Saint Joan BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • VARIETY

  • HR

  • EW

  • NY 1

Opening Night:
April 25, 2018
Closing:
June 10, 2018

Theater: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre / 261 West 47th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Saint Joan stars three-time Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad (A Doll’s House, Part 2) as one of history’s greatest heroines in a major new production of Bernard Shaw’s epic work directed by Daniel Sullivan (Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes).

Set in 15th century France, Saint Joan follows a country girl whose mysterious visions propel her into elite circles. When the nation’s rulers become threatened by her popularity and influence, they unite to bring her down and she finds herself on trial for her life. This timeless and powerful play dramatizes the limits of an individual in a society dominated by overwhelming political and religious forces.

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  • NY TIMES REVIEW OF Saint Joan

    Review: In Shaw's 'Saint Joan,' a Sane and Sensible Martyr

    Jesse Green

    April 25, 2018: Who is Joan? It's harder to answer that question than to itemize who she isn't. According to George Bernard Shaw, whose 1923 play "Saint Joan" opened on Wednesday in a Manhattan Theater Club revival, the first thing she isn't is mad. The saintly voices and visions that instruct her, a medieval farm girl, to don armor and drive the English from France are merely the "dramatization by Joan's imagination" of the "evolutionary appetite." Nor is she the sorceress and strumpet Shakespeare depicts in "Henry VI, Part 1" or the romantic lass in petticoats Mark Twain imagines in his final novel, "Personal Reflections of Joan of Arc."

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Saint Joan

    Broadway Review: ‘Saint Joan’ Starring Condola Rashad

    Frank Rizzo

    April 25, 2018: “There is something about the girl,” say several characters over the course of George Bernard Shaw’s “Saint Joan,” now receiving a smart, stylish and engaging Broadway revival by the Manhattan Theatre Club. They’re referring, of course, to Joan of Arc, the self-possessed country maid of Lorraine, on a mission to save France in the 15th century and fulfill her holy destiny. But they could also be talking about the actress who portrays her. Playing a part that is as daunting as it is dazzling, Condola Rashad steps into the starring role in a blaze of glory and claims it as her own. Rashad’s depiction of the wide-eyed, visionary youth of fierce determination, unwavering faith and beguiling innocence — not to mention a beatific smile that radiates to the balcony — makes you a believer, too. As a lone girl against a phalanx of men of privilege and power — including a self-centered king of dubious lineage, righteous prelates and feudal one-percenters — Shaw’s play is being revived at a moment of parallel relevance, when women and teenagers are feeling equally emboldened in their causes.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Saint Joan

    'Saint Joan': Theater Review

    Frank Sheck

    April 25, 2018: Burn me at the stake for heresy if you must, but I'll say it. Even when done well, Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan is a slog. And since Manhattan Theatre Club's Broadway revival of the 1923 play isn't done very well, it's even more of a slog than usual. The production has been anticipated for the starring turn of three-time Tony nominee Condola Rashad in the title role. Unfortunately, this talented actress fails to galvanize the lengthy proceedings, making the play feel longer than it is. And at nearly three talk-filled hours, it's already very long. You shouldn't come away from Saint Joan humming the scenery, but Scott Pask's set design is the most notable aspect of the production. Consisting of giant golden organ pipes looming over the actors, it's certainly in keeping with the play's theme of how the French church conspired to punish The Maid of Orleans for her fanaticism. But while the lavish set makes for an impressive opening image, it then just sits there, becoming numbing in its oppressiveness. Director Daniel Sullivan has assembled an impressive ensemble for this rendition, and many of the performers do quite well. The standout is British actor Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbeanand two of its sequels), here making his Broadway debut as Warwick, the English earl determined that Joan not upset the status quo. The character admittedly has some of the play's wittiest lines, but Davenport makes the most of them with his sardonic delivery. You can feel the energy rising every time he appears onstage.

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  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW OF Saint Joan

    Condola Rashad is a girlish Saint Joan in glossy Broadway revival: EW review

    Leah Greenblatt

    April 25, 2018:

    “An angel dressed as a soldier.” “Some cracked country lass.” “Sorceress.” “Slut.” The Maid of Orleans is called many things in Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, by many men, but they all seem to agree on one thing: “There’s something about her.”
    There’s something about the woman playing her, for sure. At 31, Condola Rashad (daughter of The Cosby Show’s Phylicia and sportscaster Ahmad) is the youngest actress to ever receive three leading-role Tony nominations — for Stick FlyThe Trip to Bountiful, and A Doll’s House. (She also currently appears as a U.S. attorney on Showtime’s Billions, and as the wife of Chiwetel Edjiofor’s conflicted Pentacostal preacher in the Netflix biopic Come Sunday). In Saint, Rashad’s fifth trip to Broadway, she works hard to put her own imprint on an icon worn smooth by six centuries and countless iterations. For the first half of the play’s nearly three-hour runtime, her wide-eyed Joan comes on less like a legendary warrior than a kind of willful spiritual naif, all beatific smiles and hands held up to the sky, as if constantly reaching up to ask God for a piggyback ride.

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  • NY1 REVIEW OF Saint Joan

    Theater Review: 'Saint Joan'

    Roma Torre

    April 25, 2018: On the surface, George Bernard Shaw's "Saint Joan" is a great choice to produce now. In a sense, Joan of Arc was the ultimate feminist in an ultra-patriarchal world, and she certainly paid the price for her convictions. But while the Manhattan Theatre Club's timely selection of this great play raises high expectations, the production falls a bit short. The story mostly focuses on the last two years of Joan's life, from age 17 when she claimed voices from God instructed her to lead the French army under siege against the British during their 100 Years War. Despite Joan's victories on the battlefield, she was branded a witch and put on trial for heresy and burned at the stake. Shaw's play is an engrossing deconstruction of the martyred Joan at the hands of misguided, misogynistic men. And yet as he saw it, the conflict was never so clear cut. Even today, someone so intensely possessed of a spiritual calling would have a hard time being taken seriously.

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