oslo, directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher.

By: Mar. 11, 2024
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Review Roundup: CORRUPTION Opens At Lincoln Center Theater
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Lincoln Center Theater presents CORRUPTION a new play by J.T. Rogers, directed by Bartlett Sher. The production officially opened at the Mitzi E. Newhouse tonight!

Read the reviews!

CORRUPTION features Dylan Baker, John Behlmann, Saffron Burrows, Anthony Cochrane, Sanjit De Silva, K. Todd Freeman, Eleanor Handley, Robyn Kerr, Sepideh Moafi, Seth Numrich, Michael Siberry, T. Ryder Smith and Toby Stephens.

The production has sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Jennifer Moeller, lighting by Donald Holder, sound by Justin Ellington, and projections by 59 Productions/Benjamin Pearcy and Brad Peterson.  Theresa Flanagan is the Stage Manager.

Review Roundup: CORRUPTION Opens At Lincoln Center Theater Laura Collins-Hughes, The New York Times: As a news story evolving in real time, the scandal made for jaw-dropping reading. As a play, though, “Corruption” is uncompelling — counterintuitively so, given the inherent drama: the crimes, the coverup, the comeuppance (or not), the clashes of personality. Also the stakes, which include the well-being of a democracy in which one culture-shaping media magnate holds too much sway.

Review Roundup: CORRUPTION Opens At Lincoln Center Theater David Cote, Observer: Ensemble-wise, it’s a deep bench, with polished turns from Seth Numrich as an oily James Murdoch and Dylan Baker as a flinty lawyer, both doing the banality-of-evil soft shoe quite nimbly. But the hero of the day—in character and out—is Toby Stephens, who seems to be having fun as he carries this long and busy chronicle on his shoulders. Naturally charming and energetic, with inexhaustible Everylad comic appeal, Stephens uses considerable technique and charisma (he’s a London stage fixture) to fine effect, tossing off Rogers’s overstuffed dialogue and stilted diatribes with style, finding the humor and heart at every turn. Even if Corruption is a mixed bag, the real-life Watson must be pleased that after years of getting slagged off in the press, an admiring playwright prints the last word.

Review Roundup: CORRUPTION Opens At Lincoln Center Theater David Finkle, New York Stage Review: Is there anything wrong with Corruption? Putting aside the title as one handy for numberless other dramas throughout the ages, there is the above-mentioned cast list. From time to time, many of them appear as one person and reappear shortly as someone else. Observers may find themselves spending a few distracted seconds recognizing the differences. There is another element with which Rogers has had to reckon. Seemingly concerned that American audiences might not be as familiar as English audiences with the Brooks scandal, he’s gone about weighting — and said so — his important work as relevant to today’s stateside political climate. He inserts references like “above the law” occasionally and actually ends with a cry for preserving democracy, a condition that does not quite jibe with Corruption’s probe. Never mind. Rogers and Sher can take responsibility and credit for one of the season’s few must-sees.

Review Roundup: CORRUPTION Opens At Lincoln Center Theater Frank Scheck, New York Stage Review: Corruption doesn’t succeed as fully as Oslo because it’s a more complex, elongated story featuring so many characters that nearly every cast member, with the exceptions of Stephens and Burrows, play multiple roles. It’s sometimes hard to keep track of who’s who without a scorecard, and those not paying very close attention may find it difficult to keep up. (It would have been helpful if a guide to the figures involved had been included in the program). But even if you only have a cursory knowledge of the real-life events, the play proves gripping thanks to the playwright’s ability to craft sharp dialogue that proves both informative and propulsive.

Review Roundup: CORRUPTION Opens At Lincoln Center Theater Gillian Russo, New York Theatre Guide: Corruption's most compelling threads are ones it doesn't seem to know it's exploring, chief among them being Watson's and Brooks's parallel character arcs. Both are flawed people who go to great lengths to keep their power and their pride in a ruthless media landscape. How far is too far? And how much does it matter if the post-Murdoch world of news, in which political, financial, and journalistic interests are tied up such that anyone's story is exploitable, keeps on turning regardless?

Average Rating: 64.0%

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