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IRENA'S VOW BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: March 29, 2009
Synopsis: During the German occupation of Poland, Irena Gut Opdyke, a Polish Catholic, is forced to work as head housekeeper for a prominent German major. Over a two-year period of service, Irena risks her own life to save the lives of twelve Jewish refugees whom she secretly took under her care. Based on a true story.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
""A little-known story of heroism is transformed into theatrical hokum in “Irena’s Vow,” a play by Dan Gordon about a young Polish woman who helped a dozen Jews survive the Holocaust. Susceptible audiences will want to practice their hisses and prime their tear ducts before attending this efficiently manipulative drama covering territory that is rather too frequently exploited for its undeniable emotional force." "
"""Irena's Vow" may be melodramatic and occasionally manipulative, but the emotions this stage biography stirs in theatergoers are genuine, a testament to the bravery and tenacity of the woman whose real-life story is being told. The play, which opened Sunday at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre after a successful off-Broadway run, is the memoir of Irena Gut Opdyke, played here by a canny, eminently theatrical Tovah Feldshuh.""
""There is at least one reason to be grateful that Irena's Vow (* * out of four) has arrived on Broadway: After this production, it's doubtful that anyone will be itching to produce a stage adaptation of Schindler's List.""
""The conviction of Tovah Feldshuh's transformative performance drives "Irena's Vow," but it's the compelling true story of courage and heroism that makes Dan Gordon's by-the-numbers script so moving. Recounting the experiences of Irena Gut, a young Polish Catholic housekeeper who sheltered a dozen Jews in the basement of the German major for whom she worked during WWII, the play draws its power more from the nobility of its sentiments and the events it portrays than from the writer's over-explanatory treatment of them. Still, if the audible sobs in the theater at key moments are any indication, audiences may be willing to overlook the clunky dramaturgy.""
""A play about a young Catholic Pole who risked everything to help a dozen Jews during WWII is slip pery ground for a critic -- espe cially when it's based on a real-life hero, Irena Gut Opdyke. Nobody wants to be the heartless Grinch who points out that a Holocaust drama is flawed.""
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