John Lithgow: Stories By Heart BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus




  • EW

Opening Night:
January 11, 2018
March 4, 2018

Theater: American Airlines / 227 West 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10036


John Lithgow, beloved stage and screen star, returns to Broadway in John Lithgow: Stories by Heart.

Virtuosity and imagination combine in one utterly unique event, as Tony and Emmy Award winner John Lithgow creates a singularly intimate evening. With equal measures of humor and heart, he evokes memories of family, explores and expands the limits of the actor’s craft, and masterfully conjures a cast of indelible characters by writers from Ring Lardner to P. G. Wodehouse. Lithgow elevates the magic of storytelling to masterful new heights, with a performance The New York Times calls “a tour de force.”

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF John Lithgow: Stories By Heart

    Review: Surprise Lessons From John Lithgow’s ‘Stories by Heart’

    Jesse Green

    Check, check,” goes the razor. “Scha, scha, scha,” goes the strop.

    But there is no razor; there is no strop.

    The only thing making noise onstage during John Lithgow’s “Stories by Heart,” which opened Thursday evening at the American Airlines Theater, is Mr. Lithgow himself. Reciting Ring Lardner’s 1925 short story “Haircut,” set in a small-town barbershop in the Midwest, he brings an anthropologist’s specificity (and a Foley artist’s ingenuity) to every swoop of the apron and slap of the pomade that accompanies the main character’s monologue.

    So, to begin with, give Mr. Lithgow a sound effects award.

    And then give him one for spiritual effects, because “Stories by Heart” is delightful: illuminating the stories, uplifting us.

  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF John Lithgow: Stories By Heart

    Broadway Review: John Lithgow’s Evocative ‘Stories By Heart’

    Jeremy Gerard

    How well we know John Lithgow’s satisfying face, his agreeable body: The eyes narrowed quizzically above a smile slimmed by secrets (or is it menace?); the frame softly hulking, lacking intimidation. It has been so familiar it deserves landmark cultural status. Who else has a resume as varied as this, from the transexual Roberta Muldoon in The World According to Garp and  Debra Winger’s milquetoast lover in Terms of Endearment, the crazed preacher daddy of Footloose, and then on to memorable TV roles in 3rd Rock From the Sun and  Dexter, not to mention (pace Gary Oldman) his BAFTA and Emmy winning, Golden Globe-nominated turn as Winston Churchill in The Crown. And I haven’t even mentioned the really bad guys he’s played During that time he’s also earned six Tony nominations and won twice, also across an astonishing range of roles, from Chicago newspaper editor Walter Burns in The Front Page to a French diplomat seduced by a Chinese opera star in the original M. Butterfly. I was probably the only person in Lithgow’s audience the other night who reviewed his “Mountain” McClintock in the out-of-town tryout of Rod Serling’s Requiem for a Heavyweight (possibly the only one to have seen it at all, since it lasted on Broadway just long enough to earn him another Tony nod before shuttering after three performances).

  • NY DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF John Lithgow: Stories By Heart

    ‘John Lithgow: Stories By Heart’ review: sweet but slight

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    Midway through his sweet but slight solo Broadway show, “Stories By Heart,” John Lithgow addressed the audience. “Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to tuck in my shirt,” he said. “Sadly, that may be the most memorable moment of the entire evening.” It wasn’t. Most noteworthy is this Tony- and Emmy-winner’s easygoing charm, along with his talent for creating distinct voices and visages for characters. He has honed his skills during a long career in which he’s played such roles as aliens (“3rd Rock from the Sun”), columnists (“The Sweet Smell of Success”) and Winston Churchill (“The Crown”). Still, there’s something to his scripted quip about being memorable. Lithgow’s show is personal and has heart. But it also has a weak pulse. Long story short: The two-hour piece, directed for the Roundabout by Daniel Sullivan, makes for a slim evening.

  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF John Lithgow: Stories By Heart

    John Lithgow: Stories by Heart

    Adam Feldman

    It is hard to imagine who, aside from John Lithgow, could fashion a Broadway show from a pair of bedtime stories and not make everyone fall asleep. Yet there the actor is in Stories by Heart, alone on a stage whose simple wood furnishings and paneling evoke the absence of John Lee Beatty’s usual grand sets for the Roundabout Theatre Company, with nothing to keep us on the hook but Lithgow’s masterly cultivation, confidence and warmth—and a relic-like 1939 anthology called Tellers of Tales, edited by W. Somerset Maugham. It was through late-night readings of short stories from this very tome, Lithgow says, that his father (who ran a series of Shakespeare festivals) instilled in his children an appreciation for “the simple power of great writing and spoken words to grab hold of people and carry them away.” Although Stories by Heart winds up providing no such abductions, it is a pleasant way to stay put on a winter’s night.

  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW OF John Lithgow: Stories By Heart

    John Lithgow's Stories by Heart is an acting masterclass, but not much else: EW review

    David Canfield

    John Lithgow never goes more than a few years without appearing on Broadway, but his newest production still marks something of a late-career breakthrough. His one-person show, Stories by Heart, premiered Off-Broadway in 2008, at the Lincoln Center Theater; in the decade since, he’s taken the show around the country, refining it as he’s moved from city to city. Finally, after being produced in dozens of regional theaters, Stories by Heart has made it to the Great White Way. This play is a deeply personal one for Lithgow. Neatly dressed and with a warm smile, he channels his audience’s sense of anticipation upon entering the stage. “So what the hell is this?” he asks, knowingly, before guiding us through the show’s most significant moments. Lithgow takes on the role of an old-fashioned storyteller as he dictates every twist and turn. There’s an innocence to his demeanor which is very much by design: The show is inspired by the times he and his siblings would listen to their father read short stories to them, and transport them to thrilling, imagined world



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