Posted in David Wilson Barnes, family drama, inheritance, Jennifer Mudge, legacy, Michael Cristofer, Stephen Belber

"Don’t Go Gentle"

We all know that the scales of justice are often out of balance. 

In Stephen Belber’s “Don’t Go Gentle,” an MCC Theater world premiere at the Lucille Lortel through November 4th,  Lawrence (Michael Cristofer) looks to right that inequity. 

Photo by Joan Marcus. David Wilson Barnes as Ben, Jennifer Mudge as Amelia and Michael Cristofer as Lawrence.

Lawrence, a conservative judge who is sick with cancer, makes end of life assessments and adjustments. Lawrence is concerned over his legacy. In his eagerness to redress wrongs and “evolve” as he puts it, he over-corrects and crosses a line.

Encouraged by his daughter, Amelia (Jennifer Mudge) to give pro bono counsel, Lawrence offers his legal advice to Tanya (Angela Lewis.) Tanya and her teenage son, Rasheed (Maxx Brawer) are badly in need of Lawrence’s aid. What starts out as a project to keep Lawrence active, ends by giving him a purpose.

Photo by Joan Marcus. David Wilson Barnes and Michael Cristofer in a scene from “Don’t Go Gentle”

Lawrence’s decisions rekindle the resentments his children, particularly his son, Ben (David Wilson Barnes) harbor from an unexceptional childhood.

Maxx Brawer, Angela Lewis with David Wilson Barnes in background, and Michael  Cristofer in a photo by Joan Marcus

The acting with Michael Cristofer in the lead, is superb. Newcomer, Maxx Brawer makes the most of Rasheed’s gawky but inherent nobility and wisdom. Angela Lewis, David Wilson Barnes and Jennifer Mudge each deiiver little gems of characterization. 

Director Lucie Tiberghien understands and clarifies the moral dilemmas in Belber’s wonderfully-written “Don’t Go Gentle.”  The pacing in each scene of the intermissionless production is perfect.

For more information on MCC Theater and “Don’t Go Gentle,” please visit