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Photo: Joan Marcus Review
Trouble eventually enters the seemingly charmed life of Jane Snake – well-played by Elizabeth Frances – in Mary Kathryn Nagle’s ambitious new play “Manahatta,” now at the Public Theatre. The first native American woman to land a job in Wall Street (Lehman Brothers in a bit of foreshadowing), Jane struggles (for a while, anyways) to make it in the cutthroat world of big business, further distancing herself from her struggling family, as well as her ancestry as part of Manhattan’s original Lenape tribe, in the process.

The piece toggles – and often wobbles – between 17th-century New York (where Frances plays a smart Lenape woman named Le-le-wa), Lehman Brothers in the early 2000s, and Oklahoma. That’s where her stubborn mother, Bobbie (a commanding Sheila Tousey) has mortgaged the family’s longtime home to pay off her late husband’s medical debt -- without telling Jane or her dour sister, Debra, (nicely portrayed by Rainbow Dickerson).

Personally, I think Nagle works a bit too hard to connect the dots, even if I get her overarching point that white people have always been motivated by greed, injuring minorities in the process. But any woman who has tried to touch -- never mind break -- the glass ceiling will see her reflection in Jane!

By Brian Scott Lipton

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Open/Close Dates
Opening 12/5/2023
Closing 12/23/2023

Theatre Info
Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10003