Misery BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • DEADLINE

  • VARIETY

  • AP

Opening Night:
November 15, 2015
Closing:
February 14, 2016

Theater: Broadhurst Theatre / 235 West 44th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

"Misery" follows successful romance novelist Paul Sheldon, who is rescued from a car crash by his “Number One Fan,” Annie Wilkes, and wakes up captive in her secluded home. While Paul is convalescing, Annie reads the manuscript to his newest novel and becomes enraged when she discovers the author has killed off her favorite character, Misery Chastain. Annie forces Paul to write a new “Misery” novel, and he quickly realizes Annie has no intention of letting him go anywhere. The irate Annie has Paul writing as if his life depends on it, and if he does not make her deadline, it will.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Misery

    In ‘Misery,’ With Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf, the Ghost of Productions Past

    Ben Brantley

    November 15, 2015: Though it is based on one of Stephen King’s most terrifying novels, the stage version of “Misery” will not, I promise, leave you cold with terror. The production that opened on Sunday night at the Broadhurst Theater, which stars a vacant Bruce Willis (in his Broadway debut) and a hardworking Laurie Metcalf, sustains a steady, drowsy room temperature throughout. Never mind that we start off in darkest, deepest winter in an isolated gothic farmhouse as thunder cracks and lighting flashes. You’re more likely to experience chills sitting in a tepid bath at home. This lack of shivers may not bother theatergoers who have bought their tickets simply to see an action hero of the screen in the flesh. Portraying Paul Sheldon, a best-selling novelist who finds himself held captive by a deranged fan who wields a mean mallet, Mr. Willis behaves in much the same way as he does as the indestructible Detective McClane while being tortured, shot at and nearly blown to oblivion in the “Die Hard” film series, for which he is best known.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Misery

    Misery Theater review

    David Cote

    November 15, 2015: Early in "Misery," ex-nurse Annie Wilkes (Laurie Metcalf) informs novelist Paul Sheldon (Bruce Willis) that after a horrible car accident, he’s been in a coma for four days. Make that four days, 90 minutes—Willis’s weirdly narcotized and passive Broadway debut goes above and beyond the drugged, physically diminished circumstances of his character. On a meta level, "Misery" is about Willis playing film star Willis being terrorized by Metcalf’s superior acting talent. For any poor soul who shells outs $165 a ticket rather than, say, streams the flick while enjoying a nice cup of cocoa, there’s partial compensation: a majestically loony turn by Metcalf as the deranged “number-one fan” of Sheldon’s Gothic romance series. Filling the vacuum left by a deadpanning Willis, Metcalf hoots, purrs, howls and tears around her kitsch-filled Colorado home, where Sheldon is imprisoned and forced to write her favorite character back to life.

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF Misery

    Bruce Willis Breaks A Leg (Or Two) In ‘Misery’ On Broadway

    Jeremy Gerard

    November 15, 2015: Annie, get your gun!H ow much more do you want to know about "Misery," which hobbled to its opening Sunday night on Broadway? William Goldman wrote the script, as he did the screenplay for Rob Reiner’s 1990 Castle Rock film based on Stephen King‘s novel. Bruce Willis is meh as super successful schlock writer Paul Sheldon, who drives his vintage Mustang off a Colorado mountain road during a blizzard, landing him in the care of Annie Wilkes, his self-proclaimed “Number One Fan.” Laurie Metcalfe plays Annie, mostly in a vacuum but also absent the demonic interplay between obsession and flat-out nut-jobbiness that Kathy Bates brought to the film: Metcalfe is pretty far gone even before Annie learns early on that her god has killed off his heroine Misery Chastain in the latest installment of his "Misery" nonology. (To be fair to this great actress, Goldman has stripped Annie almost entirely of her back-story, the revelations of which gave the book and the film their creepy layers of suspense.)

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Misery

    ‘Misery’ With Bruce Willis, Laurie Metcalf

    Marilyn Stasio

    November 15, 2015: The eek! factor is largely missing from “Misery,” starring a laid-back Bruce Willis as the bed-bound author held hostage by his “greatest fan,” played here by Laurie Metcalfe. Despite the physical intimacy imposed by its stage setting, William Goldman’s theatrical version of the 1987 Stephen King novel lacks the stifling sense of claustrophobia that made Rob Reiner’s 1990 movie version starring Kathy Bates and James Caan so unnerving. Or maybe the atmosphere of fear and dread was just wiped out by the show’s undercurrents of arch humor. Woe to the bestselling author of pop fiction who attempts to break out of his successful rut and become “a serious writer of serious books.” Faithful to King’s personal nightmare, Goldman brings the wrath of the gods (and his fans) down on Paul Sheldon (Willis) when he tries to go straight.

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  • ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW OF Misery

    Bruce Willis Is Comatose in New Play 'Misery'

    Mark Kennedy

    November 15, 2015: In the end, "Misery" isn't total misery. It's just weird. Apart from the fact that it's a completely unnecessary adaptation, you oddly start to root for the monster, not the bona fide action hero. That's because Bruce Willis makes an appallingly ill-conceived Broadway debut in the thriller that opened Sunday at the Broadhurst Theatre. But Laurie Metcalf rescues the "Die Hard" stud by doing enough good acting for both of them. Nowhere this season on Broadway is there an acting gulf as wide between two leads than here. Willis has decided to squint a lot, mumble and rely on some "Moonlighting"-era quipping, not to mention an earpiece that feeds him lines. The artificial snow that falls on the set has more dynamism.

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