On Straight Line Crazy's poster art, a pensive Ralph Fiennes towers above a diminutive New York skyline, in character as the notorious city planner Robert Moses. The image is an apt representation of the production. One can always count on Fiennes to deliver a riveting performance, but it's not quite enough to make David Hare's flat play as indelible as its subject matter. Moses, as head of multiple planning committees in the 20th century, oversaw the building of numerous bridges, highways,...
Straight Line Crazy Tickets
Straight Line Crazy Information
Ralph Fiennes stars as Robert Moses in David Hare's newest play, Straight Line Crazy, at The Shed. Get Straight Line Crazy tickets on New York Theatre Guide now.
Straight Line Crazy is a play about the career of Robert Moses, one of the most influential 20th-century public figures in New York City. His impact on the city's landscape is still visible today. In his career, he never held public office, but he led many city organizations and boards, holding up to 12 positions at once. He was chairman of the New York State Council of Parks and president of the Long Island State Park Commission for just under 40 years, the New York City Department of Parks commissioner for 26 years, and the president of the New York World's Fair for 6 years.
Moses's various positions allowed him to fund and oversee the creation of new infrastructure in the city, even without holding public office. In his career, he built 658 playgrounds, 11 pools, and 13 bridges. Moses also oversaw the construction of highways — which he championed over public transportation — that led to the creation of the Long Island suburbs. He was also influential in the passage of government reforms in the 1920s, as the public viewed him favorably during his decades-long career. He was seen as an efficient alternative to the then-corrupt government who actually got things done.
However, history hasn't been as kind to Moses. In 1974, Robert Caro published a biography called The Power Broker, which won the Pulitzer Prize. It painted Moses as power-hungry, ethically gray, and racist, as he razed multiple Black and Latino neighborhoods to make way for his projects. (One of the most famous examples is the Lincoln Center performing arts complex; the site was formerly an Afro-Latin neighborhood called San Juan Hill.)
Straight Line Crazy takes a middling approach, neither lauding or condeming Moses. It centers on him at his prime, showing the lasting effects his projects and decisions have on the city today, and how he used a mix of tactics — assertiveness, charm, deception, intimidation — to shape the city's landscape as we know it.
Straight Line Crazy premiered at the Bridge Theatre in spring 2022. Now, the New York-themed play goes up in its city setting this fall. This production continues Hare's long and successful career as a playwright in both New York and abroad. A total of 11 of his plays have appeared on Broadway, and six off Broadway, since 1971; his most recent New York production was Plenty at The Public Theater in 2016. His other works include Skylight, The Year of Magical Thinking, The Vertical Hour, and The Blue Room, all of which have appeared on Broadway. Hare is also a two-time Oscar nominee for the screenplays for The Hours and The Reader.
Starring in Straight Line Crazy in New York, Fiennes reprises a role he originated to acclaim in London. Hare's play marks Fiennes's Off-Broadway debut and his first time performing on the New York stage since 2006 (in Faith Healer on Broadway). He is a regular fixture on the London stage, but Fiennes is best known to U.S. audiences for his onscreen roles in Schindler's List, The English Patient (earning Oscar nominations for both performances), The Grand Budapest Hotel, and the James Bond and Harry Potter film franchises. As Fiennes also appeared in The Reader, Straight Line Crazy off Broadway and in London have marked a reunion for him and Hare.
Tickets to Straight Line Crazy are available now.
Following an acclaimed run this spring at the Bridge Theatre in London, Straight Line Crazy, a new play by David Hare, will have its exclusive US engagement this fall at The Shed. Starring Ralph Fiennes as Robert Moses and directed by Nicholas Hytner (One Man, Two Guvnors) and Jamie Armitage (Six), the play delves into Moses’s questionable legacy and enduring impact on New York City.
For 40 uninterrupted years, Moses was among the most powerful men in New York as he envisioned and built public works whose aftereffects determine how New Yorkers experience the city to this day. These public works were often realized at the expense of disempowered New Yorkers, particularly people of color, living in the way of and near his projects. The play presents an imagined retelling of the arc of Moses’s controversial career in two decisive moments: his rise to power in the late 1920s and the public outcry against the corrosive effects of that power in the mid-1950s.
2 hrs, 30 mins (with intermission)
October 18th, 2022
December 18th, 2022
The Griffin Theater at The Shed
Ages 12 and up
Cast and creative
By: David Hare
Director: Nicholas Hytner and Jamie Armitage
Lighting: Jessica Hung Han Yun
Sound: George Dennis
Design: Bob Crowley
Costume: Bob Crowley
Cast list: Ralph Fiennes (as Robert Moses), David Bromley, Alana Maria, Guy Paul, Judith Roddy, Helen Schlesinger, Mary Stillwaggon Stewart, Danny Webb
Latest Straight Line Crazy News & Features
Even if you don't know Robert Moses's name, you probably know his work. Any New Yorker or visitor who has ever driven on an interborough bridge, played in a city playground or pool, or caught a show at Lincoln Center has Moses to thank. Between the 1920s and 1960s, Moses, a city planner, oversaw the creation of New York City as we know it today. His rise to power, the negative effects of that power, and his most infamous projects — successful and failed — are the subject of a new play by David...
Older audiences may know Ralph Fiennes from his Oscar-nominated turns in Schindler's List and The English Patient. Younger audiences know him best as Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise. Devoted film buffs of any age would also recognize him from Quiz Show, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Bernard and Doris, and more. Regardless of where you know him from, you know Ralph Fiennes.But did you know that Fiennes is, first and foremost, a Shakespearean stage actor? He has nearly 40 stage credits,...
Ralph Fiennes will star in the US premiere of David Hare's Straight Line Crazy later this year. Straight Line Crazy begins preview performances at The Shed's Griffin Theater on October 18, ahead of an opening night on October 26 and performances to December 18.Straight Line Crazy follows Robert Moses, a public official who, over the course of 40 years, transformed the New York City skyline. During his tenure, he created new parks, bridges, and 627 miles of expressway. At the same time, Moses...