Humans: The Tony Award-Winning Drama about the Things that Keep us Human Now Playing at The Ahmanson

Humans at The Ahmanson. Photo by Lawrence K. Ho.

“Humans,” written by Stephen Karam, opened off-Broadway in New York City in 2015 and then moved to Broadway in 2016. The play won a Tony Award for Best Play and was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Price. After seeing “Humans” at the Ahmanson, I totally understand why. This is a powerful, searing piece of theatre that will stay with you long after the curtain has gone down.

The one-act play takes place during a Thanksgiving dinner. The Blake family arrives at their daughter Brigid’s (the wonderful Sarah Steele) run-down apartment in Chinatown. Brigid, who is a musician, lives there with her boyfriend, Richard (Nick Mills).

Brigid’s father, Erik (Reed Birney, Tony Award-winner for Featured Actor in a play), and her mother, Deirdre (Jayne Houdyshell, Tony Award winner for Best Featured Actress in a play) have arrived from Scranton Pennsylvania. Along with them is Erik’s mother, Fiona (Lauren Klein) who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Also present at this dinner is Erik and Deirdre’s other daughter, Aimee (Cassie Beck), a lawyer living in Philadelphia. Aimee is quite distraught. Not only is she suffering from an intestinal disorder, but she has just broken up with her girlfriend which seems to have made her condition worse.

The parents are unhappy that their daughters have left home and have abandoned their religion. At the same time everyone, just like many Americans, is dealing with aging, loss, illness, a changing economy and insufficient funds for retirement. The play also touches upon the “things that go bump in the night”–our fears when we are alone in the dark.

Sounds depressing? Well, it’s not. In fact, the audience, as well as myself, did not stop laughing throughout the entire one act.

If you’re wondering how that’s possible, then you just have to go to see ‘”Humans,” now playing at the Ahmanson Theatre. This is the story of a family who, despite their struggles, love each other and are trying to keep it together while they move beyond their past mistakes. After all, that’s what it is to be human.

The set designed by David Zinn is incredible. Brigid and Richard’s apartment is a duplex, and the action takes place on both levels. Director Joe Mantello did a brilliant job with these extraordinary actors.

The Ahmanson is located at 135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles 90012. “Humans” opened on June 20, 2018 and runs through July 29, 2018. When: 8 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m, Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m Sundays.  Tickets are $30-$130. To purchase call 213-972-4400 or go to the website.

Joan Alperin

About Joan Alperin

Joan was born in Brooklyn and spent many years working as an actress in New York City. Even though she traveled extensively, Joan couldn't imagine living anywhere else.. Well one day, she met someone at a party who regaled her with stories about living in L. A. specifically Topanga Canyon. A few weeks later she found herself on an airplane bound for Los Angeles. Joan immediately fell in love with the town and has been living here for the last twenty years and yes, she even made it to Topanga Canyon, where she now resides, surrounded by nature, deer, owls and all kinds of extraordinary alien creatures.. Joan continued acting, but for the last several years (besides reviewing plays and film) she has been writing screenplays. Joan was married to a filmmaker who created the cult classic films, (way before she knew him) Faces of Death. As a result of his huge following, they created a funny movie review show entitled Two Jews on Film, where Joan and her husband, John would review movies and rate them with bagels You can see their reviews by going to Although it's now only one Jew - Joan is occasionally joined by her beautiful Pekingnese and Japanese Chin.
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