to be or not to be BROADWAY REVIEWS

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  • NY TIMES

  • AP

  • VARIETY

  • TM

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Opening Night:
October 15, 2008
Closing:
January 1, 2009

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

Synopsis: 

At the Polski Theatre in 1939 Warsaw, Joseph and Maria Tura are about to open yet another smash with their theatrical troupe. As the German invasion gets underway, the theatre is closed by censors, forcing the troupe to face desperate times. But when a handsome young bomber pilot enlists their help to catch a spy, what is a group of actors to do? This black comedy is a commentary on the World War II era and a tribute to the timeless joys of the theatre.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF to be or not to be

    Greasepaint Can Be Mightier Than Pen or Sword

    BEN BRANTLEY

    October 15, 2008: If the producers of the walking corpse of a comedy “To Be or Not to Be” are feeling unappreciated this morning — and it’s a safe bet that they are — here’s a consoling thought for them. It took years for the Ernst Lubitsch film that inspired this play to get any respect.

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  • ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW OF to be or not to be

    The fall theater season is still young, but Nick Whitby's "To Be or Not to Be" may turn out to be the most unnecessary Broadway production of the year.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF to be or not to be

    Film critics have tried for the past 80 years or so to define the magic of the Lubitsch touch. Urbane humor, visual wit, sophistication, innuendo and charm were all factors, but subtlety was surely the key component -- that incomparable touch was unvaryingly a light one. So one of the most disheartening things about British playwright Nick Whitby's lumbering stage adaptation of "To Be or Not to Be" is the heavy hand that's been brought to bear on the 1942 comedy about a Polish theater troupe outwitting the Nazis in occupied Warsaw.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF to be or not to be

    In the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of To Be Or Not to Be, now at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater, ham actor-turned-reluctant hero Josef Tura exclaims: "There is nothing an actor can not do! For the actor, everything is possible!" I hate to differ -- but there is at least one thing actors can not do. They cannot pull Nick Whitby's inadequate adaptation of the beloved 1942 Ernst Lubitsch-directed film out of the fire.

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF to be or not to be

  • NY DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF to be or not to be

    Long before "The Producers" and "Hogan's Heroes" goofed on the Gestapo, Ernst Lubitsch turned the idea into screwball comedy in his 1942 film "To Be or Not to Be." Six decades later, the comedy about plucky Polish actors who outwit Hitler's honchos arrives on Broadway in a Manhattan Theatre Club production. Unfortunately, most of the laughs seem lost in translation in the adaptation by British playwright Nick Whitby. Though the play strives to be fluffy, it's about as airy as cement pierogi - and a late turn toward heart-tugging feels tacked on.

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