First, Karam’s The Humans transferred from off-Broadway to Broadway, where it won the 2016 Tony as Best Play. Now, it is transferring to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The original review from December 2015 of the play when it first appeared at the Laura Pels is below:
Does it seem like dysfunctional is the new normal?
Stephen Karam’s The Humans, playing at Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre through January 3rd, might have better been named Family Festivities, or At Home with Brigid and Rich –(two possible and still lame alternatives) –as it is, it is still more than worthy of our attention.
The people gathering at Brigid Blake’s (Sarah Steele) new duplex apartment in a Chinatown basement are there to celebrate Thanksgiving. Her live-in boyfriend, Richard Saad (Arian Moayed). who is doing the cooking, is contentedly overwhelmed by her clan and their rituals. As a backdrop to the goings-on, Grandma “Momo” (Lauren Klein) mutters dementedly and somewhat angrily throughout dinner.
To call the Blakes dysfunctional is perhaps overstating the case, although Brigid’s dad, Erik (Reed Birney) might be harboring a wretched secret, while her sister Aimee (Cassie Beck) is mourning a breakup from a bad relationship. Their mother, Deirdre (Jayne Houdyshell) foists religion–not so good-naturedly– on her children. It’s easy to relate to Karam’s family drama with its sense of familiarity.
Although I find that The Humans is an off-putting name for a play, at least for this play, this is just a quibble. The Humans is engaging and well-written.
Joe Mantello gives the afternoon, and its aftermath, in The Humans a leisurely naturalistic pace. David Zinn’s two-tier staging makes The Humans feel both expansive and claustrophobic in its confinement.
The production is “Broadway-esque” and Broadway-worthy, and headed for the “great white way” in 2016.
The ensemble are luminous, with Houdyshell, Steele, and Birney stand-outs in an outstanding cast.
To find out more about The Humans, please visit The Roundabout website.