The Minutes Reviews
The New York Times- Recommended
"...He tips his hand slowly. "The Minutes" is at first content merely to assemble, in a series of deft introductions, a hilarious portrait of the burghers of Big Cherry, a "wet sock of a town" whose main industry seems to be self-satisfaction. Under the handsome barrel vault of the council chamber, and in front of a mural of vague allegorical figures - the witty set is by David Zinn - we meet the mayor and the nine other members of the august body."
NY Daily News- Highly Recommended
"...For a play written some five years ago, the work retains remarkable currency. It's not as if American democracy suddenly is feeling more secure. And it's another example of powerful Steppenwolf acting, not the showcase "August: Osage County" afforded, but a symphony of provincial low-burn tyranny, nonetheless. You might be put in mind of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." Or "Stranger Things." Or a grown up version of "Lord of the Flies.""
New York Theater- Highly Recommended
"..."Democracy's messy," the mayor, portrayed by Tracy Letts, says to the newest member of the Big Cherry City Council, Mr. Peel (Noah Reid.) But messy is too mild a word for the goings-on in "The Minutes," opening tonight on Broadway. On the surface, Letts' new play simply presents a weekly meeting of the city council of a small American town. But "The Minutes" manages to be both a hilarious satire, and a harsh history lesson that's indistinguishable from a horror story."
Variety- Highly Recommended
"..."The Minutes" is both a political comedy and a wicked, methodically plotted horror show, not unlike American democracy and its original sins. The play's razor-sharp edge is all the more cutting for being polished with easy wit, like tickling a captive before releasing the guillotine."
New York Post- Recommended
"..."The Minutes," directed by Anna D. Shapiro, is a more pointedly political play from Letts than usual. "August: Osage County," "Bug" and "Linda Vista" all flirted with issues, but didn't go there like his latest does. I'm glad the playwright tries something new here, even if the fireworks don't go off as planned."
Entertainment Weekly- Somewhat Recommended
"...The roundelay of casual banalities and comic riffs in the play's first hour are no doubt meant to draw contrast to that pivot, but it's not really strong enough to support what follows - too circular and broadly sitcom-ish to make the stakes matter or the characters specific beyond their archetypes. The set is deliberately unremarkable too, a standard municipal netherworld of industrial carpets and vaguely civic-minded murals, and the direction, by Anna D. Shapiro (who won a 2008 Tony for helming Osage County), unfurls in rushed, stagey cadences. The messages drilled home in Minutes' final moments - about truth and justice, erasure and accountability - may be ones that some in the wide-swath audience of a Broadway show will still see as epiphanies. For most of us living in the smoking ash pile of the last several years, though, it's just old news."
amNY- Highly Recommended
"...As the 90-minute play (sharply directed by Anna D. Shapiro) goes along, it turns increasingly bizarre, biting, and engrossing, as a debate over how to respond to a disturbing revelation about the town's past evokes the heated backlash to "critical race theory.""
Washington Post- Highly Recommended
"..."The Minutes" had its official opening Sunday at Broadway's Studio 54, in a juicily subversive production directed by Anna D. Shapiro. Taking place during a closed city council meeting in mythical Big Cherry in Almost Anystate, U.S.A., this sterling comedy-drama starts in unassumingly sedate fashion. Ninety minutes later, it explodes like a meticulously wrapped gift that had been hiding a live grenade. What unfolds in between is a scathing satire of the American way - which is to say, the official predilection for denial, denial, denial of the country's historic sins, particularly as they concern the cruel treatment of its original inhabitants."
The Wrap- Recommended
"..."The Minutes" isn't a tragedy or even a very funny comedy. It is stirring agitprop. It induces guilt, but don't worry. The effect is momentary. Out in the night air on West 54th Street, you can congratulate yourself for having seen a Broadway play that bluntly ridicules people who belong to the wrong tribe."
Deadline- Highly Recommended
"...Still, nothing in the play prepares us for the Rod Serling strangeness that brings The Minutes to its close. It's quite likely that audiences will be divided over it, which seems entirely fitting given the real-life scenes playing out at school board and local government meetings these days. History never really dies, even if it occasionally goes missing."
TheaterMania- Highly Recommended
"...Under Anna D. Shapiro's sharp direction, these performances perfectly convey Letts's shrewd depiction of the pitfalls of democracy: how elected positions become targets for those seeking to enrich themselves; how even honest public servants are constrained by the need to maintain a stable income; and how unaccountable power can graft itself onto democratic institutions and call itself legitimate. Letts dramatizes all of this with brutal, unflinching precision."
TheaterScene.net- Highly Recommended
"...Tracy Letts' The Minutes is both a fine political comedy as well as an indictment of how most Americans live today. It ultimately asks us to look at our values as well as our connection to the society around us. It will not make you so much as talk about it after you have seen it, but ask yourself if the indictment includes you. Continuing her connection to playwright Tracy Letts which began with August: Osage County in 2007, director Anna D. Shapiro adds another excellent contemporary play to her resume."
NY Theatre Guide- Recommended
"...In The Minutes, a backloaded button-pusher about power, history, and self-preservation, playwright Tracy Letts lifts the curtain on an ordinary closed town council meeting for a group portrait of American democracy at work. No shocker: It's not a pretty picture."
Broadway Blog- Highly Recommended
"...The Minutes takes an other-worldly turn in its final moments, which will certainly elicit debate among those in attendance. Perhaps it is this civil discourse that Letts was inspired to explore and dismantle - a reminder that theater has the power to, if not transform, at least question the beliefs we've come to assume are facts."
Stage Buddy- Highly Recommended
"..."The Minutes" contain everything -hypocrisy, greed, conformity - that constitute small town life and democracy. The council is made up of characters that we might even recognize. The play forces you to think but at least Letts permits us to laugh as well."
Theater Pizzazz- Highly Recommended
"...Tracy Letts - as both actor and author - offers a powerful performance, as well as daring, disturbing new play. He is supported by a superb cast, with notable performances by Austin Pendelton (one of New York theatre's treasures) and Blair Brown as Ms. Innes, a clueless councilwoman. Jessie Mueller plays the role of Ms. Johnson, the council's administrator, with a deftly droll deadpan. Noah Reid's entertaining, straight-man performance as Mr. Peel ("I know a little Latin, because I am a dentist!") devolves into a profile in courage, as he persists in the cause to uncover the truth. As Mr. Karp, Ian Barford proves to be the conscience of the play."
Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended
"...Superbly civic, the vast council chamber created by set designer David Zinn reeks of rectitude. Filling the stage at Studio 54 is a coffered arched ceiling with hanging strips of fluorescent lights. In the hallway outside this imposing space is a bulletin board with childrenís art, while the vast room is festooned with plaques, proclamations, and a World War I-era mural of maidens. This imposing auditorium oozes continuity, respectability and local pride. A prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance are recited. Itís the prelude to a closed town councilís meeting. But something is amiss: Itís been raining for two weeks, often accompanied by Sensurround thunder (awesome sound by Andrť Pluess) and the lights keep flickering, accompanied by a loud buzz ó a disruption taken as normal."
StageZine- Highly Recommended
"...Tracy Letts is a timely and a wonderful playwright but also a theatrical provocateur. Not that these can't go hand in hand; just look at the likes of Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee. His ideas and the way they unfold are brilliant but they can go too far in the end. The adage that "less is more" certainly applies to Mr. Letts. At times, he needs a strong director to smooth out the extreme rough edges. Mr. Williams had Elia Kazan, Mr. Albee had Alan Schneider, and Mr. Letts needs a stronger director who doesn't just rubber stamp what he writes in a script."
Daily Beast- Highly Recommended
"...The Minutes is a brilliantly sugared, very bitter pill. At first playwright and star Tracy Letts, and his on-fire company of actors, seem to take us to comedic Parks and Recreation territory. The play, which opens on Broadway on Sunday night (Studio 54, booking to July 24), is centered around a council meeting in the small town of Big Cherry, with a gallery of the strange, eccentric, and clueless blowhards you might expect flexing their jaded, policy-shaping muscles."
The Observer- Recommended
"...Tracy Letts is a Renaissance man in a rock-and-roll world, whose catalog of plays aimed at clarifying the troubles and shocks in the morally disintegrating world we live in usually succeed even if they seem complicated and infuriatingly exasperating in the process. His latest to open on Broadway is The Minutes, a sharp, caustic, often brilliant, funny and sometimes confusing political satire that runs 90 minutes without an intermission. You will probably leave at the end with very mixed feelings, but you will talk about it, think about it, and go away with the knowledge that you have never seen anything like it."
Broadway News- Somewhat Recommended
"...The script has the potential to be painfully relevant, but Letts stops short of fully interrogating each character's response. It's a shame, especially since "The Minutes," with its predominantly white, male cast, is close to being a searing exploration of white identity similar to Will Arbery's "Heroes of the Fourth Turning." And it should be: If you are going to critique how American history is taught, comment on Manifest Destiny and remark on the Civil War and Native Americans, not mentioning race is a glaring omission. Instead of truly reckoning with that bloody legacy, Letts chooses to pull his punches."
Theatrely- Highly Recommended
"...Anna D. Shapiro shrewdly directs the uniformly perfect ensemble on David Zinn's cavernously beautiful set. The council is sat at their desks for most of the play, so Letts' language is perfectly on display in this masterpiece of tension-filled Americana. When you aren't hilariously cracking up at the witty jokes and delicious direction, take some time to look at the detail of the desks and just what those items say about each member of the council, from colorful water bottles to 5 Hour Energy drinks. When you add in Ana Kuzmanic's costumes, Brian MacDevitt's lighting, and Andre Pluess' sound design and original music, it makes this non-stop 90 minute whirlwind a true hit. One thing is clear, if there is one play you choose to see on Broadway this season, have it be The Minutes."
New York Stage Review- Recommended
"...The Minutes doesn't fully live up to its considerable ambitions, and would probably be more effective in a smaller venue than Studio 54, more commonly a home for musicals. But it's the kind of serious work that provokes passionate debate and will linger in your memory. How often do we see that on Broadway?"
Cultural Daily- Highly Recommended
"...Letts' The Minutes is as equally riotous as Hangmen but a bit less subtle in its satire. Premiered in Chicago in the early days of the Trump administration, this metaphorical meteor of a comedy takes place at a Midwestern city council meeting during an appropriately stormy night. (David Zinn's detailed set captures the flavor of official suburbia.) The apparently average elected officials have gathered to discuss the upcoming annual Heritage Festival, a new handicapped-accessible public fountain and parking spaces. But something is definitely amiss due to the mysterious absence of the usually diligent Councilman Carp and the lack of recorded minutes from the previous week's meeting to explain it to new councilman Peel who was not present due to the death of his mother."
Total Theater- Highly Recommended
"...It's a rare treat to get to see so many fine actors together on the stage. Tracy Letts has written The Minutes, a rather disturbing drama which, at times, is downright funny. Letts appears as Mayor Superba, who is chairing a meeting of the local school board."