Tickets from $77  Buy Tickets


Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Cititour.com Review
History brought to life with vivid clarity. Real people imbued with personality and complexity. Staging so fluid it’s breathtaking. Death and change constantly in the air. Three hours flying by in what seems like minutes. “Hamilton,” right?
Yes – and no, since in this case, I’m talking about “Oslo,” J.T. Rogers’ dazzling drama about the back-channel peace talks that led to the groundbreaking (if short-lived) peace treaty between Israel and the PLO, now being given a 14-karat gold production at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theatre under the sterling direction of Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher. Admittedly, “Oslo” may not change the face of theater in the way “Hamilton” has, but it’s easily the best play I’ve seen in 2016.

Adding to its brilliance is that, as Rogers writes in the Playbill, “though every character is named for a real person, the words they say are mine.” And how could it be otherwise? What transpires in “Oslo” from April 1992 to September 1993 is unearthed history, known before this work to very few people. While many of us remember the iconic moment when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands at the White House (with then-president Bill Clinton presiding), who among us knew that the ultimate engineers of this moment were a Norwegian socialist named Terje Larsen and his wife, Mona, a mid-level official in Norway’s foreign ministry?

As played by the great Jefferson Mays, Terje is both charmer and clown, a man with a firm belief in a new way of negotiating and the tenacity to get it done, yet also a man who is a bit of a fool, both blinded by the limelight and unwilling to even admit he’s standing firmly in it. As Mona, the always remarkable Jennifer Ehle is, in every way, his perfect counterpart – equally strong, far more pragmatic, uninterested in personal glory and all the more glorious for it.

An unlikely pair of heroes, the Larsens must deal with some of the strongest personalities on the planet in what often feels like a never-ending game of chess: Arafat’s right-hand men, the passionate if ultimately level-headed Ahmed Qurie (superbly embodied by Anthony Azizi) and the almost maniacal Hassan Affour (a terrifying Dariush Kashani); the sometimes sweet, sometimes wild, always wily Israeli minister Uri Sarinov (a blistering Michael Aronov), no-nonsense lawyer Joel Singer (an excellent Joseph Siravo), Mona’s hot-headed boss Johan Jorgen Holst (a very effective T. Ryder Smith), and, ultimately, strong-willed Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres (the crackerjack Daniel Oreskes).

As much as we know the outcome of this match isn’t going to be checkmate, it feels like the game could be over any second. Rogers, author of the equally fine “Blood and Gifts” is smart enough to inject moments of needed humor, but never lets the tension go slack.

Sher, a master of casting, has picked an absolutely perfect ensemble (which also includes Daniel Jenkins, Henny Russell, Adam Dannheiser, Christopher McHale, and Jeb Kreager) and wisely let them do the heavy lifting, pulling us closer and closer into this fascinating story every minute. Still, Michael Yeargan’s minimalist, frequently-changing set, Catherine Zuber’s spot-on costumes, and 59 Productions’ invaluable projections should not be overlooked in setting the mood.

True, during the hottest days of this summer, a trip to the real-life Oslo might seem like the ideal destination. But choose the Mitzi Newhouse, even if it’s just for three hours. It’s closer, cheaper, and very likely, even more rewarding.
By Brian Scott Lipton

Visit the Site

Michael Aronov, Anthony Azizi, Adam Dannheisser, Jennifer Ehle, Daniel Jenkins, Dariush Kashani, Jeb Kreager, Jefferson Mays, Christopher McHale, Daniel Oreskes, Angela Pierce, Henny Russell, Joseph Siravo, T. Ryder Smith

Open/Close Dates
Opening 7/11/2016
Closing 8/28/2016

Preview Open/ Preview Close Dates
Preview Opening 6/16/2016
Closing Open-ended

Box Office

Theatre Info
Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater
150 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023