Murder In the First OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • NY POST

  • VARIETY

  • TM

  • CURTAIN UP

Opening Night:
May 25, 2012
Closing:
July 1, 2012

Theater: 59E59 Theaters / 59 East 59th St., New York, NY, 10022

Synopsis: 

Inspired by a compelling true story, Dan Gordon's Murder in the First is a gripping drama about the case that ultimately led to the closing of Alcatraz, the most notorious correctional institution in U.S. history.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Murder In the First

    The Hard Life on ‘The Rock’

    KEN JAWOROWSKI

    June 15, 2012: There’s a scene late in “Murder in the First” in which Willie, a prisoner at Alcatraz, recalls his grim and troubled life. Why have people been so cruel to me, he wonders aloud to his lawyer. It’s a sad and tender moment, superbly played by Chad Kimball. Yet as the scene draws to a close the lighting shifts and cinematic music wells up, signaling the audience as to how they should feel. Those effects are superfluous, as are many others in a show that succeeds in spite of its slick production.

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  • NEW YORK POST REVIEW OF Murder In the First

    A killer courtroom drama

    Frank Scheck

    June 6, 2012: From its startling opening image of a naked prisoner to its climactic reading of a jury’s verdict, “Murder in the First” is the sort of juicy courtroom drama we rarely get these days. Dan Gordon’s gripping, fact-based play — about the 1940s murder trial that exposed abuses at Alcatraz — was adapted from his screenplay for the 1995 film starring Christian Slater and Kevin Bacon. But this theatrical rendition is far more than six degrees better than the sensationalized movie.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Murder In the First

    Murder In the First

    Steven Suskin

    June 6, 2012: Off Broadway gets a worthy specimen of the socially conscious courtroom drama with "Murder in the First." The 1995 Alcatraz-based thriller that starred Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater translates pretty well to the stage -- but although author, title and story are the same, character names are changed, and the film itself is cryptically uncredited. Performances by Tony nominee Chad Kimball ("Memphis") and debuting Brit Guy Burnet propel the piece.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Murder In the First

    Murder In the First

    David Finkle

    June 7, 2012: Dan Gordon's Murder in the First, now at 59E59 Theaters, is a 1941-set courtroom drama that concerns the trial of William "Willie" Moore (Chad Kimball), on trial for slaying a fellow Alcatraz inmate. While the territory is somewhat familiar, director Michael Parva's production is not just an intensely exciting theatrical experience, but one that has all the heated drama -- and melodrama -- of an irresistible John Grisham novel.

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  • CURTAIN UP REVIEW OF Murder In the First

    Murder In the First

    Elizabeth Ahlfors

    June 15, 2012: Set in a time when much of the country was mesmerized by Joe DiMaggio’s 1940’s record hitting streak of 56 games, Murder in the First currently at 59E59 Theaters, focuses on a battle for criminal justice. The battleground is Alcatraz. It's name, “the slammer,” for the heavy steel doors slamming shut, is still synonymous with worst of the worse prisons. Dan Gordon’s play provocatively dramatizes the real story of imprisoned Willie Moore and Henry Davidson, the inexperienced but determined attorney, assigned to his case.

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