I recently won the lottery to see “Straight White Men” on Broadway and while I try to always stay positive about theater, I have to say…I’m glad I didn’t pay full price for tickets.
As a straight white male myself, I thought this play would speak to me more, but instead it actually made me feel confused and disappointed. Now I don’t want to go into specifics or write a hit piece, so I’m only going to focus on what I really enjoyed about this show because I know not all theater is for everyone and when I am watching a show that doesn’t quite hit me, I like to find what I do like and move on from there.
When walking into the theater, they hit you with “This isn’t going to be a boring show about boring white dudes” by playing club music with flashing lights. I was surprised. Not what I expected.
The set was well designed. It was a large picture frame as if to tell you about how you are getting a story about a family. It said “Here’s a picture and this is the story behind it.” The set design did a great job of telling me what time period this show was written. The furniture was something out of everyone of my friends houses growing up. I loved the boom box speakers on top of the dresser. Who didn’t have one of those giant plastic looking speaker systems in their house?
If you go to see this show because of Armie Hammer, then you will be pleased. He is in basically the entire show. And that’s all I have to say about him.
The best acting in the show and one that really pulled me in was Paul Schneider. He played a mysterious character who was clearly going through some shit, but didn’t want to talk about it. One of the main plots of the play. He performed it with subtlety and drew you in wanting to know more. You could tell Paul had spent a lot of time in the theater.
This was one of those shows where I really wonder where it went wrong. Was the direction bad? Was the show itself not written well? Did the story even need to be told? It’s always easiest to blame the actors for a bad show, but there is much else involved here, that it makes me wonder where it went wrong.
I understand what the show was trying to do and say, but it was a little too over the top for me and I didn’t need the show to try to get me involved with numerous dance breaks and nut taps given out to each of the “brothers.” Overall, I just felt like the show tried a little too hard and it only pushed me away further.
If you are going to spend your money on a broadway show, I don’t recommend this one. It really didn’t hit the mark. But just because a play didn’t go over well in my brain, doesn’t mean it won’t for you. If you are an avid theater goer, then see it. Maybe you will get more out of it than I did. After all, the show is getting great reviews and unfortunately, I just can’t give it one for the way it spoke to me.