The Lehman Trilogy on Broadway, 2021 Review

Few things define this city more than Broadway. As a New Yorker, having world-class entertainment at our fingertips and at a moment’s notice (thanks to TDF and TKTS) is a privilege. If you are visiting the city, on the other hand, you probably want to be more picky with your time and watch only the best plays on Broadway.  So, if you are visiting NYC in 2021 you might be asking yourself if the Lehman Trilogy on Broadway is worth seeing? The answer is a resounding “yes.” Easily one of the best plays I’ve ever seen on a New York stage, the brilliant acting, staging, and production make Lehman Trilogy on Broadway a must-see in 2021.

Lehman Trilogy, 2021

The play opens at a pivotal moment in American history, with the arrival in New York City of a Jewish man from what would one day be modern Germany, in Bavaria. Without giving away too much of the plot, he is shortly joined by his 2 brothers, and together the 3 Lehmans attempt to create their own version of the American dream, carving out a place in American history in the process.  The story is told and acted by only these three men, who brilliantly transform themselves (without so much as a basic costume change) into a variety of characters ranging from a southern Belle to a 9-year-old boy to a New York tycoon. 

Although originally I thought the show focused on the infamous downfall of the Lehman Brothers in 2008, very little action actually takes place during this event.  Instead, the writer and producer masterfully weave the story of the founding of the Lehman brothers, from its humble beginnings to one of the world’s most powerful investment banks. But the story of Lehman is not just about immigrants, capitalism, Judaism, the New South, or NYC. Those are merely other characters in the play, no less real than the men who act out the story. Indeed, the Lehman Trilogy is the story of America, with all its faults and imperfections and all its fragile, graceful beauty.  In the end, the Lehman Trilogy is a love letter to America. 

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