FINAL WEEKS to see the BEST-REVIEWED PLAY OF THE SEASON!
Must End Jan 12

Official Broadway Website. “The Sound Inside” is the new play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp, and starring Tony, Golden Globe, and Emmy Award winner Mary-Louise Parker.

“FLAWLESS! THRILLING! A GRIPPING MYSTERY.”

The New York Times

“MARY-LOUISE PARKER IS UNRIVALED BY ANYONE OF HER GENERATION!”

Vanity Fair

“A GRIPPING STUNNER OF A 90‑MINUTE PLAY!”

Chicago Tribune

“IT’S PERFECT!”

Variety

“MARY-LOUISE PARKER IS ASTONISHING!”

Deadline

“FLAWLESS! THRILLING! A GRIPPING MYSTERY.”

The New York Times

“MARY-LOUISE PARKER IS UNRIVALED BY ANYONE OF HER GENERATION!”

Vanity Fair

“A GRIPPING STUNNER OF A 90‑MINUTE PLAY!”

Chicago Tribune

“IT’S PERFECT!”

Variety

“MARY-LOUISE PARKER IS ASTONISHING!”

Deadline

WATCH THE VIDEO

A brilliant Ivy League writing professor. A talented yet mysterious student. An unthinkable favor.

Everyone has a story—the question is how it ends. Tony® and Emmy® Award winner Mary-Louise Parker returns to Broadway in this thrilling show that’s a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Backed by Lincoln Center Theater and Williamstown Theatre Festival, THE SOUND INSIDE is written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp (Red Light Winter), directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer (The Band’s Visit), and features Will Hochman in his Broadway debut. Taking you behind the ivy-covered walls of Yale, and into New York’s literary haven, Greenwich Village, THE SOUND INSIDE is a riveting new American play. 90 minutes – no intermission.

“A GRIPPING MYSTERY. AN ASTONISHING NEW PLAY.”

The urge to move small shows to Broadway should generally be resisted. Whether musicals or plays, most transfers from 199-seat houses feel dinky in palaces accommodating 900, and the frantic efforts made by creative teams to fill the void too often wind up highlighting it instead.

There are, of course, exceptions, including “The Band’s Visit,” which won the Tony Award for best musical last year. That show’s director, David Cromer, a minimalist to begin with, didn’t inflate the material for Broadway; he battened it down, as if for a storm. Urging the audience to come closer instead of forcing the show to grow bigger, he made you enter its world through the smallest possible door.

The surprise — and joy — is that the world can seem so vast when approached that way. Or at least it does in Cromer’s flawless production of “The Sound Inside,” a play by Adam Rapp that opened at Studio 54 on Thursday. When I saw its world premiere at the Williamstown Theater Festival in 2018, it was already a gripping small-scale mystery, and a spectacular showcase for its star, Mary-Louise Parker. Now, having been put through Cromer’s less-is-everything makeover, it’s even more resonant on Broadway: a tragedy about fiction, both the kind we read and the kind we live.

The makeover — a subtle one, naturally — begins with the script. I had to read both versions to see what Rapp had done to tighten the screws without visibly altering the story or the running time: 90 uninterrupted minutes of tension. “The Sound Inside” is still, self-consciously, a yarn, which makes sense because it’s about writers: the kind of people who in weaving stories are often in danger of unraveling themselves.

That’s literal here. Bella Lee Baird (Parker) is a 50-ish creative writing professor at Yale who has just received a diagnosis of stage 2 cancer. Addressing the audience directly as if reading a novel-in-progress aloud, she describes — and in the process aestheticizes — her unorthodox treatment decisions. These eventually come to involve Christopher Dunn, a freshman in a course of hers called Reading Fiction for Craft.

Christopher (Will Hochman) is a misfit at Yale: He won’t use email or drink fancy coffee. He may be a misfit everywhere else, too, with his bursts of rudeness, floods of invective and obsessive interest in “Crime and Punishment.” But he is nevertheless, in Bella’s judgment, a prodigy. As he shares with her the pages of his own novel-in-progress, about a Yale freshman named Christopher who does something very bad, the two grow closer.

By the time their stories (and fictions) start to merge, the pleasure of fine in-the-moment writing is hopelessly jumbled with dread about what happens next. Even having seen the play before, I was in constant doubt as to its outcome. A piece of advice Bella gives Christopher helps to explain Rapp’s technique here: “If your protagonist is leading you then you’ll likely stay ahead of your reader.” Certainly Rapp, a longtime master of foreboding, stays well ahead of us, as Bella and Christopher seem to have stayed ahead of him.

Rapp’s revisions emphasize those gaps. Lines that tended to explain behavior or to suggest the possibility of such explanations have been cut. (Christopher’s father, described as a schizophrenic in the earlier version is now just “a complete mystery.”) Lines that were giveaways as to the characters’ emotional states are now refocused. (Bella no longer calls Christopher’s prose “gorgeous” but “beautifully restrained.”) Lovely, extraneous selections from other writers’ works have been trimmed in favor of tantalizing selections from Bella’s.

Offering a character’s artistry to an audience is always a gamble, but Rapp doubles down on it; Bella, being the author of two “slim volumes” of stories and one “underappreciated” novel, also speaks in stylish and witty prose. Describing a sexual encounter, she says that the man “moves over and into me like some soft rectangular machine that pushes smaller objects toward their inevitable path on an assembly line.”

That this never becomes twee is miraculous, but Rapp keeps switching up his approach, sometimes having Bella and Christopher alternate in telling the story and other times having them enact it together in scenes. The specificity of the performances also helps prevent the cultivated tone from cloying. Parker, never better in her 30-year stage career, has dug even deeper into Bella, treating each line as if it were an archaeological site; she builds her performance on artifacts, not theories.

And Hochman, who was still pecking his way toward the tricky role at Williamstown, has found it. What can read on the page as a character back-formed from plot necessity, and what therefore seemed like a collection of tics onstage, is now fully connected. Believable both as an 18-year-old and an artist, Hochman — and this is saying a lot — is a worthy partner to Parker onstage.

But it takes a third character — Cromer’s staging, a living presence in itself — to make “The Sound Inside” so riveting. I don’t know what other director would have dared to provide so little visual information in a two-person show; it is even sparer, more subliminal, on Broadway than it was at Williamstown.

On the other hand, a lack of visual information is a form of visual information; once you adjust to it, the dark created by the designers — Alexander Woodward (sets), Heather Gilbert (lights), Aaron Rhyne (projections) — becomes exceptionally expressive. Between black and jet black there’s room for a lot of drama.

Cromer has likewise forsworn, as a writer steers around clichés, any emotional underlining of the kind you typically get from costumes (David Hyman), sound (Daniel Kluger) and overacting. His principle seems to be that of fiction itself: to force an engagement between the author’s imagination and the reader’s.When you enter a story, especially one that is basically a mystery, you should do so almost naked, with as little information as possible.

Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that the result is almost erotic in its withholding. Rapp tips us off to this by having the manuscript of Christopher’s novella bear an epigraph from “Crime and Punishment”: “We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word is spoken.”

“The Sound Inside” interests us at first, bleak sight. It keeps our interest not only on its narrowest terms, as a play about writing, but in its larger implications. What we know about other people, what we know about ourselves, are stories that won’t stay still. As we write our lives, like a good novel, our lives keep out-writing us.

Excerpted from The New York Times.

“ADAM RAPP’s new play is stunning.”

Variety

“DAVID CROMER is America’s greatest stage director.”

The Wall Street Journal

“A GORGEOUS PIECE OF THEATER.”

New York Daily News

“A STUNNER OF A PLAY!”

The Hollywood Reporter

“WILL HOCHMAN is impressive.”

The Hollywood Reporter

“One of MARY-LOUISE PARKER’s sharpest and funniest performances ever.”

Observer

Online

GET TICKETS

By Phone

Call 212-239-6200

In Person

Studio 54
254 W 54th Street
New York, NY 10019

beginning August 19.

Group Sales (10+)

For group tickets of 10+, please call 866.302.0995 or CLICK HERE.

Eligible American Express® Card Members can access American Express Seatingand American Express Preferred Seating. Terms Apply.

TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM $49

December

SUN
MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT
1
3PM
2
3
7PM
4
2PM7PM
5
7PM
6
8PM
7
2PM8PM
8
3PM
9
16
24
25
31

January

SUN
MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT
1
6
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
What is the running time?
How do I get tickets?
Is there a rush policy?

The show is 90 minutes with no intermission.

You can get tickets online here. You can also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200 to purchase tickets over the phone or visit the theatre box office at Studio 54 (254 W 54th Street, New York, NY 10019) beginning August 19.

The Sound Inside will partner with TodayTix to offer $35 mobile Rush tickets beginning at 10am each performance day. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis exclusively through the TodayTix app.

What is the running time?

The show is 90 minutes with no intermission.

How do I get tickets?

You can get tickets online here. You can also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200 to purchase tickets over the phone or visit the theatre box office at Studio 54 (254 W 54th Street, New York, NY 10019) beginning August 19.

Is there a rush policy?

The Sound Inside will partner with TodayTix to offer $35 mobile Rush tickets beginning at 10am each performance day. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis exclusively through the TodayTix app.

Mary-Louise Parker

Mary-Louise ParkerBella

Broadway and Off Broadway: Prelude to A Kiss, Proof, How I Learned To Drive, Heisenberg, The Snow Geese, The Sound Inside, Reckless, Hedda Gabler, Four Dogs And A Bone and more. Television: Angels in America, The West Wing, Weeds, When We Rise, Mr. Mercedes, Billions, Sugartime, The Robber Bride, Saint Maybe, A Place for Annie and more. Film: Red Sparrow, Red and Red 2, Behaving Badly, The Portrait of A Lady, Golden Exits, The Client, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Assassination of Jesse James, Boys on the Side, Red Dragon, The Five Senses, R.I.P.D, Howl, Solitary Man, Romance & Cigarettes, and more. Recipient of the Tony Award, the Emmy, two Golden Globes, the Satellite Award, two Obies and two Lucille Lortel Awards, as well as the Drama Desk, Outer Critics and Drama League Awards, the Clarence Derwent and Theater World Awards, and more. Mary-Louise was an on-staff contributor to Esquire magazine for over a decade and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, O, the Oprah Magazine, Bullett, Bust, The Riveter, In Style, Hemispheres, and others. Her first book, “Dear Mr. You,” was published in November 2015 and translated into five languages. Her humanitarian efforts have been recognized by the Los Angeles Country Commission, GLAAD, and OUT Magazine, and her work on behalf of the LGBTQ community has been recognized by the Hetrick Martin Institute and the NY LGBTQ Center.

Will Hochman

Will HochmanChristopher

Broadway debut. Theatre: Sweat (Mark Taper Forum), The Sound Inside (Williamstown Theatre Festival, original cast), Dead Poets Society (Classic Stage Company, original cast). Film: Let Him Go (Focus Features), Critical Thinking (directed by John Leguizamo), Paterno (HBO), Love (short film). TV: The Code (CBS). Will was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. @willhochman