The Waverly Gallery BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich


  • NY 1



Opening Night:
October 25, 2018
January 27, 2019

Theater: John Golden Theatre / 252 West 45th Street, New York, NY, 10036


Iconic actor, comedian, writer, and director Elaine May returns to Broadway for the first time in 50 years in Academy Award® winner Kenneth Lonergan’s acclaimed memory play, The Waverly Gallery.

A powerfully poignant and often hilarious play, The Waverly Gallery is about the final years of a generous, chatty, and feisty grandmother’s final battle against Alzheimer’s disease. Gladys is an old-school lefty and social activist and longtime owner of a small art gallery in Greenwich Village. The play explores her fight to retain her independence and the subsequent effect of her decline on her family, especially her grandson. More than a memory play, The Waverly Gallery captures the humor and strength of a family in the face of crisis.

Directed by Drama Desk and Obie Award winner Lila Neugebauer (in her Broadway debut), the cast includes Grammy Award winner, and Academy and Golden Globe Award nominee, Elaine May, one half of the legendary comedy duo, Nichols and May, whose landmark show An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May famously played the John Golden Theatre; Academy Award nominee Lucas Hedges; Tony Award® winner Joan Allen; and, in his third Lonergan play, Michael Cera.

Originally premiering at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in August 1999, The Waverly Gallery is a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Waverly Gallery

    Elaine May Might Break Your Heart in ‘Waverly Gallery’

    Ben Brantley

    October 25, 2018: From the moment Gladys Green opens her mouth — which is the moment that the curtain rises on Kenneth Lonergan’s wonderful play “The Waverly Gallery” at the Golden Theater — it’s clear that for this garrulous woman, idle conversation isn’t a time killer. It is a lifeline. An octogenarian New Yorker, former lawyer and perpetual hostess for whom schmoozing and kibitzing have always been as essential as breathing, Gladys operates on the principle that if she can just continue to talk, she can surely power through the thickening fog of her old age. That she has clearly already lost this battle makes her no less valiant. That it’s Elaine May who is giving life to Gladys’s war against time lends an extra power and poignancy to “The Waverly Gallery,” which opened on Thursday night under Lila Neugebauer’s fine-tuned direction. Long fabled as a director, script doctor and dramatist, Ms. May first became famous as a master of improvisational comedy, instantly inventing fully detailed, piquantly neurotic characters who always leaned slightly off-kilter.

  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF The Waverly Gallery

    ‘The Waverly Gallery’: Kenneth Lonergan, Lucas Hedges, Michael Cera & Elaine May Paint A Tour De Force

    Greg Evans

    October 25, 2018: Kenneth Lonergan, along with his Manchester by the Sea discovery Lucas Hedges and Lobby Hero star Michael Cera, team with the astonishing Elaine May and Joan Allen for The Waverly Gallery, a vital comic drama that dares us to laugh before delivering the gut punch we know is coming. Opening tonight at the Golden Theatre, sensitively directed by Lila Neugebauer, Waverly Gallery – a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2001 only now making its long-in-coming Broadway debut – is an unsparing visit with a family in extremis. Performed by that first-rate cast – add David Cromer to the list – Lonergan’s play, at once loving and unsentimental, gives attention to that long, inevitable passage in a family’s life when the old slip away.

  • NY1 REVIEW OF The Waverly Gallery

    Theater Review: 'The Waverly Gallery'

    Roma Torre

    October 25, 2018: Kenneth Lonergan's shattering portrait of a woman's descent into senility is painful to watch, but its heartfelt honesty sets the stage for a very talented company to remind us to cherish the time we've got. When we first meet Gladys Green, we find a thoughtful, vibrant woman engaged in life and contentedly running an art gallery in the Village that doesn't get much traffic. Her memory is noticeably slipping and she repeats herself a lot.

  • VARIETY REVIEW OF The Waverly Gallery

    Kenneth Lonergan’s ‘The Waverly Gallery’ With Lucas Hedges

    Marilyn Stasio

    October 25, 2018: In 1989, Greenwich Village was still the kind of place where a nice old lady like Gladys Green could own and operate an art gallery for unknown artists who never sold a painting to impoverished patrons who never came. Played with great warmth, sensitivity, and good humor by the legendary Elaine May in the Broadway production of Kenneth Lonergan’s “The Waverly Gallery,” Gladys was once a practicing attorney with plenty of clients and a busy social life. These days, she’s happy just to have an occasional lost soul drop by. Don Bowman is one of those lost souls. Played with sweet cluelessness, if a certain degree of hesitancy, by Michael Cera, Don is an endearingly untalented painter who seems to have no idea that Gladys is a bit, well, out of it. Her verbal hesitancy (the nouns keep escaping her) and general vagueness don’t seem to register at all with him. What does register loud and clear is her willingness to mount a show of his work.


    'Waverly Gallery' on Broadway with Elaine May and Michael Cera: We all must come face to face with age

    Chris Jones

    October 25, 2018: The 86-year-old Elaine May — who last appeared on Broadway 52 years ago in a show that ran for about 30 seconds — is gifted with a face formed in the shape of a smile. And anyone who remembers her iconic 1960s comedy routines with the late Mike Nichols knows that nobody, but nobody, listens to scene partners as intensely as May. Especially now, it is revealed. She absorbs the energy of other actors like she’s getting a blood transfusion, live on stage. That grinning visage, and that palpable zest for life, combine to make May’s performance atop a starry new Broadway production of Kenneth Lonergan's “The Waverly Gallery" (she’s working with those kids Michael Cera, Joan Allen, Lucas Hedges and David Cromer) both one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see in a Broadway theater and one of the most profoundly sad.



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