Straight White Men Tickets
Widower Ed (Stephen Payne) invites his three forty-something sons home to his middle-class house in the Midwest for Chinese takeout and manly family bonding. One question arises that the men can’t answer, creating awkward discussions and introspection for all four of them. Introducing the show and performing the set changes are the “Persons in Charge” (Kate Bornstein and Ty Defoe) two gender-non-binary performance artists playing stage versions of themselves, engaging with the audience whenever they are centre stage.
If it sounds unconventional, it’s because it is. Young Jean Lee has built a reputation for writing unique and experimental works, such as Lear and Untitled Feminist Show, but Straight White Men is her first work to be featured on Broadway. However, apart from the avant-garde flourishes from the Persons in Charge, Straight White Men is predominantly a naturalistic domestic comedy/drama that probes ideas of identity and privilege, without preaching to or berating any demographic in the audience, whilst also skewering its own theatrical conventions.
The acting pedigree in Straight White Men is superb. Armie Hammer (Golden Globe nominee for Call Me by Your Name) makes a strong Broadway debut as Drew, the “baby brother” of the group. Josh Charles (People’s Choice Award winner for his role in TV drama The Good Wife) is excellent as nervy but successful divorcee middle-brother, Jake. Paul Schneider (Bright Star, Parks & Recreation) plays the oldest brother Matt with skilled understatement, believably portraying a man once believed by his family to be so full of potential, but now living with his father without much to show for himself. The patriarch and host of the get-together, Ed, is played with the right balance of warmth and fatherly drollness by Stephen Payne (Of Mice And Men).
Straight White Men at the Hayes Theater is an intelligent, warm and memorable experience, with fantastic performances and astute writing. The smaller size of the Hayes Theater nicely compliments the intimacy of the show.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (no intermission)
Age recommendation: Recommended 13+
Special notice: This is a must-see for lovers of intelligent, contemporary American drama. Armie Hammer fans curious to see his Broadway debut will not be disappointed.