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Reviews: What Did the Critics Have to Say About Debra Messing in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Birthday Candles?

John Earl Jelks and Enrico Colantoni co-star in the Noah Haidle play, which opened on Broadway April 10.

Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway premiere production of Birthday Candles by Noah Haidle officially opened April 10 at the American Airlines Theatre, and the reviews are in.

Vivienne Benesch directs the cast, led by Emmy winner Debra Messing (Will and Grace, Outside Mullingar) and including Tony nominee John Earl Jelks (Sweat, Radio Golf), Enrico Colantoni (Just Shoot Me, Veronica Mars) in his Broadway debut, Crystal Finn (Roundabout’s Bobbie Clearly), Susannah Flood (The Cherry Orchard), and Christopher Livingston (Roundabout’s Something Clean).

The play follows Ernestine Ashworth (Messing), who, through the baking of a birthday cake over a 100-year period, examines her life and place in the universe.

Read the reviews below.

Chicago Tribute (Chris Jones)

Deadline (Greg Evans)

Entertainment Weekly (Dave Quinn)

New York Stage Review (Melissa Rose Bernardo)

New York Stage Review (Frank Scheck)

New York Theater (Jonathan Mandell)

New York Times (Maya Phillips)

Theatrely (Juan A. Ramirez) 

Playbill will continue to update this article as reviews are published.

The design team includes set design by Christine Jones, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Jen Schriever, sound design by John Gromada, and original music by Kate Hopgood.

Birthday Candles was commissioned by Detroit Public Theatre, where it premiered in 2018. It was originally slated for production at Roundabout in spring 2020. The play marks Haidle’s Broadway debut, but his work has previously been seen on New York stages at Roundabout Theatre Company (Mr. Marmalade) and Lincoln Center Theater (Saturn Returns).

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