Sylvia BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • VARIETY

  • EW

  • AP

Opening Night:
October 27, 2015
Closing:
January 3, 2016

Theater: Cort Theatre / 138 West 48th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Has your pet changed your life? Have you ever wondered what she’s thinking when she stares up at you and tilts her head? Could she have the secret to understanding the world at large and your place in it? Or is she just more interested in how your shoe tastes? In "Sylvia," the world of a middle-aged New York couple is turned topsy-turvy when the husband brings home an exceptionally engaging canine running loose in Central Park.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Sylvia

    ‘Sylvia,’ in Which a Man Loves a Dog Too Much

    Charles Isherwood

    October 27, 2015: A new revival of “Sylvia,” A. R. Gurney’s dark drama about a psychopath with tendencies toward bestiality, opened at the Cort Theater on Broadway Tuesday night, with Matthew Broderick playing the nut job, Greg, and Annaleigh Ashford as the title character, a pert little mutt who becomes the object of his obsessive devotion. Wait, what’s that? You heard it was a comedy? Technically, I suppose it is, as the jolly laughter of those around me attested. Maybe, as a cat person — moreover, one who finds having to watch people pick up dog feces on a daily basis one of the more distasteful (albeit necessary) aspects of city living — I am a touch biased. But in my defense, I will cite the views of Greg’s wife, Kate, played by Julie White, who begins to fear for his sanity when he comes home from Central Park one day with a stray and as the days go by proceeds to shower more affection on the dog than he does on Kate. She implores him to see a therapist, and eventually he accedes to her request. Once in the office he proceeds to rhapsodize about Sylvia’s “great little butt.”

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Sylvia

    Sylvia Theater review

    David Cote

    October 27, 2015: “Never work with animals or children,” W.C. Fields famously warned, but no one told Matthew Broderick. As midlife-crisis-stricken Greg in the urban fable "Sylvia," the actor must keep a straight face (and the audience’s attention) opposite Annaleigh Ashford’s title pooch. Sylvia is both beast and kid: hyperactive, impulsive and naturally selfish. In A.R. Gurney’s breezy, frisky comedy, the human-playing-canine device becomes a slippery metaphor: When Sylvia bounds happily into Greg’s life, she variously assumes the role of surrogate child, playmate and, unconsummatedly, mistress. But as Sylvia herself would probably insist, she’s just a dumb dog. Try telling that to a pet-obsessed New Yorker, which Greg becomes, horrifying wife Kate (Julie White, afroth as ever), an English teacher who has gladly ushered the final child to college.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Sylvia

    Broadway Review: 'Sylvia’ Starring Matthew Broderick

    Marilyn Stasio

    October 27, 2015: The shrewdest thing about this Broadway revival of “Sylvia” was the decision not to update A.R. Gurney’s 1995 comedy to the present day, when it would probably be stoned to death by feminists. Not because the title character, a dog, is played by a woman, but because the villain of the piece is the wife of the dog’s besotted owner, who wants the beast out of the house before it destroys her marriage. If you can put such thoughts out of your head, it’s a perfectly charming show. It’s love at first sight for Greg (Matthew Broderick, ideally cast as a sweet, clueless nebbish) and Sylvia (Annaleigh Ashford, delectable in the role originally played by Broderick’s wife, Sarah Jessica Parker), a scruffy mutt he finds wandering around in Central Park. “I love you,” Sylvia declares, in the slobbery way of dogs. “I think you’re God.”

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  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW OF Sylvia

    ‘Sylvia’ Starring Matthew Broderick

    Marc Snetiker

    October 27, 2015: It’s easy to grump your way through "Sylvia," A.R. Gurney’s 1995 comedy about a man, his wife, and the new dog that threatens to divide them. But just as quickly as a puppy can forget its mission du jour (be it bone or ball), so can a cynical audience member dither between delight and dismay at a 125-minute play about a man’s mutt-borne midlife-crisis. Eventually, the dog wears you down. In "Sylvia’s" first romp on Broadway, the titular hound is played by Annaleigh Ashford, exercising the same spastic motions and wandering intonations of speech she memorably exhibited in her Tony-winning turn last year in "You Can’t Take It With You." Ashford is no one-trick canine, but those now-signature performance quirks (which she also displayed in "Kinky Boots") lend themselves to the spontaneous, indecisive, and rambling nature of "Sylvia," whom Ashford plays with thoughtfulness and teenage vacuity somewhere between Snoopy and Kesha. With director Daniel Sullivan’s license, Ashford is spry and spasmodic in channeling the animal’s feral energy. Eventually, the physical half of the big “joke” — that is, human playing dog in earnest — wears thin, but Ashford rescues herself from her own plateaus with bursts of sudden enthusiasm (Sylvia’s listless barks of “Hey, hey, hey!” are a frequent highlight). At the same time, remember that this is a role that draws its biggest audience laugh from Ashford dragging her backside across the floor. Therein defines your enjoyment of "Sylvia."

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  • ASSOCIATED PRESS REVIEW OF Sylvia

    Raise the Ruff - 'Sylvia' on Broadway Is a Treat

    Mark Kennedy

    October 27, 2015: The following is a review of the Broadway play "Sylvia," in which an actress plays a dog. (Warning to those who look for bones to pick: There will be lots of silly puns.) Man's best friend may never have a better tail than A.R. Gurney's charming play, which opened Tuesday at the Cort Theatre. It helps when you have a hot dog in the title role and Annaleigh Ashford, a new Tony Award winner, is at the top of her co-me-tick game. She's off and running. "Sylvia" is about a large, part-Labrador, part-poodle female that latches onto the well-to-do Greg (an appealing Matthew Broderick) in Central Park. He's a restless empty-nester, somewhere "between the first hint of retirement and the first whiff of the nursing home." You might call him a little melan-collie. He starts to truly adore his doggie. Ashford is stepping into the paw tracks of a character previously played in New York in 1995 by Sarah Jessica Parker, who was dating future husband Broderick at the time. Now, as im-paw-sible as it seems, Broderick is playing Ashford's master. Daniel Sullivan directs with howling success.

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