Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Broadway Theater Review: The Parisian Woman with Uma Thurman

The Parisian Woman
By Beau Willimon
Directed by Pam MacKinnon
Hudson Theatre
Through March 11

By Lauren Yarger
Blackmail, political ambition, sexual scandals and Trump jokes combine to make more than today's headlines. They are the crux of a new play, The Parisian Woman, from "House of Cards" creator Beau Willimon, based on a play focusing on those  topics -- well sans the Trump jokes -- that stirred up some controversy in late 19th-Century Paris long before being anti-Trump was in vogue.

It stars Uma Thurman ("Kill Bill, "Pulp Fiction," “Imposters” in her Broadway debut as Chloe, a Washington DC socialite playing politics to guarantee an appeals-court appointment for her  husband, Tom (Josh Lucas, also of film fame: "Sweet Home Alabama" and "American Psycho"), whose career as a tax attorney hasn't exactly qualified him for the position. We're not ever quite sure how these two ended up together. Was there ever any love between them, or was it all a partnership to get ahead politically. In the end, we don't care that these answers never seem forthcoming.

Chloe's romantic liaison with big-time Trump donor Peter (Martin Csokas) doesn't seem to work in the couple's favor, so she uses her skills on well-connected Jeanette (a solid Blair Brown), who is awaiting her own appointment confirmation to a cushy post and who has offered an oasis of friendship in the harsh dessert of DC politics. Her daughter, Jeanette's daughter, Rebecca (an underused Phillipa Soo), eyeing her own political career, might just be the "trump" card Chloe needs.

Pam MacKinnon directs, but leave little mark on the play, which, except for a couple of "House of Card" twists, is a rather uneventful hour and a half. Willllimon's also wrote the play Farragut North and "Ides of March." the film based on it.

 "La Parisienne," Henri Becque's controversial play which debuted in Paris in 1885, and which inspired this work commissioned by The Flea Theater in New York City, also was the basis for a 1957 movie starring Brigitte Bardot. I guess sex, politics and intrigue will never go out of style. This production has a lot of the latter -- style, that is. Derek McLane's sets are classy and Jane Greenwood provides ample costume to keep things interesting (while Broken Chord supplies Original Music and Sound Design for the changes).

The Parisian Woman plays at the Hudson Theatre, 141 West 44th St., NYC, through March 11. Perfromance times vary. Tickets are $49.50-$260:

Additional credits:
Peter Kaczorowski (lighting design), Darrel Maloney (projections), Hair Design is by Tom Watson (hair design) Tommy Kurzman (makeup design).

-- The theater suggests the material is for 14 and up.
-- God's name taken in vain
-- Sexual activity
-- Language
-- Homosexuality
-- Homosexual activity

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists. Her play concept, "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York. Shifting from reviewing to producing, Yarger owns Gracewell Productions, which produced the Table Reading Series at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. She trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Intensive and other training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run. She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She wrote reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She was a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a former vice president and voting member of The Drama Desk.

She is a freelance writer and playwright (member Dramatists Guild of America). She is a member if the The Outer Critics Circle (producer of the annual awards ceremony) and a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, serving as Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter. Yarger was a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2024 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women or people of a certain race are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide, or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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