The Karpovsky Variations

A.R.T./New York Theatres Gural Theatre, Manhattan

Critic reveals pro-tip for saving precious time and money on live theatre!

By Andrew Andrews

Michelle Liu Coughlin as the evil stepmother in Boomerang Theatre Company’s world premiere of Adam Kraar’s The Karpovsky Variations at ART/NY’s Gural Theatre in Hell’s Kitchen. Original photos by Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrical Photography.

Julia’s estranged father Lawrence has just passed away.

In an attempt to prevent Lawrence’s second wife from cremating him, his brother Barry has stolen the body and chartered a plane from NYC to Florida to bury him in the family plot.

Meanwhile, Julia flashes back to various childhood attempts to convince her father to share his love of clarinet with her, instead of flying off to an exotic location as a foreign press correspondent.

J.Anthony Crane, Chris Thorn, Barbara Broughton, Rivka Borek and Ezra Barnes as the Karpovsky family, directed by Tasha Gordon-Solmon.

Who doesn’t love Harry Chapin’s 1974 hit song, Cat’s in the Cradle?

Imagine, for a moment, that the song was written by a nominally-Jewish woman approaching middle age as she contemplated her estranged mother, inattentive father and the resulting alienation from her extended family.

Now, imagine that the 3½ minute song was dragged out for more than 2 hours, with most of the characters so self-absorbed that you wouldn’t want to know (much less relate to) any of them.

Think you’d still love it?

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s fitting to be reminded that writing a play can be great therapy for working through your daddy issues… and mommy issues… and uncle issues… and stepmom issues… and clarinet issues.

Sadly, great therapy doesn’t equate to great entertainment.

My partner and I already had enough of this story long before intermission, and although we stayed through the finish in hopes that it would redeem itself, the climax was only marginally better.

Spare yourself 2+ hours and a trek to the far west side, use the money you save to purchase or renew an Opplaud® premium subscription and Discover Theatre You’ll Love across New York’s Hudson Valley from Manhattan to Upstate!

Andrew Andrews attended The Karpovsky Variations at A.R.T./New York Theatres Gural Theatre in Manhattan on Thursday, May 19, 2022 @ 7:30pm to write this review.