The Woodsman

  • Theater
  • Drama
Critics' pick
0 Love It
Photograph: Hunter Canning
The Woodsman
Photograph: Hunter Canning
The Woodsman
Photograph: Hunter Canning
The Woodsman
Photograph: Hunter Canning
The Woodsman
Photograph: Hunter Canning
The Woodsman
Photograph: Hunter Canning
The Woodsman
New World Stages , Hell's Kitchen Until Saturday December 31 2016
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The Woodsman: Theater review by Raven Snook

[Note: After successful earlier runs at 59E59, including the one reviewed here, The Woodsman has now reopened for an open run at New World Stages.]

Even before writer, codirector, set- and puppet-designer star James Ortiz asks the audience to “imagine” in a brief prologue, we’ve already been thrust into a dark corner of Oz, where gnarled branches loom and unsettling noises signal danger. Strangemen & Co.’s immersive and practically wordless adaptation of the writings of L. Frank Baum uses low-tech stagecraft like evocative Bunraku puppets (the wicked witch is chilling), haunting vocal sound effects and a lone violinist (composer Edward W. Hardy) to tell the backstory of Dorothy’s cherished Tin Man (Ortiz), once a mortal axman who sacrificed an arm and a leg and a whole lot more in the name of love. Emotions are communicated through simple gestures, grunts and glances, not one wasted. Touching on mortality, futility and fate, The Woodsman is a grown-up fairy tale that proves happiness is a worthwhile goal, even if it doesn’t last ever after.—Raven Snook

The Woodsman. 59E59 (see Off Broadway). By James Ortiz. Based on the writings of L. Frank Baum. Directed by Ortiz and Claire Karpen. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr. No intermission.

Venue name: New World Stages
Address: 340 W 50th St
New York

Cross street: between Eighth and Ninth Aves
Transport: Subway: C, E, 1 to 50th St
Price: $45–$85
Event website:

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Absolutely recommend this show. It is at once dark and moving. The cast works together like a breathing living organism and through their movement and voice create an 'experience' that is breathtaking and thought provoking. It is something that will stay with you so if you can see it, do not miss it. Absolutely beautiful.