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MTC’s THE PITMEN PAINTERS hailed by critics




“Exciting, in-the-moment theater

as rich and intriguing as art is meant to be.”

Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Manhattan Theatre Club’s American premiere of Tony Award winner Lee Hall’s THE PITMEN PAINTERS opened last week to glowing reviews from New York critics.  The play, directed by Max Roberts, plays at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street).

Below is a sampling of what critics said about the production:


The Pitmen Painters belongs to a fine tradition of establishment-challenging theater. Lee Hall makes a valiant case for art as a fruitful stimulant to sleepy minds. Roberts has steered the cast into a gratifyingly in-sync ensemble, of sprightly pace. Gary McCann’s set and costumes and Douglas Kuhrt’s lighting evoke time and place with attractively spare efficiency.”

n  Ben Brantley, The New York Times


“A priceless piece of theatre. The superlative ‘painters’ of this astonishing production are phenomenal talents. Lee Hall’s brilliant script captures truly authentic voices in all their prickly, naïve glory. Under the impeccable direction of Max Roberts, this exceptional ensemble has managed to polish the play to near perfection. The Pitmen Painters is a joy to watch.”

n   Roma Torre, NY1


“Lee Hall’s play is flawlessly helmed by Max Roberts with an extraordinary ensemble. Christopher Connel gives an emotionally blistering portrayal. David Whitaker plays his role with disarming good humor, while Deka Walmsley plays the group’s disciplinarian with scowling conviction and Michael Hodgson gives a wonderfully thundering performance.”

n  Marilyn Stasio, Variety


The Pitmen Painters uses brushstrokes that are light and funny to tell the journey of the goodhearted people from a hardscrabble mining town. The cast exude an easy comfort on stage, their dialogue and movements timed with military precision, but allowing each character’s personality to shine through. Ian Kelly is excellent as the art professor the miners hire. Gary McCann, the scenic and costume designer’s work is ingenious and sound designer Martin Hodgson gives the production a real visceral feeling.

n  Mark Kennedy, Associated Press


“Lee Hall’s play has been given an assured staging by Max Roberts that is crisp and clean. There are uniformly stellar performances from the terrific cast which includes Lisa McGrillis and Phillippa Wilson.”

n   Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News


“Absolutely amazing. I was riveted by the beautiful acting.”

n  Joan Hamburg, WOR Radio


“An entertaining and touching piece of entertainment that is intelligent, poignant, and thought-provoking.”

n  Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal


The Pitmen Painters has much of importance to say about the nature of art. Lee Hall, who infuses the proceedings with several highly amusing episodes, renders his characters in vivid strokes that never succumb to caricature. Expertly acted by the ensemble and evocatively directed by Max Roberts, the production also gains tremendous impact from its showcasing of recreations of the miners’ actual artworks, which are indeed fine enough to hang in the most prestigious galleries and museums.”

n  Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter


Manhattan Theatre Club, by special arrangement with Bob Boyett, produces the Live Theatre, Newcastle/National Theatre of Great Britain’s co-production of THE PITMEN PAINTERS on Broadway.  THE PITMEN PAINTERS began previews on Tuesday, September 14 and opened on Thursday, September 30.

The cast, who have been with the production since it premiered at Live Theatre in 2007, includes: Christopher Connel, Michael Hodgson, Ian Kelly, Brian Lonsdale, Lisa McGrillis, Deka Walmsley, David Whitaker and Phillippa Wilson.

Inspired by a book by William Feaver, and hailed by London critics as “a glorious instant classic” (Evening Standard), “a wonderful piece of theatre” (Financial Times), “a beautiful work of art that everybody should see” (The Times of London), and “a superb piece of work; warm, funny, sad, and thought-provoking” (The Daily Telegraph), the play tells the story of the Ashington Group – miners from Northumberland who became celebrated painters. THE PITMEN PAINTERS was named Best Play at the 2008 Evening Standard Awards.

Direct from a sold-out engagement at London’s National Theatre, this funny and fascinating new play by Tony Award winner Lee Hall (writer of Broadway’s mega-hit Billy Elliot) comes to Broadway with its entire original London cast intact. THE PITMEN PAINTERS is based on the triumphant true story of a group of British miners who discover a new way to express themselves and unexpectedly become art-world sensations! An arresting and hilarious salute to the power of individual expression and the collective spirit, THE PITMEN PAINTERS takes you on an unforgettable journey from the depths of the mine to the heights of fame.

THE PITMEN PAINTERS features scenic and costume design by Gary McCann, lighting design by Douglas Kuhrt, and sound design by Martin Hodgson.

The cast of THE PITMEN PAINTERS is appearing with the permission of Actors’ Equity Association. The producers gratefully acknowledge Actors’ Equity Association for its assistance of this production.

Tickets are available by calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200, online by visiting www.Telecharge.com, or by visiting the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre Box Office (261 West 47th Street). Ticket prices are $57 – $121.

For more information on MTC, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.


Please note THE PITMEN PAINTERS is dark on Mondays:

  • THROUGH SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 21: Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM.
  • MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 28 (THANKSGIVING WEEK): Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 PM. Tuesday at 7 PM. Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM. Dark on Thursday.
  • MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29 – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12: Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Producer Barry Grove, MTC has become one of the country’s most prominent and prestigious theatre companies. Over the past three decades, MTC productions have earned a total of 17 Tony Awards and six Pulitzer Prizes, an accomplishment unparalleled by a New York theatrical institution. MTC has a Broadway home at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) and an Off-Broadway theatre at New York City Center – Stage I (131 West 55th Street). Renowned MTC productions include Time Stands Still; The Royal Family; Ruined; The American Plan; Come Back, Little Sheba; Blackbird; Translations; Shining City; Rabbit Hole; Doubt; Proof; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife; Love! Valour! Compassion!; A Small Family Business; Sylvia; Putting It Together; Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; Crimes of the Heart; and Ain’t Misbehavin.’
For more information on MTC, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.

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