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PAINTING CHURCHES OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Opening Night: March 6, 2012

Show NY TIMES NY POST TIME OUT AP NEWSDAY
Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review

Synopsis: The Churches being painted are Gardner and Fanny Church, remnants of a once flourishing tribe of Boston blue bloods. Gardner, an eminent poet, has started a graceful descent into senility so his wife Fanny is packing up their Beacon Hill townhouse for a permanent move to their cottage on Cape Cod. Their daughter Mags, an artist who lives and works in New York City, is desperate to paint their portrait before they fade from view, but will they hold still? Hilarity and anguish prevail during a week of packing, posing and remembering.

Off-Broadway Tickets
Off-Broadway Tickets

Broadway Reviews

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:

"Kathleen Chalfant and John Cunningham are transfixing as Boston blue bloods whose patrician airs and whimsical eccentricities mask the shambles their lives have become in the Keen Company revival of “Painting Churches,” at the Clurman Theater."

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NEW YORK POST REVIEW:

"Don’t let the title throw you: This is no epic about Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel. The subject of Tina Howe’s play “Painting Churches” is an elderly couple named Fanny and Gardner Church. And it’s their daughter, Mags, who’s working on their portrait."

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TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW:

"Time has not been kind to Gardner Church (Cunningham), an elderly Boston poet who is losing more of his faculties every day, or to his longtime wife, Fanny (Chalfant), whose role in his world is increasingly custodial. And time has been unkinder still to the play they are stuck in: Tina Howe’s Painting Churches, a 1984 Pulitzer Prize finalist that has been revived to disenchanting effect by Carl Forsman for his Keen Company. From the groan of a title—the Churches’ daughter, Mags (an inadequate Turnbull), is an artist who wants to paint their portraits—to the creak of the exposition and the continuous whine of Mags’s dialogue, Howe’s play is a compendium of unpleasant noises, amplified in a plodding production."

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ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW:

"Few things in this world are more subjective than art. What's beautiful to me may, of course, be ugly as sin to you."

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NEWSDAY REVIEW:

"Don't let the genteel setting -- the classic window outlines and gracious, disembodied bookcase -- fool you. Despite the apparent civility in this old-money house on Beacon Hill, chaos -- both trivial and profound -- runs deeply amok in "Painting Churches.""

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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW:

"Psychic tension between adult children and their aging parents makes for relevant drama in any decade. So does the artistic urge to capture reality, and the tendency of stubborn reality to evade artistic capture. In that regard, the Keen Company's Off Broadway revival of Painting Churches, Tina Howe's critically esteemed portrait of an artist and her aging parents, is as relevant today as it was when the award-winning play premiered in 1983."

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