The play's defiant and universal humanity shines through with a burning intensity in Moises Kaufman's beautifully modulated production. It is galvanised by the fierce combination of unsentimental vulnerability and independent dignity that Michael Urie brings to the character of Arnold, while Mercedes Ruehl errs just the right side of dramatic cliche in her performance as his overbearing Jewish mum.
TORCH SONG Broadway Reviews
Reviews of Torch Song on Broadway. See what all the critics had to say and see all the ratings for Torch Song including the New York Times and More...
From: The Stage | By: Mark Shenton | Date: 11/01/2018
From: New York Times | By: Ben Brantley | Date: 11/01/2018
Mr. Kaufman's staging - still designed to please the eye without overwhelming it, with 1970s shorthand sets by David Zinn, costumes to match by Clint Ramos and lighting by David Lander - now feels smoother and quicker on its feet. It also feels, well, bigger. I'm referring particularly to Mr. Urie's performance. This nimble actor has already demonstrated canny comic chops in Off Broadway plays (Jonathan Tolins's "Buyer & Cellar," Gogol's "The Government Inspector.") But in filling Mr. Fierstein's dauntingly big shoes on a Broadway stage, Mr. Urie stretches to color in the outsize outlines of his part.
From: Entertainment Weekly | By: Dave Quinn | Date: 11/01/2018
More than just an illumination onto incredible acting, these final scenes end Torch Song on a bittersweet note that helps ground this dramedy in reality. Arnold, smartly, isn't perfect - "You cheated me out of your life and then blamed me for not being there," Ruehl's character says at one point, exposing her son's biggest flaw in all of his relationships - but as the play ends, he's found peace in his journey by maintaining a hope that everything will be alright. And it's hard not to feel the same way about life when leaving the theater. A-
From: Hollywood Reporter | By: David Rooney | Date: 11/01/2018
The production felt a little choppy and uncertain last fall, with the talented Urie doubling down on self-satirizing Arnold by rendering the lovelorn professional drag queen a mushy caricature. Not only does he now feel more like a flesh-and-blood person - his needs and vulnerabilities and the self-defense mechanism of his caustic wit all achingly human; his vocal mannerisms part of who he is, not just a layer of performance - but the staging has acquired greater fluidity and emotional richness. David Zinn's sets (ranging from suggestive minimalism through playful stylization to homey detail) and David Lander's descriptive lighting also look gorgeous on the Hayes stage, as do the pleasingly understated period costumes of Clint Ramos.
From: Wall Street Journal | By: Terry Teachout | Date: 11/01/2018
The only thing wrong with Second Stage's off-Broadway revival of 'Torch Song,' which has been very effectively directed by Moisés Kaufman, is Mr. Urie, a fine actor who is miscast as Mr. Fierstein (yes, he's called 'Arnold Beckoff' in the play, but we all know who he really is). Whether on stage or screen, Mr. Fierstein was unforgettable, and to see Mr. Urie trying to put his own stamp on the part merely underlines why his predecessor was so good in it.
From: amNY | By: Matt Windman | Date: 11/01/2018
While "Torch Song" lacks the brilliance of "Angels in America" and the bite of "The Boys in the Band," it is well worth a second look. And though at times it can be rather clunky and schmaltzy, Kaufman's production contains some genuinely beautiful moments and excellent performances all around.
Review: 'Torch Song' on Broadway is Harvey Fierstein’s play from a time a gay son couldn't even trust his mom
From: Chicago Tribune | By: Chris Jones | Date: 11/01/2018
Kaufman clearly gets the most important point made in this work: homophobia and its legacy of self-loathing were the underlying causes of why so many died, and so many looked away. But love lived on.
BWW Review: Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl Bring Harvey Fierstein's Groundbreaking TORCH SONG Back To Broadway
From: BroadwayWorld | By: Michael Dale | Date: 11/01/2018
When it opened in June of 1982, Torch Song Trilogy's success helped establish a changing Broadway, more open to realistic and sympathetic stories of people whose lives aren't lived as part of the heterosexual majority. Now Torch Song opens on Broadway during a time when New York's stages are seeing more portrayals of people whose lives aren't lived as part of the cisgender majority. The stories are being written. With visionary, risk-taking producers like John Glines, they will be seen.
From: Variety | By: Marilyn Stasio | Date: 11/01/2018
Does this history piece hold up? Yes, in the sense that the show is kind to its characters and true to its dated sensibilities. No, in the sense that the characters are unbelievably sweet and its sensibilities are dated. But the playwright is nothing if not generous to Arnold, who is a real mensch after all. If you want to take him to your heart, you really have to imagine someone like... well, Harvey Fierstein, in the lead role.
From: Deadline | By: Greg Evans | Date: 11/01/2018
As if to confront and wrestle down any datedness head-on, Kaufman and his cast go broad. Like, vaudeville broad, with Urie doing his damnedest to drown out all memory of Fierstein's foghorn by calling forth a bizarre vocal affectation somewhere between Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion and Hanna-Barbera's Snagglepuss. I'd like to think of it as an homage to theater's great nances, but I'm afraid it's just cartoon Virginia ham.
From: Newsday | By: Elisabeth Vincentelli | Date: 11/01/2018
Indeed, it's not just minutes that have been lost in this revival, which is directed by Moisés Kaufman and had a successful Off-Broadway run at Second Stage last year. This safe production suggests but never fully summons the ache behind the wisecracks, or the dangers and the loneliness gay people had to endure in the 1970s, when the story is largely set. There is also little period sense in either David Zinn's streamlined set or Clint Ramos' costumes.