Torch Song BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Matthew Murphy
  • NY TIMES

  • DEADLINE

  • VARIETY

  • CHIC TRIB

  • HR

Opening Night:
November 1, 2018
Closing:
February 24, 2019

Theater: Helen Hayes Theatre / 240 West 44th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

After a smash-hit run Off-Broadway, HARVEY FIERSTEIN's TORCH SONG heads to Broadway for a strictly limited engagement. This critically acclaimed production of the Tony Award®-winning comedy stars Drama Desk Award winner MICHAEL URIE ("Younger," "Ugly Betty," Buyer & Cellar) and Academy Award® and Tony winner MERCEDES RUEHL (The Fisher King, Lost in Yonkers) and is directed by Tony nominee MOISÉS KAUFMAN (The Laramie Project, I Am My Own Wife).

Hilarious and heart-wrenching, TORCH SONG follows Arnold Beckoff's odyssey to find happiness in New York. All he wants is a husband, a child and a pair of bunny slippers that fit, but a visit from his overbearing mother reminds him that he needs one thing more: respect.

Join Arnold on this all too human journey about the families we're born into, the families we choose and the battles to bring them all home.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Torch Song

    Review: Lessons in Love From a Drama Queen in ‘Torch Song’

    Ben Brantley

    November 1, 2018: In life, drama queens, those extravagantly emotional beings who suck up all the oxygen in a room, are fatiguing souls, to be avoided at all costs when one is tired. But, ah, in fiction — in books and film, and especially on the stage — these same creatures can be an energizing joy, as stimulating as four shots of espresso. That’s why I am advising you to make the acquaintance of a grade-A specimen of this spectacular genus, whose presence is overflowing the Helen Hayes Theater. His undramatic name is Arnold Beckoff, though he also goes by the more promising moniker of Virginia Ham. And, as embodied by Michael Urie in the happy revival of Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song,” which opened on Thursday night, Arnold is just the guy and gal to pull you out of your election-season weariness.

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF Torch Song

    ‘Torch Song’ On Broadway: Michael Urie & Mercedes Ruehl Tune Things Up

    Greg Evans

    November 1, 2018: Harvey Fierstein’s glorious voice, that frog with a human stuck in it, remains so powerful you might swear you still hear it, loud and, well, loud in a Torch Song that can often only shout over the Harvey-shaped hole at its center. Last year’s hit Off Broadway revival, Torch Song (nee Torch Song Trilogy, the award-gathering marvel from 1982 that introduced Fierstein to the world) opens at Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theater tonight, its oh-so-cute bunny slippers in place. Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) and Oscar-winner Mercedes Ruehl (The Fisher King) reprise their Off Broadway performances as the big-hearted drag queen Arnold Beckoff and his caustic, disapproving but down-deep lovin’ Ma. Okay, so the slippers fit better than the roles that were custom-made way back when by Fierstein and a soon-to-be-Golden Estelle Getty. And no some of the gags don’t land. Urie is too trim for big-boned jokes, Ruehl isn’t the tiny Getty-sized Getty. Director Moisés Kaufman and Fierstein have streamlined things, not ideally but smoothly enough. The play’s connective tissue was always more spirit than plot anyway.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Torch Song

    Broadway Review: ‘Torch Song’

    Marilyn Stasio

    November 1, 2018: In “Torch Song,” an affectionate if ill-considered revival of Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy,” Michael Urie makes a brave but bizarre effort to channel the playwright’s own groundbreaking star performance as a lovelorn drag queen in Manhattan’s 1970s gay society. Everyone fell in love with Fierstein when he played himself (a.k.a. protagonist Arnold Beckoff) in the three plays of his beloved “Torch Song Trilogy.” But as imperfectly directed here by Moises Kaufman, Urie has made little attempt to make the role of Arnold his own. Arnold may be a professional performer, but he doesn’t deserve to be played as a professional puppet. At more than an hour less than its original four-hour run time, the trimmed-down show has kept its basic storyline but lost some of its grace notes. It seems strange, for instance, that both playwright and the director should retain certain references that are pure Harvey Fierstein, like the chubby jokes and the broad stage gestures that defined his quirky charm, but hardly apply to the trim new star. Even more grating is Urie’s strained attempt to imitate the writer’s distinctive voice, which sounds something like a frog being scrambled in an eggbeater.

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  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE REVIEW OF Torch Song

    'Torch Song' on Broadway is Harvey Fierstein’s play from a time a gay son couldn't even trust his mom

    Chris Jones

    November 1, 2018: For some younger audience members inside the Helen Hayes Theatre, Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song” must seem like a weird relic from another time — a 1982 experience, meaning a trip back to when you couldn’t trust your lover to trust himself to be gay or your own mother to accept you, as you. Not that every mother is now more understanding, nor is every closet door flung open in pride. Still, to watch “Torch Song” is to marvel at how far we have together come. The piece — originally the four-hour “Torch Song Trilogy” but now cut back to three and staged on a retro-cool, neon-crusted setting from David Zinn — was written only three years before Larry Kramer eviscerated everyone from Ed Koch to the bathhouse owners to the New York Times in the seminal AIDS drama, “The Normal Heart.” Gay New York City changed and suffered a lot in those three years. But there is little anger beyond personal frustration in “Torch Song” — just love looking for the home it deserves. On Broadway, the heart always has sold the most tickets and this show has all the right feels.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Torch Song

    'Torch Song': Theater Review

    David Rooney

    November 1, 2018: The edited Torch Song, abbreviated like its title down to a brisk two-hours-50-minutes with one intermission, certainly contains its share of tragedy, conflict and sad incomprehension. But it remains the supreme essence of the playwright's signature humor — warm, just as often self-deprecating as bitingly accusatory, and unapologetically sentimental. The production felt a little choppy and uncertain last fall, with the talented Urie doubling down on self-satirizing Arnold by rendering the lovelorn professional drag queen a mushy caricature. Not only does he now feel more like a flesh-and-blood person — his needs and vulnerabilities and the self-defense mechanism of his caustic wit all achingly human; his vocal mannerisms part of who he is, not just a layer of performance — but the staging has acquired greater fluidity and emotional richness. David Zinn's sets (ranging from suggestive minimalism through playful stylization to homey detail) and David Lander's descriptive lighting also look gorgeous on the Hayes stage, as do the pleasingly understated period costumes of Clint Ramos.

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